Hiring managers rarely have the time or resources to look at each résumé closely, and they typically spend about six seconds on their initial fit/no fit decision. If you want to pass that test, you need to have some solid qualifications — and the perfect resume to highlight them.
Here are 14 things you should strike from your resume right now.
- An objective
If you applied, it’s already obvious you want the job.
If you’re in a unique situation, such as changing industries completely, it may be useful to include a brief summary.
- Irrelevant work experiences
Yes, you might have been the “king of making milkshakes” at the restaurant you worked for in high school. But unless you are planning on redeeming that title, it is time to get rid of all that clutter.
But as Alyssa Gelbard, career expert and founder of career-consulting firm Resume Strategists points out: Past work experience that might not appear to be directly relevant to the job at hand might show another dimension, depth, ability, or skill that actually is relevant or applicable.
Only include this experience if it really showcases additional skills that can translate to the position you’re applying for.
- Personal details
Don’t include your marital status, religious preference, or Social Security number.
This might have been the standard in the past, but all this information could lead to discrimination, which is illegal, so there’s no need to include it.
- Your full mailing address
A full street address is the first thing Amanda Augustine, a career-advice expert for TopResume, looks for to immediately cut from a résumé.
“Nobody needs to have that on their résumé anymore, and, to be quite honest, it’s a security concern,” she tells Business Insider.
- More than one phone number
Augustine suggests including only one phone number on your résumé, and that number should really be your cellphone, so that you can control who answers your incoming phone calls, when, and what the voice mail sounds like.
- Your hobbies
In many cases, nobody cares. If it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s a waste of space and a waste of the company’s time.
“Also, you don’t want employers trying to contact you in five different places, because then you have to keep track of that,” she says.
- Blatant lies
A CareerBuilder survey asked 2,000 hiring managers for memorable resume mistakes, and blatant lies were a popular choice. One candidate claimed to be the former CEO of the company to which he was applying, another claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner, and one more claimed he attended a college that didn’t exist.
Rosemary Haefner, chief human-resources officer at CareerBuilder, says these lies may be “misguided attempts to compensate for lacking 10o% of the qualifications specified in the job posting.”
But Haefner says candidates should concentrate on the skills they can offer, rather than the skills they can’t offer.
“Hiring managers are more forgiving than job seekers may think,” Haefner explains. “About 42% of employers surveyed said they would consider a candidate who met only three out of five key qualifications for a specific role.”
- Too much text
When you use a 0.5-inch margin and eight-point font in an effort to get everything to fit on one page, this is an “epic fail,” says J.T. O’Donnell, a career and workplace expert, founder of career-advice site Careerealism.com, and author of “Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career.”
She recommends lots of white space and no more than a 0.8 margin.
Augustine agrees, warning particularly against dense blocks of text.
“Let’s be honest: You’re looking this over quickly, you’re glancing through it, your eyes glaze over when you get to a big, long paragraph,” she says.
- Too many bullets
In the same vein, you can also overload your résumé with too many bullet points, which Augustine calls “death by bullets.”
“If absolutely everything is bulleted, it has the same effect as big dense blocks of text — your eyes just glaze over it,” she says.
Augustine explains that bullets are only to be used to draw attention to the most important information. “If you bullet everything, everything is important, which means really nothing stands out,” she says.
- Time off
If you took time off to travel or raise a family, Gelbard doesn’t recommend including that information on your résumé. “In some countries, it is acceptable to include this information, especially travel, but it is not appropriate to include that in the body of a résumé in the US.”
- Details that give away your age
Another surprising way your résumé could give away your age: double spaces after a period.
If your employers want to speak to your references, they’ll ask you. Also, it’s better if you have a chance to tell your references ahead of time that a future employer might be calling.
If you write “references upon request” at the bottom of your résumé, you’re merely wasting a valuable line, career coach Eli Amdur says.
- Inconsistent formatting
The format of your résumé is just as important as its content, Augustine says.
She says the best format is the format that will make it easiest for the hiring manager to scan your résumé and still be able to pick out your key qualifications and career goals.
Once you pick a format, stick with it. If you write the day, month, and year for one date, then use that same format throughout the rest of the résumé.
- Personal pronouns
Your résumé shouldn’t include the words “I,” “me,” “she,” or “my,” says Tina Nicolai, executive career coach and founder of Resume Writers’ Ink.
“Don’t write your résumé in the third or first person. It’s understood that everything on your résumé is about you and your experiences.”