Resume Exclusions: What Not to List on Your Resume


The task of resume preparation

Anyone who has ever written a resume will probably agree that composing and structuring one of these documents is a very difficult task, a task which you will have to undertake in the preparation of your own resume; because it takes time and patience to fit your entire professional history within one or two pages, in a way that presents you as the best candidate for the job. While we focus so much of our energy on what must be included in our resumes, we often forget to stop and think about the information that should never be included.

With that in mind, there are at least five pieces of information you should exclude from your resume, and they are listed in the following paragraphs as an informal guide you can refer to when composing your own resume:

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The first two exclusions

1. Do not get personal – Any information that discloses demographics should not be listed in your resume. Items such as your age, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, marital status, physical appearance, or your personal philosophies that are not critical to your job performance must be excluded, as these pieces of information could become detrimental, and be used against you – or be mis-used in the hands of an ethically challenged individual. So such information should never be listed on your resume.

Presenting yourself as a professional to your potential employers is the goal, and as such, the method (resume document) in which you use for your presentation should not be a list of your hobbies or interests. On the other hand, it must be a well formatted listing of your education, qualifications and employment history; so stick to the information that is relevant to the job, as well as to your career objective.

2. Do not list historical salary information on your resume – This is a strict rule and you should follow it as closely as you possible can, since your employer is more concerned with what your desired salary is, than of what you earned in your first job out of college. If you are asked to provide historical salary information do so in your cover letter, not your resume. As a best practice, always list the minimum of what you are willing to accept for the job, and avoid using a salary range.

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Having said that, it is important that you do your research so that you will have a good workable knowledge and understanding of what an acceptable salary is for the job in which you are interested. Whenever possible, leave all salary conversations for the interview with your potential employer.

Other Omissions: jargon and personal webite

3. 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. Pattern your resume as if it was being directed toward recruiters, rather than to an immediate hiring manager, because the human resources associates are usually first to scan your resume. While it is important to showcase your knowledge of a particular field through your education and experience, it is ill-advised to use jargon since it has no place on your well-written resume.

In addition, avoid using too many “big words” since you don’t want to give the impression that you’re hiding behind your vocabulary; and keep in mind that making your resume overbearing is the fastest way to ensure losing the interest of your employer. Just use the action words that are relevant to your career level.

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4. Do not list your personal web site – As a rule, you should not include your personal web site if it contains your photo or other photos that may be viewed as inappropriate, especially if it contains jokes (even if they are clean jokes), or your personal blog. In other words, if the site you have is entirely for personal purposes, you are best advised to leave it off your resume. Only include a link to your web site if the pages are set up in a way that showcases your professional portfolio, a copy of your resume, reference letters, presentations, photos taken for professional use, or your web development skills.


Critical little nuisances must be removed

5. Do not allow typos or other errors to remain – The most important factor in achieving a winning resume is proof reading. Understanding that you want to put your best foot forward, errors on your resume will defeat the purpose; so if your resume contains grammatical and spelling errors, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented. S/he may also come to the conclusion that you are somewhat sloppy, and as such, will do sloppy work if you are hired.

As basic a task as proof reading is, there is no other way to say that it is also very difficult to proof read a document you have been working on so closely, so it may be a good idea to– use spell check – although this tool does not catch grammaticl errors. So ask your friends and family members for help, or meet with a career counselor; Dbut do your best to present the most polished and well-written resume you possibly can to your potential employers.


Enlisting Help With Your Resume Review


Resume objectivity vs self-promotion

Anyone who has ever written a resume will probably agree that writing one of these documents is in many ways a process of self-discovery, because when you really give it some serious and more profound thought, writing a resume is actually the process by which you market yourself to your potential employers, which in itself is a very difficult task, since we have to walk the fine line between objectivity and self-promotion. That having been said, please read on as we will elaborate a little more on this aspect of resume writing.

Your resume must summarize the educational achievements, professional experiences, and adequate-to-the-task qualifications – inherent as well as acquired – in a way that best meets your career objective. Composing your entire professional history on one or two pages can be time consuming, because we often spend hours and sometimes days writing and re-writing our resumes in order to make the content and format as perfect as we can possibly get it before the resume reaches potential employers.

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However, after looking at the same content over and over, it can become rather easy for us to miss some very simple typos and grammatical errors; or even poorly written statements that may raise questions in the mind of a hiring manager. Before posting your resume on job search sites, or submitting it to companies in which you are interested to work, it may be in your best interest to have someone else review it.

Boundaries and goals for your resume review

This, of course, can be a scary thought in the sense that while you may want help and feedback from your friend on one hand, you may be concerned that, on the other hand, s/he will dislike something aesthetic and you will feel the pressure to make one or more formatting changes; especially after you have already spent a considerable amount of time on your resume and really don’t want to have to start over. There is however, a method you can use to prevent such a scary thought scenario from ever occurring.

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Consider for a moment that you know the benefit(s) that can be derived from having someone else review your resume. If this is the case, you should set some boundaries and goals for that review by ask about specific things which are of concern to you. In other words, if you know that grammar isn’t your strongest asset, ask your friend(s) to proofread the content; and the same method can be used for any gaps in your work history; simply ask your friend to act as a potential employer and review the resume and cover letter together.

Make sure your “reviewer” friends know exactly what you need them to do; ask if they have any questions about your work history, or have you addressed everything in your cover letter? Accept feedback about content, but make sure that your friends are raising valid questions about the statements you’re making. If they suggest that you change an action word, can they give you a valid reason behind the change? Or is the reasoning based on their personal preference? Don’t get into an argument over formatting; just– do your research ahead of time and know what the acceptable resume style is for your field.

The benefit of a resume writing service

It is also beneficial that you have more than one additional person review your resume before you send it to your potential employers. This helps you in recognizing whether or not the feedback is based on personal preferences or professional concerns. Ideally, the person you ask for help should have experience in your chosen field, and can therefore help ensure that the action words or phrases you have chosen are appropriate for your industry and position level.

If you are unsure that you are on the right track with your resume, and you feel the research you have done is overwhelming and not helpful, seek assistance from a professional resume writing service. A professional resume writer should be able to help guide you in the right direction, revise your current resume or create a new well-written resume for you. Make sure that the professional you are working with can provide you with references and samples, and that they are well versed in writing resumes for professionals in your field of work.

While the resume writing service option requires you to pay for assistance from someone elss, it can prove to be a more beneficial option in the long run. Of curse, you can also serve as your own resume editor by stepping away from the resume document for a while, give yourself some time – usually a day or two – between writing the resume and then reviewing it. This allows you to be more objective as you review the final draft of your resume, because you are not as intimately involved with it at the moment of review, as you would be immediately after completing a draft.


Keep resume mistakes to yourself, don’t share them with employers!

No matter what option of review you chose, make sure that you do in fact review your resume before submitting it to your potential employer; because you certainly don’t want your hiring manager to catch your mistakes, do you? An error-free and otherwise well-written resume is more likely to get you noticed, and help you secure the job you really want.