What NEVER to include in your resume
As recruiters, we screen hundreds of resumes every day that is a lost opportunity. Why - you may ask? Hapless candidates often include a litany of useless content that at best makes them look less professional, and at worst is a sad waste of space that can otherwise be used for better, more impactful content.
If you think that sounds like you, here are what you need to remove from your resume today to keep things punchy, memorable, and impressive.
- Personal details including your age, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status, or national ID / passport number - Your name, contact information, and link/s to your LinkedIn profile page or to your work or projects should suffice.
- A photograph or headshot - Unless specifically required as part of a job application.
- Certificates of any kind - of perfect attendance, academic or professional qualifications, work achievements - Merely stating these has surprisingly the same effect.
Feel free to furnish these to a future employer either as accompanying documents or at a later stage of your interview process where required, but definitely not as part of your resume.
- Graphs, charts, tables, logos, basically graphics of any kind - Keep it strictly a document with words, and nothing but words. Save all that colourful personality for your interview.
- The same goes for work or project samples, unless specifically requested by the employer - include a link instead to your work that can be accessed online.
- Meaningless buzzwords or cliches as part of your career summary or work history - Focus instead on actually describing your job scope and key projects, or quantifying your work achievements. Show, rather than tell me how much of a "creative problem solver", "solid team player", or "fiercely dedicated" employee you are with "proven analytical skills".
- Your current and/or expected salary package - You aren’t obligated to state your salary expectations upfront before learning more about the scope, responsibilities, prospects, and stress of a future role from an interview process.
Neither do you want to turn a future company off by revealing a current package that is far below or above what they are expecting to pay (often times, there is a lot more flexibility and bandwidth in a company’s ability and willingness to pay for talent than you, or the recruiters themselves, or even hiring managers, realise).
Steer clear of the money talk as much as you can at the resume and recruiter screen, which is part of our cool salary negotiation hack.
- Letters of commendation or reference from your previous employers, as well as the statement ‘References available upon request’** - Including these reeks of desperation, and no employer wants a desperate candidate (they want that candidate whom every other employer is desperate to have). Save these for when a prospective company requests them as part of your interview or offer process.