A lot of people seem to think that your Resume is like a history book of everything you’ve done. As a result they end up putting everything on there. That isn’t that great of an idea. Your resume is more like an advertisement, a sales pitch and a biography combined. By putting everything on there, you’re at best taking up space that you could be using for more interesting things, and at worst turning an ‘let’s interview’ into a ‘no thank you’.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been nurturing that inner business person, or working out which jobs pay best, none of that matters if you can’t get your foot in the door. And so you’ve got to make sure your resume is the best that it can be.
Note that I’m not suggesting that you should lie. You can get into serious trouble if you do that. Instead, what I’m talking about is being selective – and no, not with the truth, but with what you put on your resume!
Let’s discuss somethings that really don’t need to be on there.
1. Your age
Even though it may seem like it every time your birthday comes around and you invite everybody to your house, how many years you’ve been on this earth is not an achievement. For that reason it really shouldn’t be on your CV.
What’s more, putting it on there will end up creating opportunities for ageism, or discrimination based on age. They might not end up inviting you because they think you’re too old or because you’re not old enough. Don’t give them that opportunity. And also don’t be afraid of your age. It is never too late to become successful.
2. Every job you’ve held
They really don’t need to know about that job you had when you were sixteen and you were working for a few months in the summer. In fact, if you’ve held a lot of jobs, the shorter ones probably won’t help you much at all.
Not only will they end up cluttering your resume, they’ll also make it look like you can’t keep down a job and that if they hire you they’ll have to start looking for a replacement in no time at all. I guarantee you, no business is interested in that.
Of course, you don’t want to leave big holes in your resume. That will arouse suspicions. In that case, you do want to mention what you did there, but be sure to spin the job so that you highlight the skills that they would be interested in. So if you worked in a bar and now want to work in administration, highlight that you did a lot of paperwork for the bar as well.
3. Personal details
Your sexual orientation, how many years you’re single, where your parents come from and hobbies shouldn’t be mentioned unless they’re important for the job (e.g. you might want to mention your afghan heritage if you want to help in an afghan cultural center).
In fact, putting these details on your CV is just inviting problems, as it might bring about discrimination or fear that if they don’t invite you they’ll be accused of discrimination, or things like that. Make the situation better for everybody and leave it out.
4. Achievements that aren’t really
Fantastic! You won a hot dog eating contest! You should be so proud (I guess). What you should not do is put it on your CV, or anything like that. So there is no need to mention having been a beauty queen, a member of a polo club, or a long distance swimmer, unless it’s directly relevant for the job you’re doing (starting to notice a refrain here?).
5. Strange hobbies
Interesting hobbies can make you seem like a person that might be fun to talk to. Strange hobbies will just make it more likely that your resume ends up in the shredder. So if you like dressing up as a clown and lurking outside people’s windows at night, that probably shouldn’t go on your resume.
Love baking! Great, that can go on there, particularly if you want to work in F&B. Enjoy getting baked? Yeah, no. Not a good idea to include that.
6. Six-syllable words
Unless this word is somehow directly relevant to your industry and the HR people will know what you’re talking about, do not sit around with a thesaurus and try to use long words to make yourself look more intelligent. The thing is, you don’t. People generally think that people who use long words are trying to hide behind them. So don’t use them when there’s a perfectly good short word that will do just as well.
7. Weird email addresses in resume
I have to say, it is truly bizarre what email addresses people think are okay to use, particularly considering they’re free to register. Sluttygirl99 or Iliketodrinkpee are not good email handles! In fact, anything that veers far away from your name is probably not a good idea (unless you have a company of course, in that case it’s find to use that email address, provided you don’t sell sex toys or something similar).
8. Important private information
There is no need to put bank details, your social security number, or your passwords on your resume. You do not know who is going to see your CV and you don’t know what will happen with it after people have looked at it.
9. Buzz words
You know what the problem is with buzz words? Everybody uses them. And if you’re an HR manager reading through dozens if not hundreds of applications a day that can be really annoying. So don’t! find another way to say that you’re a go getter, that you think outside the box, or that you’re a people pleaser. There really are other way to say those things, you know.
10. Your current business contact
And last but not least, don’t include your current office details! Imagine if the HR manager would call up asking about information about you? That could get you fired! And what’s more, might very well lead you to not getting an interview at the new job either (they will not be impressed that you were that sloppy with vital information).