It’s never easy to figure out what to put on your resume. What will that one line be that hooks the hiring manager? Will the way it’s formatted affect the decision? You may think that it’s safer to err on the side of including more versus less, but if you load your resume with unnecessary fluff, it could guarantee your place in the reject pile.
Here are five things you should consider leaving off of your resume:
1. Objective statement: Objective statements, which usually start with, “I’m looking for a job that…” have long been considered passé. Employers aren’t reviewing your resume to find out what you want in a job; they want the resume to tell them why they should want you. If you’re going to include a statement at the top, make it a personal summary that acts as a condensed version of your elevator pitch. It should touch on your top skills and any major achievements worth highlighting.
2. References available upon request: Including a list of references or the statement, “References available upon request,” isn’t necessary, because it’s expected that you have references, should an employer request them. Instead of taking up valuable space, create a separate document that lists your references and their contact information, and have it ready to email or hand out as needed.
3. Outdated or irrelevant information: Resumes are about quality, not quantity. Hiring managers don’t have time to read through three pages’ worth of positions held, dating back to when you were a dog sitter in high school. Consider removing any experience that is more than a decade old, especially if it’s not applicable to the position for which you’re applying. Focus instead on experience and education that show you’re relevant and up-to-date on the newest skills and technology.
4. Personal attributes: Unless you’re applying for a modeling job or another position where looks are a factor, leave your picture off your resume. Most employers shouldn’t — and legally can’t — care about your appearance; they just want to know why you’d be good for the job. The same goes for listing personal attributes, such as your height, weight, race or age.
5. False claims: This should go without saying, but inaccuracies or over-embellished education or experience have no place on a resume. Besides running the risk of getting caught (were an employer to do a background check, talk to references or conduct a social-media search), why would you want a job if you’re not adequately prepared for it? If you don’t know what you’re doing, the jig will be up quickly, and you’ll just find yourself jobless again and having burned important bridges.
Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.ca. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.