The business world isn’t the same as it used to be. Hiring managers have dozens of resumes to review (an average of 75 per position) and therefore spend approximately 6 seconds on their initial culling. These top 10 things to leave off your resume can help you make it through that first step.
1. An objective: They know you want the job, no need to include this unless you are switching industries entirely, in which case a brief objective may be in order.
2. Details that give your age away: Get rid of that graduation date and dates of certifications, etc. Also, a dead giveaway is including two spaces after a period. We know it’s hard to break that old habit, but get used to hitting the space bar only once.
3. Small fonts and too many bullets: If you are trying to fit everything onto one page and have to reduce the font size to 8 pt., you’ve gone too small. Also, make sure you are only bullet pointing the important points you want to make. If everything is in bullet point form, then it all has the same weight.
4. Personal pronouns: Don’t use I, me, she or my. Also, don’t use third or first person. Again, they know the resume is about you.
5. Outdated fonts: Stay away from serif fonts like Times New Roman. Today, sans serif fonts like Arial are preferred. They’re clean and modern. While you’re at it, stay away from script fonts and definitely avoid Comic Sans.
6. Don’t include generic accomplishments: Quantify the facts. Give specifics. For instance, “Increased sales 52% over a two-year period.”
7. Grammar and spelling errors: So obvious, yet so often one of the reasons resumes end up in the “circular file.” These days, everyone can run spellcheck and grammar checks. When possible, have a detail-oriented friend give it a read-through before submitting.
8. No action verbs: Give your resume a little more life with action verbs. Instead of saying “Responsible for…” Try words like “increased,” “resolved,” “developed.”
9. Too many years of experience: Don’t include more than 15 years of experience unless the job you are applying for asks for 20 years of experience. Use relevant work, and don’t skip chunks of time.
10. Lack of keywords: It takes time, but every job description has keywords they will look for in your resume. Make sure you use them. That’s why each time you submit a resume, it needs to be specific to that job. There’s no good one-size-fits-all that will be effective.
We hope these top 10 things to leave off your resume help you springboard to the next stop on your career.