These days, with the economy still barely holding on by the thinnest of threads, resumes are flying around more than the ungodly mosquitoes that seem to have woken up for the summer.
With so many people trying to find meaningful employment, it doesn’t take much to drop to the bottom of the stack.
Take it from someone who once had to go through a ton of resumes on a regular basis: you’re putting too much on yours. If you aren’t, you’re one of the few.
Allow me to share some insight to help you in your pursuit of a job. Ever heard of File 13? That’s likely where your resume will end up if you have these 5 things on it when you submit it to that potential employer. Here are 5 things to leave off your resume:
1. Personal or Private Information
Don’t misunderstand me, of course you need to have your name, address, email, and phone number listed on your resume. However, beyond that you are killing yourself. Most people want to list things that they have seen on applications before, but there are two problems with that. First, a resume isn’t an application, it’s a professional document. Second, you shouldn’t even be filling these parts in on an application.
What am I referring to, you ask? Hobbies. Interests. Clubs. Things that do not relate in the slightest to the job you are applying for. Unless of course you are applying for a position at a hobbies and interests club. I’m kidding, but you get my point, I hope. No one cares about these things in the professional world, trust me. The more unrelated garbage the company’s gatekeeper has to sift through, the quicker your resume will be tossed aside, unless of course they are looking for a good laugh.
And for the love of all that’s holy, please don’t list the phone number at your current job. Enough said.
2. An Objective
Furrow your brow at me all you like, just don’t put it on there.
Your objective is to get a freaking job with the company, and beyond that you will likely write something ridiculous. For example: “To obtain a position in a growing organization which will allow me to fully utilize my skills”. So, let’s break this down. You’re telling me that you want to find a job with a company that isn’t going down the tubes and where you can do something that you are good at. Hmmmm, interesting. I’m sorry, I just had some sarcasm drip down my chin.
Do you see my point here? Apart from the fact that I have an almost visceral hatred for the word “utilized” (mainly because it’s so over utilized – see how I did that?), the entire statement has the depth and thoughtfulness of saying “I want a job with your company, and I have the skills to fill the position you have open”. Let me gently remind you that if this wasn’t the case then you wouldn’t have sent your resume in. Bottom line: no objective, leave it off.
3. Irrelevant Work Experiences
Brevity is the soul of wit, and it’s also the makings of a good resume. In other words, keep it to one page. If you are applying for an Operations Manager position, your previous experience as a line cook 10 years ago is, well, fairly irrelevant. So is that summer job you had stocking groceries on the graveyard shift.
Only list work experience that is very recent or which is directly applicable to the desired position.
I should mention that in some cases, particularly for young people, leaving the line cook job off may leave nothing in the job history slot. In this case only, you should list unrelated jobs in order to show that you have a history of stability and can be relied upon to show up and work hard. You may not quite be Operations Manager material just yet though.
4. Achievements That Aren’t Achievements
If you keep saying the word “professional” over and over to yourself, you’ll automatically realize a few of these things. At least I would hope so. An achievement in the context of a resume really only falls under two categories: professional and community service. Having completed a marathon run isn’t a professional achievement. Having been the vice-president of your high school math club isn’t a professional achievement.
An acceptable achievement would be something like “Raised $10K for the local Boys and Girls Club by initiating a charity event of some sort”, or “Elected to Chamber of Commerce board 3 years in a row”. Got it? Good.
5. Skills That Aren’t Skills
Innovative problem solver? Inspirational motivator? Superior communicator? Sorry, three strikes and you’re out. Although these lines will be found on the vast majority of resumes, they are all completely useless and vain unless they are followed with specific examples of exactly how. Guess what? Even then they aren’t skills. Let me explain.
“I am an innovative problem solver who leads by example.” – worthless.
First, don’t ever write in the first person, and second, prove it.
“Demonstrated innovative problem solving skills by introducing a new billing system which cut company costs by 18% and increased office productivity by 35%” – now you’re talking. However, this still isn’t a skill. It’s an achievement. 🙂
Simply put, a skill on a resume includes things such as “certified in ABC systems”, or “proficient in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint”. Stop trying to over think things and simplify. A great resume is simple, short, and packed with solid reasons that you are the best person for the job. Oh yes, and it doesn’t have any spelling or grammatical errors either, so please check that.
Of course, the best advice I could give you is to stop worrying about what to include in a resume and figure out a way to work for yourself, but to each his own.
Related articles on what to include in a resume:
- How to Build a Killer Online Resume
- Professional Resume Design for Non Designers
- Top 10 Powerpoint Resume Presentations on Slideshare
- 5 Quick Resume Tips for Job Search
- 25 Examples of Super Creative Resume Design
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