Seven Things to Leave Off Your Resume

highest paying jobs Several AOL readers have written in to ask what to leave off of a resume. While every job seeker is unique, here are some general items I recommend leaving off of your resume to achieve optimal results.

1. Objectives

Most hiring managers I talk to are not interested in reading resume objectives. Frequently objectives sound very cliched and they rarely communicate what a candidate can do for an employer.

Instead, use a professional summary that outlines your competencies and proves how you can help solve business problems.

2. Months of employment

Generally, employers are only interested in knowing the year you started and ended employment with a company. Reporting the exact month along with the year is unnecessary.

The exception to this rule is if you have been with a company for less than two years. In that case include the month and year so they can accurately gauge how many months you were employed in a short-tenure position.

3. References

The term "references available upon request" is dated and unnecessary on the resume. Employers know that you will supply references if asked.

4. Hobbies

Unless you have a hobby that is in some way related to your job target, it's usually best not to mention these. The fact that you enjoy reading and traveling is rarely of interest to the hiring manager.

5. Your picture

In a U.S. job market, pictures should not be included on a resume. Hiring managers legally cannot consider your picture in determining if you are to be interviewed or hired, and many companies won't even consider resumes that are submitted with a picture to ensure they are in compliance with Equal Opportunity Employer legislation.

6. Salary

Including salary information on your resume generally works against you. When included, a hiring manager may use this information to benchmark whether or not the candidate falls within the salary range of their open position. Since a past salary is only an indication of your earnings in a particular job at a particular point in time, it really isn't an accurate reflection of what you should be paid in another job.

If you apply to an open job and they request a salary history, list a salary range in your cover letter instead to give you a bit more wiggle room if you are called in for an interview.

7. Your GPA

Generally, as you gain work experience, your GPA becomes irrelevant to hiring managers. No one will care if you had a 3.8 GPA in 1992 if you can't prove recent success in the positions you have held.

Unless you are a recent college graduate, keep your GPA off of your resume. And if you are a recent college graduate, only include your GPA if it is a 3.0 or better.

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Many of the suggestions and recommendations I have read here are definitely "old school".

For starters, objective statements are a joke. If you were absolutely truthful (my objective is to do the least amount of work for the most amount of money)no one would get hired.

A cover "letter" may be going a bit overboard. Since most resumes are filed online and are not directed to the actual employer but to an agency, a cover "statement" is probably more appropriate. This let's the agency know which position you are applying for, where you read the advertisement and when the best time to contact you is. This can be done in a sentence or two.
If your entire career has been in one field (HR, Accounting, etc.)this gives you the opportunity to mention it and draws the readers attention to your resume since it is all relative to the job you are applying for.

This is the 21st century people!! HR professionals and agencies are using scanning software to sort through resumes. With national unemployment rates still above 9%, recruiters are swamped with resumes and simply don't have the time or resources to read every resume. You need to include many or all of the "buzz words" from the employment ad. If the employer is looking for someone with "team building skills" you'd better have the phrase "team building" somewhere in your cover statement or resume. Many years ago, IBM was considered the "blue chip" employer. Everybody wanted to work there! IBM, of course, only wanted the best employees. So, they started requiring a college degree (even for entry level positions). When the influx of resumes didn't drop significantly, they started specifying which colleges they wanted the degree from (try pulling that today!!). They knew there was a tremendous pool of talent to choose from so they had to cut down the responses even though they certainly missed many qualified applicants without degrees or not from qualifying schools. This new software is just an extension of that theory.

Probably the most important thing to remember is that these people, for the most part, are professionals and know their business. Don't apply for a position for which you are not qualified. Not only will you probably not get the job but you will alienate the employer/agency and lessen the odds of them accepting any other resumes from you.

January 09 2011 at 6:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whoops meant to say I agree with Alina...

January 09 2011 at 3:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1-08-2011 @10:45PM
Sue said...
"And yet Andrew: if you are a hiring manager why do you have such horrible writing skills?? Seriously!"

Seriously, Sue? Andrew volunteered insights based on his experience. If there's any way he profits from this, I can't see it; please advise. His writing is direct and conveys a substantial amount of information with a minimum of waste. If you wanted to add commas it's likely because you're an academic who writes knowing that, in academia, somebody somewhere is always obliged to read you.

