Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

Resume writing can be an incredibly daunting task. What experience should you include from before college? Which previous jobs should you include? Is listing your GPA necessary? Read on for 10 things that you should leave off of your resume.

1.     Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors: Your resume is an employer’s first look at you as a job applicant. Make a positive first impression by ensuring that there are absolutely no spelling or grammar errors on your resume. Many employers will immediately disregard resumes that include these critical mistakes.

2.     GPA: Your grade point average is not necessary to include on a resume, but it can be nice. If you have anything below a 3.0 GPA then you should leave it off your resume. If your major GPA is significantly higher, then feel free to list that if it pertains to the job you’re applying for.

3.     Objective: Resume objectives are fairly outdated. In addition, they are mistakenly about what you want when they should be about what the employer wants. Include information about how much you want the job in your cover letter.

4.     False information: Do not lie on your resume. Don’t claim you graduated college if you didn’t; don’t say you still work at a company that fired you; don’t pretend you’re fluent in Spanish if you’re only a beginner. Your employer will inevitably find out that the information is false, so just tell the truth in the first place.

5.     High school accomplishments: Once you’re well into college and beyond you want to take off any mention of high school activities. Even if you have a long list of accomplishments from high school, your more recent experiences are much more important.

6.     Interests and hobbies: As much as you love rock climbing or listening to music, these interests probably are not relevant for employers. If it’s an interest like cooking, which would be applicable for a position as a chef, then make sure to highlight your particular skills, not just your interest.

7.     Your photo: Your appearance is irrelevant to your potential as an employee. Unless you’re applying for a job in modeling, acting or possibly broadcast news, your photo isn’t necessary. Save your photo for your LinkedIn profile or website.

8.     Multiple pages: Your resume should be just one page, so don’t go beyond that. If you need help cutting it down try reformatting, shortening your text, widening your margins or making your font as small as 10 pt. If you’ve been in the industry for a while, a two-page resume is acceptable, but keep it as concise as possible.

9.     References: References should be given only upon request, so there’s no point in mentioning them on your resume. It is implied that you will be able to provide references if an employer asks for them, so save that room for something else. On that note, make sure that you have a few references available in case employers do ask! Refer to our previous post for etiquette guidelines on asking for references and letters and recommendation.

     10.  Fancy designs: Your resume format should be fairly simple; make sure the text is clear and easy to read. Feel free to add some of your own touches, but we strongly advise against pink and scented like Elle Woods’ resume.

Overall, when it comes to resume writing, less is more. Remember: employers spend only a matter of seconds on each resume, so you want them to focus on the most impressive and pertinent information. Leave out all of the fluff, so that you can highlight what is important.