Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

What should not go on a resume?

3 min read

  • The objective statement has been resumed.
  • Email is not professional.
  • There is a full mailing address.
  • There were multiple phone numbers.
  • There are outdated or irrelevant social media profiles.
  • There are personal details.
  • Headshot of a person.
  • There are words.

If you are among the 25 percent of applications that make it past the bots, your resume still needs to pass muster with the hiring manager. It’s important to not include information that will distract the hiring manager from seeing your true qualifications, when your job application is facing the six-second resume test.

Explain why you’re a good fit for the position you’re pursuing by describing your relevant qualifications and career achievements. You can create a free email address with a provider like Gmail that is reserved for your job-search activities.

Unless you can provide a local address, I don’t recommend removing all location information. If you’re looking for work near your home, you should include your city, state, and zip code in order to show the hiring manager you’re a local candidate.

Do not include your street address, as it’s not necessary at this stage of the recruitment process, takes up extra space, and is a security risk. It is easier to miss an important message from a prospective employer if you have more contact options on your resume.

If you want to control the voice message, who answers each call, and when, you should list the number for your phone. Do not include on your resume social media accounts that host bad content, do not support your current job goals, and are not regularly updated. If you’re going to include a URL to a social media account on your resume, make sure it reflects your personal brand and serves to demonstrate why you’re qualified for the job.

Employers can access your site from any device if you have a mobile-responsive design for your online portfolio. You don’t need to include personal information on a resume if you don’t want to.

Unless you’re a TV celebrity or your career requires a professional photo, you shouldn’t include a picture on your resume. Recruiters don’t want to be accused of discrimination if they dismiss a candidate who has a headshot. If you use a bunch of annoying buzzwords in your resume, it will be obvious to the recruiters that you are trying to get a job.

While there is some debate within the resume-writing community, the generally accepted practice is to refrain from referring to yourself by your name or pronouns. Save the first-person point of view for your profile summary. Recruiters are used to quickly scanning a resume for specific information they expect to find in particular spots, but they are annoyed by the elaborate designs and unconventional formats that confuse most application tracking systems.

While these design elements look nice to the human eye, resumes with embedded images become a garbled mess, or are completely omitted from your application, after they pass through ATS. Recruiters don’t want to see a representation of their skills like the second resume I review in this video. It is possible to briefly mention anything further back in time in a career note or section.

If this information is listed, it makes it difficult to stick to an appropriate resume length and can open your application up to age discrimination.

What looks bad on a resume?

Resumes can be death by bullet point, poorly formatted, and include out-of-date resume sections. It’s a big deal if your resume is bad.

What are 3 things you should not put on your resume?

  • There’s too much information.
  • There is a wall of text
  • There were spelling and grammatical errors.
  • There are inaccuracies about your qualifications.
  • Personal information isn’t necessary.
  • You are your age.
  • There are negative comments about a former employer.
  • Information about your interests and hobbies.

If you don’t include unnecessary or controversial elements on your resume, you’ll have a better chance of getting an interview. If you include the details of every job you have done, the important information could become less visible, so focus on the skills you have that make you a good candidate for the role you want. A well- structured resume is easier to read and draws a hiring manager’s eye to your most job relevant skills so that they can see at a glance whether you are an appropriate candidate Bullet points are an effective way to highlight your key abilities visually, and the format makes it easy to link the job description and your experience.

To improve the chances of your resume scoring well, use the same terms as they have in their job description, and don’t include images, charts or anything that an automated system will not pick up as text. Changing the structure and adding new text on your resume can lead to errors if you are applying for several jobs.

Some people think printing out their resume makes it easier to spot errors on the screen. Even if you don’t meet all the criteria, the hiring managers will still consider you even if you don’t have the right attitude. The information on your resume that is most relevant to the job is what makes you a great employee.

Unless your family situation is related to your application, leave your religious beliefs and political leanings out and focus on the professional skills that make you a good candidate. People used to include their birth date on their resume, but now it is acceptable to exclude references to their age as much as possible. When writing your resume, don’t mention why you left a job or why you’re dissatisfied with your current job.

With the increasing focus on work-life balance and the need for downtime, including some details of your interests and hobbies is expected. Even the most relevant hobbies should only make up a few lines of your resume and you should avoid including anything that might undermine your application.

To avoid overusing references to yourself, use the first-person language “I,” “we” or “me” when describing your achievements.

Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

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