We’ve talked at length about the things to include on your resume. However, there are just as many things to avoid if you want to land an interview. Given that you’ve got a mere few seconds to impress a hiring manager, your resume needs to stand out! Here are 10 things to eliminate from your resume in order to highlight your work experience, skills, education, and achievements to be distinctive:
1. Objectives. These descriptions at the top of a resume not only feel antiquated, but they don’t add anything to your resume. Moreover, they focus on what want rather than what you can offer to the company. If you feel this job is the best next step for your career, talk about it in your cover letter.
2. Photos. Unless you’re auditioning for a TV pilot or modeling gig, don’t include your photos. Chances are your online portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile already includes your photo.
3. Subjective traits. You may feel you possess amazing leadership skills or are an innovative thinker in design, however, employers ignore these subjective traits because they can’t be measured. Instead, focus on objective facts and metrics If you really are an amazing leader, include how many team members you’ve managed, or include a quick example in your cover letter explaining how you’ve led your team to success, or achieved ROI in a campaign.
4. More than one page. We’ve debated this, but the short answer is–either in OK. It all depends on your work experience, whether you have been freelancing at multiple places or been at the same company for several years. The key is to include relevant, accurate, and current information.
5. Salary history. This is a major faux pas, as well as a bad idea, as it compromises your ability to negotiate for a higher salary later! Leave it off so you can have some negotiating power later.
6. Short-term jobs. You don’t want to come across as job-hopping, so make sure to emphasize freelance or contract in the job title.
7. Leave out overused words. Here’s just a sampling of words that are redundant and don’t give employers concrete information: capable, skillful, effective, hardworking, innovative, and motivated are all qualities they hope you already have without you having to say so. Instead, search for synonyms that more closely fit your personality. For instance, as an “effective” employee you “engage in creative tasks”.
8. “References Available Upon Request”. If an employer wants references, they will ask. Save precious resume space for other accomplishments rather than including this sentence at the bottom.
9. Education. If you’re just out of high school and applying to your first jobs, it makes sense to include the information. Otherwise, focus on college and graduate information as well as degrees earned.
10. Misspellings, grammar issues, and typos. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing can make the resume less professional than resume errors.
A resume is a snapshot of your work experience — not only should it be well written, but it should also highlight the best possible version of your experience and how you will be contributing to a new team. Take out irrelevant information, and polish up your resume so represents your experience in the best light possible.