In short: Andrew's not asking you out, Sue, just suggesting how unemployed people can make a better impression.

January 09 2011 at 3:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sexy beagle

When I send out a resume . I just keep short and simple . I tell who & what I am and my experience thats's it . My resumes is no longer than 2 pages long. Sometimes less is more . I feel most employers just want your work experience and qualifications that's it

January 09 2011 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Interesting about not including a photo since many jobs in Los Angeles--ie cashier, waitress, hostess, sale personnel, many assistants in creative fields, receptionists, even a job at the local marijuana dispensary--ALL usually request headshots or photos.

January 09 2011 at 2:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
i want a good boss

same deal with me ihavea! really shocked. Money is not everything. Environment, vision, ability to suceed and use your skills as well as the techniques and knowledge of your superior. if he/she cannot convey your vision, the job becomes a challenge and lacks any capabilty to fulfill your intrinsic motivation and that is deadly.

January 09 2011 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hiring managers have any advice as to how to get an interview after being unemployed after 8 years and being in college? I am working on a Masters Degree but no one seems to want to hire me and I would assume it is because of how long I have been unemployed. My resume is excellent, should I include something on a cover letter that shows that I really want and most of all NEED to work rather than hiring someone who just wants a different job who has recent experience?

January 09 2011 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it common to include a cover letter in the instance of a less professional position, such as retail associate, food service and other non management positions?

January 09 2011 at 12:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At age 45,I have spent many years in school chasing one degree or another.But I have never obtained a decent paying job with any of my degrees.I have a an Individualized BA,a MA in Business & Organizational Security Management and,in a few months,I will have an MBA in Healthcare Systems Management.

For over 20 years,I have worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant(CNA).I have done that because it pays me decent and I can have a job almost any where. Whenever I try to seek jobs in my fields of study,I am told that I am over-qualified,under-experienced or,that my education is not required.

I have written many resumes and even received help.It has never made a difference.My GPA's are relatively high but,am sure that has never made a difference, even in entry level jobs.

January 08 2011 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gkk's comment

You should combine your MA in Business & Organizational Security Management with your MBA in Healthcare Systems Management. Therefore, with your experience as a CNA you should consider a career in Health care systems management. You should talk to a Headhunter in the field of HealthCare management about that. Good luck.

August 23 2013 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been responsible for reviewing resumes and interviewing potential candidates. I disagree with a few points.

First, I do look at Objectives. Yes they are most often cliched, but it gives me an idea if the person is in any way interested in the job I am offering.

I interview for a highly technical job. Other than giving the person a test, which isn't possible in the time frame of a 1-hour interview, there isn't a good way to determine a person's technical skills. So I look at the person's communication skills and ability to work with others. Hobbies give us a few things to talk about. I get a feel for how that person communicates, their level of interest in things, etc. So hobbies, especially odd or unusual ones, aren't a bad thing. If a person has only worked at one company for 20 years, there's very little else that can fill up the page.

GPA - your rule to only include if it is greater than 3.0 is A VERY BAD suggestion!! If I interview a recent graduate and they do NOT put their GPA on it, i KNOW it is a bad gpa and i have no interest in hiring that person. If they had a 2.5 GPA, however, plus a full time job and a family, I *would* be interested in talking with that person to find out more about them. We actually use very little of what we learned in college in our real jobs. Did they graduate? Are they energetic and eager? Do they communicate well? That can very often translate into an excellent employee!

The other points, like Salary or Photo, are correct.

The thing to remember is to gear your resume toward the job and company you are interviewing with. Having just one resume for all potential employers might work in some instances, but tweaking it toward a particular company is a better way to get your foot in the door.

January 08 2011 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Susan's comment
Lei Zhang

"We actually use very little of what we learned in college in our real jobs."

Wow! Really? As a recent graduate from college, I can tell you that ALL the knowledge, time, energy, I've spent has definitely helped me land a stable job as a RN!

Having a high GPA on a resume implies a lot about the person. It signifies that this employee is hard working, well-rounded, dedicated and self-driven.

November 22 2013 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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