What to Leave Off Your Resume

You have spent a lot of time contemplating what to include in your resume, but have you considered what to leave off? Sometimes the decision to exclude something from your resume can be just as important. Here are some suggestions of what to leave off your resume:

1. Vague, general phrases (for example: “strong communication skills, problem-solver, results-oriented”). These statements are weak and everyone makes them. Instead, demonstrate that you possess these traits by outlining your acievements. Replace these phrases with statements like, “Exceeded targets by 50% for six months in a row.” or “Decreased wait-times by three days by establishing a new file system.”

2. Lengthy objective statements (for example: “Looking for a challenging position in a dynamic organization where I will be able to use my skills and experiences to fulfill the organization’s goals.”) Instead, just list the position, “Customer Service Position” or “Sales Manager”. Employers use your objective statement to sort your resume and to assess which position would be the best match for your skills and interests. A clear, simple objective eliminates guessing and ensures that the employer is considering you for the correct position.

3. References. Never include your references on your resume. When references are included on your resume, you do not know who is going to be contacting your references so you cannot prepare them. If you have extra white space that you need to fill, you can include the statement, “References Available Upon Request” but this statement is unnecessary because employers will expect you to provide references if they ask for them.

4. Anything not directly related to the position for which you are applying. It is important that you see your resume as a marketing document and not as a description of your past. The statements that you make in your resume must be accurate, but you need to be framing your skills and experience to fit the job for which you are applying. When possible, eliminate anything on your resume that you cannot directly relate to the position.

5. Responsibility statements. When describing their previous experience on the resume, many people fall into the trap of simply making a list of their job responsibilities.  This approach is boring and unimpressive. While you do need to include some of the key responsibilities, don’t forget to highlight your achievements.  If you quantify your achievements, and relate them to the position for which you are applying, your resume will stand out from the pile.

When your resume contains too much fluff, employers may not be able to recognize that you are actually a great fit for the role. When you remove the clutter, you allow your skills, experiences and achievements to shine through.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)



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