What Not To Include in a Resume, what to include in a resume, what to say only if you’re asked and which information should you hold on to until you’re invited for an interview? Yes, all these questions are a perfectly normal part of your job-seeking strategy, the most important of them, of course being what NOT to include in a resume! So, in case you’ve been turned down more times than you really want to remember, read these 7 tips on what not to include in a resume and you might be able to find the problem, fix it on time and land the job of your dreams!
1. Irrelevant Information
I’m sure you’ve done a lot of very interesting things or, perhaps changed a lot of very interesting jobs but the rules are pretty simple here so if it has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for – it shouldn’t be in your resume! Your resume should be short (within reason, of course) but informative, it should focus on your job-related skills, qualities and experience and provide a clear answer to the question every employer ask himself while flipping through a stack of CVs – “Why should I hire him/her?”. My first suggestion on what not to include in a resume would be to stick to the facts and tailor your resume to each job you’re applying for. It’s a time consuming process indeed but it increases your chances of getting a job.
2. Negative and/or Hateful Statements
The next, very important part of my post on what not to include in a resume would be NEGATIVITY! Don’t trash your former employer or colleagues and definitely refrain from giving emotional explanations about why you no longer work there (wherever that might be). Nobody wants to hire a Grinch or a person who’s too angry to look forward to changes and new environment or too depressed to accept dynamic working environment. People like this don’t rate very high on the list of desirable candidates and, since I’m sure you’re not anything like that, all I can do is advise you to lighten up, forget all past bad experiences and stuff your resume with things that demonstrate just how valuable you could be to the company!
3. Favorite Books/Movies Etc…
Your employer doesn’t really need to know your favorite movies, actors, names of your pets or that you enjoy long walks or square dancing! Now, all that is “irrelevant information” but it’s also something I want to point out simply because most people tend to fall into the trap of describing their numerous activities to every little detail . Yes, your employer might want to know that you’re a human too and listing a few hobbies is perfectly acceptable as long as you keep it in the “Books, Traveling, Gardening, Sports” format.
Reviewers could probably spend days or even weeks remembering weird things they had a chance to read in people’s resumes, things that are completely unprofessional and things that probably sounded like a good idea but backfired big time. One of them even remembers a resume that came with a lemon and a cover letter that read, “I’m not a lemon!” Now, if that doesn’t explain what not to include in a resume, I don’t know what does! LOL! But, seriously ladies, regardless of how funny or witty something sounds at the moment, nobody can guarantee the reviewer will “get it” which may cause your otherwise flawless resume to end up in the bin.
Choosing a better word to describe your talents isn’t exactly lying although you should never list skills you don’t really posses! Let’s say you put “fluent in Norwegian” in your resume thinking “Come on, they certainly won’t need that language” and then BAM - next thing you know, the interviewer is shaking your hand, congratulating you for becoming a new member of a very successful team and saying something about being very anxious to introduce you to a very important client. You’re glowing, thinking “Oh, my gosh, I’ve hit the jack pot” not having a clue the client is actually from Norway! Okay, this is a very funny, highly improbable example but hey, you never know! So, let’s repeat this one more time! What not to include in your resume? Yes, lies! Good job!
6. Disabilities and/or past Health Issues
Employers in the US are not allowed to ask questions about this but they will gladly take every piece of info you were foolish or inexperienced enough to provide. And yes, some of them will use it against you! So, unless a company makes it very clear they are hiring people with some disability (which is a very common thing in Europe because they get tax reductions for this), I suggest you don’t mention it at all. Past health problems or things that don’t affect your ability to perform all needed tasks should also remain private and, since I’m not really familiar with legal limitations in Europe, all I can say is this – if they don’t ask, don’t tell. You can get fired for a whole bunch of reasons these days, one of them even being the fact that you showed up carrying a Chanel while your boss carried only a Coach, so why give them reasons to talk behind your back or doubt your skills?
7. Unprofessional E-Mail Addresses
Addresses such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org should never and I repeat NEVER find their way into your resume! In fact, this is a textbook example of what not to include in a resume! If you’ve already spent hours creating an impressive resume you certainly can spend another 15 minutes (or less) signing up for a new email address that will contain the first letter of your name, your last name and (perhaps) a string of numbers! Resumes with inappropriate and obviously private email addresses instantly go to the NO file because even a tiny slip like this one speaks volumes about you, your ability to be professional and detail oriented.
And now, when you know what not to include in a resume, the only thing left for me to say is - Good luck and hope you’ll find the job of your dreams very soon! But, come on, be honest with me now – How many of these textbook examples of what not to include in a resume did you find in your CV?
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