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10 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

Many people are currently looking for a new job whether they were victims of the latest round of layoffs or just tired of their current job and wanting to try something new. Don’t forget the latest round of college graduates as well. If you are one of the people applying for a new job and just aren’t getting anywhere with you job search, it might be that something on your resume is a red flag for HR departments. Check your resume over and make sure that you do not include any of the following:

Top Resume Mistakes

  1. Sexual preference – You would be surprised how many times this is put on a resume and it absolutely should not make any difference. Many people that review resumes still have a prejudice about sexual preference and basically you don’t know what their preference is so you really need to leave this off your resume. This includes any associations that you might belong to that will tip the reviewer off about your sexual preference.
  2. Religion – This is similar to sexual preference in that it has no bearing on your ability to do the job and can therefore only be negative. This usually comes up in resumes on sections about hobbies and other personal interests. Just be careful in what you put in any of those sections if you feel you need a section like that on your resume.
  3. Problems at your last job – Your resume is NOT a good place to elaborate on problems that you encountered on previous jobs (even if you are just trying to show how you overcome problems). Just try to always spin comments about previous positions to be things you accomplished and not how stupid your last boss was or how you did things in spite of something in your old work environment.
  4. Hatred of Old Bosses – Generally you don’t have to get into anything about your old boss. My boss was an over-bearing micro manager that couldn’t let anything leave the company without reviewing it themselves… Again, your resume is NOT the place to rant. In fact, when you are looking for a new job don’t rant anywhere (twitter included).
  5. Odd Jobs Not in Your Field – It’s usually not good to include every job that you have had since you graduated from high school. At some point, you need to drop off your experience as a fry cook at McDonalds unless it is relevant to the job you are applying to. If you worked your way through college, odds are those jobs won’t help you get the next job of your dreams.
  6. Age – Again, many people have an idea about what age of candidate they are looking for and assume people outside that range just aren’t going to fit in with the current team. You really need to be careful about dates like when you graduated from high school. Depending on your years of experience you may not be able to avoid tipping your age, but you may choose to leave some jobs off of your resume to make your age less obvious.
  7. Political Preference – Why, why, why do people put this on their resume. Politics are so subjective that you are almost guaranteed to cause a problem by listing political affiliations again including any organizations that you may belong to which will make your political preference obvious.
  8. Social Security number – People reviewing your resume do not need personally identifiable information like your social security number. You should never put this on your resume, if you get far enough into the process you can give it to them when or if a background check is required.
  9. Photograph – Even if you are the best looking person in the World, don’t put a picture of yourself on your resume. Even though people are not supposed to consider how you look, they will. You just can’t win and in most cases it is better for that to be left unknown until you interview in person.
  10. Physical attributes – Most people wouldn’t think of putting their height and weight on their resume, but we still see both frequently. It’s just not necessary and you never know how people will interpret thin or fat or tall or small people. Again, it just should not matter for most jobs.

So the over-arching rule is pretty simple. Unless something is actually relevant to the position that you are going for, you probably do NOT need it on your resume. It is not good to over-load your resume with information that doesn’t speak directly to your qualifications for the job you are applying for. In general this is why we recommend customizing your resume for each job to make sure that you provide only what is necessary to get that sepecific job.

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