What Not to Put on a Resume If You Want the Job

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Mar 2, 2020

Mar 2, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

Have you been applying for jobs without any luck?

Chances are, you're just not being patient enough. According to a recent study, it takes 5 months for the average job-seeker to find a new job. But, what if you're past the five-month mark? Or, what if you simply don't want to wait for 5 months to find a new job?

If your applications aren't getting any hits, chances are, there's a problem. Not with you, but with your resume. Your resume is often the first (and sometimes only) impression a job recruiter has of you. Therefore, it's very important that it's as perfect as possible and that you don't have anything in there that you shouldn't. 

While people talk a lot about what you should put in a resume, there are also things you want to avoid putting in a resume. 

Check out this guide to discover what not to put in a resume if you want the job. 

1. Generic Resume Objective Statements 

While resume objective statements can help you land the job, you're not doing yourself any favors if your objective statement is generic. In fact, a recruiter often won't bother looking at the rest of your resume if they encounter a generic objective statement. 

This isn't because you aren't qualified, it's because generic objective statements show you don't care enough about the job to customize your resume. So, to make your objective statement stand out, explain in 3 to 5 sentences why you're a good fit for the position. This is essentially an elevator pitch that's meant to grab the attention of the reader. 

2. Full Mailing Address 

While it used to be necessary to include your full mailing address on your resume, thanks to technology, these days are long gone. 

In fact, if you're trying to relocate for work, a full address can actually hinder your chances of getting hired. After all, who's going to want to hire someone for a job in NYC if that person lives in LA?

However, there are some positions in which the hiring manager prefers local candidates. If this is the case, then you should include your city, state, and zip code. Do not include your actual street address, as it's unnecessary and can also be a security risk. 

If the job doesn't require a local candidate, then your email address will suffice. 

3. Pronouns

While there's some debate about this one in the resume writing community, in general, you should drop all personal pronouns from your resume. 

When we say personal pronouns, we're referring to words like "he", "she", "I", or "me". This type of first-person point-of-view should be saved for your LinkedIn profile. Rather, you should write your resume from what's known as the absent first-person point of view. With this, you drop the use of all personal pronouns from your sentences. 

For example, instead of saying, "I handled the websites of 20 clients", you'd say, "handled the websites of 20 clients". 

4. Irrelevant Experiences 

The whole point of creating a resume is to show that you're uniquely qualified for the job to which you're applying. 

You don't have a lot of space on a resume (generally, you should keep it to one page), so you want to make sure every sentence proves to the employer that you're the right person for the job. Therefore, leave out irrelevant jobs and experiences and instead spend most of your space explaining the relevant ones. 

The same holds true for skills. For example, unless you're creating a translator resume or the job requires it,  you don't need to mention that you're fluent in Spanish. You can save these skills for your LinkedIn profile. 

5. Buzzwords 

A hiring manager can sniff out irrelevant buzzwords a mile away. 

While it's important to include keywords that are relevant to the job description, you shouldn't stuff your resume with fluffy and buzzwords. Not only is this a big turnoff to recruiters, but it also wastes valuable space on your resume. 

6. Your Full Work and Education History 

As we mentioned earlier, you should keep irrelevant experiences to a minimum in your resume. Additionally, you should leave out experiences that were way in the past. 

Unless the application specifically states that they want your full employment and education history, you really only need to go back as far as your past couple of jobs. Even if you had a work experience in high school that was relevant to the job you're applying for now, don't include it if you're well into your 20s. 

Additionally, you don't need to include your high school education. If you earned a bachelor's degree, it's assumed that you graduated high school. 

7. Salary History 

Negotiating a salary is always tricky, and you won't be off to a great start with your negotiations if you include your salary history in your resume. 

If you include this information, then there's a chance you'll get low-balled when it comes to your starting salary. Also, if you fudge your previous earnings, then there's a chance that you'll get caught in a lie and will be terminated. 

Additionally, there are several places in the US where companies aren't allowed to ask for your salary, so do yourself a favor and leave it off your resume. 

8. Personal Information or Hobbies 

While it may seem like a good idea to share personal information and hobbies on your resume so employers can get to know you better, you shouldn't do this. 

An employer shouldn't make a decision about hiring you based on your age, gender, religious views, weight, height, or political affiliation. In fact, they may resent the fact that you're tempting them to do so. 

Additionally, hobbies and other interests don't bear any relevance to the job for which you're applying. 

Leave the 'getting to know you' part for the job interview and instead focus on your skills and qualifications. 

What Not to Put on a Resume: Wrap Up 

Now that you know what not to put on a resume, it's time to get to work on your own. 

Also, be sure to check out our blog for more career-related tips and tricks.