Composing a resume is a difficult task, as we all know. It takes time and patience to fit your whole professional history within one or two pages, and present yourself as the best candidate for the job. While we focus so much of our energy on what to include in our resumes, we forget to stop and think about the information that should never be included.
The following five items are at the top of the Resume Don’ts list:
- Do not get personal. Any information that discloses your demographics should not be listed in your resume. Your age, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, marital status, physical appearance, or your personal philosophies are not critical to your job performance, and therefore should never be listed on your resume. Present yourself as a professional to your potential employers. Your resume is not a list of your hobbies or interests; it is a listing of your education, your qualifications and your employment history. Stick to the information relevant to the job and your career objective.
- Do not list salary information or requirements on your resume. This is a strict rule, and you must follow it. Your employer is concerned with what your desired salary is, not what you earned in your first job out of college. If you are asked to provide salary requirements, do so in your cover letter not your resume. As a best practice, always list a minimum you are willing to accept for the job, and avoid using a salary range. Do your research and know what the acceptable salary is for the job of your interest. Whenever possible, leave all salary conversations to for the interview with your potential employer.
- Do not use jargon or too many “big words.” Unless you are absolutely certain that the person reading your resume will understand the terminology you are using, avoid using jargon in your resume. Gear your resume toward recruiters rather than an immediate hiring manager, because the human resources associates are usually the first to scan your resume. You should showcase your knowledge of a particular field through your education and experience; thus, jargon doesn’t have any place on your resume. In addition, avoid using too many “big words.” Don’t hide behind your vocabulary; making your resume overbearing is sure to lose the interest of your employer. Use the action words that are relevant to your career level.
- Do not list your personal web site. As a rule, do not include your personal web site if it contains your photo or other photos that may be viewed as inappropriate, if it contains jokes (even if they are clean jokes), or your blog. In other words, if the site you have is entirely for personal purposes, you are best leaving it off your resume. Only include a link to your web site if the pages are set up to showcase your professional portfolio, a copy of your resume, reference letters, presentations, photos taken for professional use, or your web development skills.
- Do not have any typos. The most important factor in achieving a winning resume is proof reading. You want to put your best foot forward. If your resume contains grammar and spelling problems, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented. It is hard to proof a document you have been working on so closely – use spell check (but be ware, it will not catch everything), ask your friends for help, meet with a career counselor. Do your best to present the most polished resume to your potential employers.