10 Things To Leave Off Your Resume

What to keep off your resumeBy Alison Green

What you don't include on your resume can be as important as what you do include. Here are 10 things you should leave off: 1. An objective.
Resume objectives never help and often hurt. Not only do they feel outdated at this point, but they're all about what you want, rather than what this stage of the hiring process is all about-what the employer wants. Your resume should be about showing your experience, skills, and accomplishments. If you want to talk about how this particular position is the perfect next step in your career, use the cover letter for that.

2. Short-term jobs.
Short-term jobs raise red flags for hiring managers, who will wonder if you were fired, couldn't do the work, or had trouble getting along with co-workers. Plus, a few months on a job won't typically be useful in showing any real accomplishments or advancement anyway.

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One exception to this rule is if the job was short-term because it was designed that way, like contract work or, say, working on a political campaign. Those won't raise the sorts of questions above, because you'll have an explanation that doesn't reflect on you poorly.

3. A functional format.
Functional resumes (which list skills and abilities without including a chronological job history) are widely hated by employers, since they easily mask limited work experience or significant work gaps and make it difficult to understand a candidate's career progression. For most hiring managers, these resumes are an immediate red flag that you might be hiding something.

4. Your photo.
Unless you're applying for a job as a model or actor, photos of yourself have no place on your resume. Since your appearance has nothing to do with your ability to do the job, including a photo comes across as naive and unprofessional.

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5. A fancy design.
Here's what most hiring managers think when we see a resume with unusual design or use of color: Does this candidate think that their skills and achievements won't speak for themselves? Do they not understand what employers are looking for? Do they put an inappropriate emphasis on appearances over substance? (The obvious exception to this rule is if you're applying for design jobs.)

6. Subjective descriptions.
Your resume is for experience and accomplishments only. It's not the place for subjective traits, like "great leadership skills" or "creative innovator." Smart employers ignore anything subjective that applicants write about themselves because so many people's self-assessments are wildly inaccurate, so your resume should stick to objective facts.

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7. Any mention of high school.
If you're more than a few years past your high school graduation date, employers don't care which high school you attended or how accomplished you were there. Keep any mention of high school off your resume.

8. Extra pages.
If you're in your 20s, your resume should only be one page; there's not enough experience to justify a second one. If you're older, two pages are fine, but you go over that limit at your own peril. Hiring managers may spend only 20 or 30 seconds on your application initially, so extra pages are either ignored or they dilute the impact of the others. Your resume should be for highlights, not extensive detail.

9. Your salary.
Resumes don't typically include a salary history, so candidates who include it come across as naive. And by sharing that information unbidden, you'll also compromise your negotiating power later.

10. Any mention of references, including the statement: "references are available upon request."
You don't need to say that you'll provide references if asked, because that goes without saying. You're not causing any harm by including that now somewhat-dated statement, but it takes up space you could use for something else.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog, where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the co-author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results, and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development.

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August 25 2013 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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March 06 2013 at 2:10 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Runa Laila

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March 05 2013 at 3:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Al Sani

Fix My Résumé is professional resume writing service located in Brisbane, owned and operated by Shaun Michels, dedicated to sharing knowledge and increasing awareness about recruitment processes and resume writing requirements with Australian job seekers.
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February 14 2013 at 5:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ohyes....AOL 'knows'. Laughable.

June 27 2012 at 4:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

On #7 - you are totally wrong. You should put the name of the high school you granduated from and that you did receive your diploma. Many companies will not hire you if didn't graduate high school. If you don't put that on your resume how will they know whether you even attended high school. It's education and you want to put all of your education on your resume. Some companies require that you provide a copy of your high school diploma.

June 26 2012 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to redhottamales's comment

Actually she did say " if your a few years past your high school graduation" Meaning someone like myself that graduated in 1979 such a mention would be laughable. If I haven't done something with education since then anything at all its a good bet I am so far dated in academics that it would put my resume in the history books.

June 26 2012 at 8:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

People get hired anymore for their looks. Doesn't matter if you know nothing about a company let alone an education. Or you get hired because your friend works there.

June 26 2012 at 5:16 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rhianon's comment

Let me guess: either you're bitter because you can't get a job, or you haven't been in the job market for a while, right?

June 26 2012 at 10:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to GOODDOC1's comment
Jesse Micheal Lawhon

I was told by an employer that if you have the wrong look about you coming in the door or if you didn't look right that they wouldn't care what you placed in front of them they would simply reject you. I walked unknowingly into a job interview wearing shorts and a t-shirt but they said I had a certain look to me and a good attitude that made them decide to pull me aside and say, hey next time you need to dress like you're looking for a job, otherwise we'd normally just kick you out right when you walked in our doors like that. The point being was that the first impression or "look" plays a lot into getting a job. Having a friend in the job place can certainly land you a job, especially if you're friend is a well respected employee but however you can also get rejected because you have a friend that works there as well. I remember one manager of Spencer's that frowned upon making friends with people in the work place and blatantly told me, hey we're not going to hire you, you're friends with too many people who work here.

October 30 2012 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Jesse Micheal Lawhon

Wow! I chopped the hell out of grammar with that one... wouldn't be surprised to see a grammar nazi come around and fix the errors of my way some time soon.

October 30 2012 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

The reason those 10 things show up on resumes is because job seekers were advised at some point that to incorporate them in resumes. It seems employers are too lazy to give much thought into selecting the right candidate. They'd rather eliminate most people than try being fair about the hiring process.

June 26 2012 at 4:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to houseosims's comment

Yes a hard pretty sell like a commercial.. Leave the data give me the feel.. Seems that is what it looks like when you see the companies employess. Some are good and knowlegable, others are just pretty faces busy doing nothing.

June 26 2012 at 8:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Rick Schoenherr

Should leave off affairs, embezelment, pyromania, kleptomania, prone to body odor, bad breath, and stupidity.

June 26 2012 at 3:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Not helpful.

June 26 2012 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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