Generally people think about their resume and feel that as much information as possible should be included. While this may be your first instinct, it is probably not what you should do or you could be ruining your chances of landing an interview, never mind a job. Since it is a good idea to create a resume that gets positive attention, it is helpful to know what not to include in your resume:
Information about personal beliefs
While it may seem like a good idea initially, it is never a good idea to include information that can cause friction. This includes information about religion, politics or sexual orientation. Including this type of information on a resume may result in you never being called for an interview. While there are laws to protect applicants from discrimination, this does not mean that these beliefs should be flaunted.
How spare time is filled
Many employers place high value on volunteer work or other work done in the community. However, unless your hobbies are related to the position that is being applied for, exclude them from your resume. While reading may be a great skill for someone applying for a library assistant or teacher, chances are reading will not help land a job as a line-chef. You only need to list your hobbies if you have achievements demonstrating competences which transfer to the workplace such as leadership under pressure.
Too many people prepare a resume by copying their job description, which is a list of tasks you are meant to perform. If someone is recruiting for the role of Bookkeeper they will already have a good idea of what bookkeepers do. Your resume must not list these tasks; it must focus on your unique achievements.
Personal information that is not helpful
Family information, age of children, marital status or unusual circumstances (e.g, aging parents etc.) should be excluded from a resume. Generally, this information is not useful for potential employers and could have a negative impact on the decision of whether to call someone in for an interview. There is no point in creating any doubt that you are prepared to accept a full-time role due to personal living circumstances.
Extensive education or employment
Generally speaking, education or employment that is not related to the job that is being applied for can be excluded if it is more than ten years old. For example, if you worked as a day-care provider when you were in your twenties and you are now in your mid-forties, applying for a department head position, it is probably good to exclude that position. Unless this resume is for your first job out of high school, it’s not worth listing it or GPA or seminars (unless you organized it in which case it should be listed as experience). Keep educational accomplishments brief, for example:
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry – December 2003
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Deliberately misleading information
Never lie about anything on a resume. Experience and education should be recorded accurately and should not be “enhanced”. For those concerned about low GPAs, they can be excluded by simply stating that a degree or certificate has been earned. Generally speaking it is a good idea to exclude information that you feel may be harmful versus embellishing the real information.
Grammar and usage errors
Finally, do a good check of your resume to make sure there are no typos, incorrect usage of words (it’s instead of its or they’re instead of there or too instead of to) or improper use of grammar. Word processing programs like Microsoft Word have tools to do this so it’s worth the time to use them. Follow this advice and you’ll find it will help your resume appear more professional.
Resumes should be considered a marketing tool to land an interview with a potential employer. There are no guarantees about what will spark a recruiter’s or employer’s interest, and sometimes an unconventional approach to presenting a resume will work. But most of the time it doesn’t, so take that into consideration when deciding what include and omit from your resume.