5 Things That Should Never Be on Your Resume

5 Things You Should Never Put On Your Resume

Your resume is the gateway to the next great moment in your career. It’s your sales pitch. Its job is to convince employers that you’re worth a second look. It’s the tool that keeps you in the hunt.

But it only takes a couple seconds to get your resume trashed. To get hired, your resume needs to make the most of every second of attention it gets. Everything you include must contribute to the message: “I might be just what you’re looking for. Call me, and let’s set up an interview.”

With that in mind, here are 5 things you should never put on your resume. Stay away from these red flags, so your resume keeps your phone ringing.

1. Personal Information Overload

facepalm-resumeIn an effort to get creative or stand out, many job seekers try to add a personal touch to their resumes. But too much of a good thing ruins a good thing.

The person reading your resume only cares about one thing: can this person effectively fill the void in our organization and get the job done?

Your marital status, hobbies, religion, or political party doesn’t contribute to creating the impression that you’re the right fit to plug that hole. These details about your personal life distract from what you have to offer.

A focused, clear, easy to digest presentation of your skills and the results you can bring will win you the interview. Hiring managers know what you’re here for, and there’s no need to get cute with your sales pitch. Just present the most professional, authentic, enthusiastic you possible within the confines of what employers expect to see on your resume.

2. A Listless List

The whole point of your resume is to detail your experience. But the way you package that experience determines what comes next.

Does your resume sound like a bland, lifeless list of job duties? When you simply list all of the responsibilities you had at your previous jobs, you’re not giving the person reading it a chance to know you.

What should you do instead? Think about what you brought to your previous employer that made the organization better. What results did you achieve that moved the ball forward or increased the bottom line? What accomplishments stand out? What actions did you take, and what happened because you took those actions?

Action-packed, results-focused resumes grab attention and win interviews. Passive descriptions of job duties read like every other resume in the pile. And they get thrown away like every other resume in the pile.

3. Excuses and Explanations

Why give a potential employer the first impression that you’re an excuse-maker instead of a problem solver?

Every organization needs honest employees. There is a time and a place to offer reasons and explanations about why things didn’t go perfectly. But your resume isn’t that time.

Make the most of your past experience with statements that communicate value. Nobody’s perfect, but you’ve accomplished great things in your career. You may have to dig deep into your memory banks to pull them out, but those are the statements the person reading about you should see before anything else.

4. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Before you send your next resume, examine it with a fine-toothed comb. Have a friend look it over. Better yet, hire a professional. But whatever you do, make sure it contains no spelling or grammatical errors.

You can’t convince someone that you have an amazing attention to detail with these mistakes on your resume. Spell check isn’t enough, either. Common mistakes get missed by spell check all the time. It seems silly, but you shouldn’t miss out on your dream job because you used “your” instead of “you’re”.

Make the case that you’re careful, accurate, and thorough with a resume free from easily avoidable errors.

5. Distractions

Everything you include on your resume should sing a unified chorus. Every note must contribute to the sweet song the hiring manager hears that says, “I want to know this one a little better.”

Take a look at your resume. Does each job description, accomplishment, or detail describe someone the reader will want to know more about? Does each element create intrigue that invites him to pick up the phone and call you to learn more about you?

Provide what the reader expects from your resume. Provide the job history, contact details, and other relevant information that’s specifically requested or expected.

But that doesn’t mean you have to tell your entire life story. Jobs from 15 years ago and short-term or temporary jobs that didn’t contribute to your relevant experience aren’t useful. Your school GPA from decades ago isn’t impressive. Lists of job duties without measurable results don’t make your resume salty.

It all comes down to this: what makes you a valuable candidate to consider? What parts of your life and work history contributed to making you the right fit for this position? Why should an employer pick you over everyone else?

Use the space in your resume to answer these questions, and you’ll get the interviews others won’t. You’ll also find yourself more prepared for the interview, since these are the questions that prepare you best to sell yourself there.

Your resume is your opportunity to state your case. Don’t blow it with these 5 mistakes. Get your foot in the door with a clear, cohesive message that makes a manager say, “That might be someone we want to have on our team.” Does your resume deliver that message? If not, let’s talk.


Make an investment in your future with a resume / CV and cover letter written by Vivian Adkins, CPRW of Foremost Resumes. Foremost Resumes offers affordable resume writing services – resume prices are published here. If you have any questions about my resume services, call or text 1-321-442-7994.

Resume writing services include:

-Executive Resume Package
-Professional Resume Package
-Entry Level Resume Package for Graduates
-Military Resume Package
(LinkedIn Profile Improvement Add-On Service available for all resume writing packages)

If you found this post helpful, I’d be grateful if you would help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+.

Thank you!

—Vivian Adkins, Resume Writer at Foremost Resumes

About Author

Vivian Adkins, CPRW
Vivian Adkins, CPRW is the owner of Foremost Résumés and a Certified Résumé Writer. On this blog you can learn about résumés, how LinkedIn can help with your job search, how to conduct an online job search, and more.
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