What NOT to Include on Your Resume

When applying for a job, it’s vital to include necessary information that puts you in the best light. While you probably have a fair idea of what passes as good information, the criteria for what makes something a little questionable is somewhat murky. Today, we’re going to discuss what not to include on your resume, so you stand the best chance of making a professional first impression.

Create an interview-winning resume

As we have mentioned, an excellent resume is great because of its content and good because it excludes inappropriate data. Here are 10 things to avoid when putting together a professional resume:

Your religion or spiritual beliefs
Employers do not want to be biased, but they could be swayed into acting biases unintentionally if you include information that they may disagree with. That means if you’re an active member of a religion or have a set of beliefs that a future employer may disagree with, then be sure to leave it off. If this bothers you, consider applying for a role with a company that actively promotes the faith you practice.

Your political affiliations
While it is great to be politically active, it might not be so good in the workplace. Companies are full of people with conflicting ideas, so it is best to keep your political affiliations under wraps, at least during the recruitment stage. Be sure to remove any political information from your resume; if you can’t, be sure to amend the wording to give a politically neutral impression.

Your marital status or dependents
Part of being a professional is knowing how to maintain adequate boundaries between your home life and your work life. This is why it is so important to keep your marital status and number of dependants, if any, off your resume. While it is oversharing, it could invite your potential employer to discriminate against you, which is never a good thing. Unless it is absolutely essential, it is best practice to avoid disclosing anything about your home life throughout the recruitment process.

A glossy headshot
Photos are becoming more and more popular in job applications, but should you include a glossy headshot with yours? It all depends on the industry and role, but a good rule of thumb to use is to avoid doing it completely, unless it is expressly requested as part of the process. If so, you are probably applying for a role where looks play a big part, so it shouldn’t pose a problem. In most other situations, attaching a photo may be a sign you want to use your appearance to get ahead, which is not a good impression to make, and could backfire if your potential employer made a snap judgment and decided he or she did not want to interview you after all.

Previous criminal convictions
If you have criminal convictions, you’re not liable to disclose these in your resume. Be sure to keep them off your resume to ensure you have a fair chance of being interviewed for the job as anyone else would. Criminal convictions and criminal background checking can be covered in later parts of the interview process, so be sure to disclose them if and only the question is expressly asked, and only if it is vital to your potential role.

Questionable email addresses
A good resume includes adequate contact details which allow the interviewer the opportunity to contact you during working hours. Make sure you have a professional sounding email address listed clearly on your resume. If you haven’t updated your email address in years, it is worthwhile considering whether your address is still appropriate for you and the role you are aiming to obtain.

Sensitive bank and tax information
A resume is the perfect time for you to showcase your skills, but it is also a time to display adequate professional judgment. It is not wise to include sensitive information on your resume, so be sure to delete bank account numbers and tax information off yours to ensure your future employer knows you can act appropriately in any given situation.

Unrelated hobbies and jobs
A resume should be tailored to the position you are applying for, so make sure you remove any unrelated hobbies or jobs, and if you can’t, be sure to fully explain how they transfer to the role you desire. Make sure you only include information that highlights why you would be the ideal candidate and your chances of landing the job will increase.

Overly generic skills
Everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word, so make sure you don’t include it on your resume. Instead of making you look skilled, it will make it appear as though you are trying to pad out your resume with skills everyone is expected to have in the workforce. Be sure to add in specialist skills that are in demand to ensure your resume heads to the top of the pile.

Anything factually incorrect
Honestly is always the best policy, to make sure your resume contains only truths. Go through your resume with a fine-toothed comb and make sure everything you state can be backed up with evidence. While it may be tempting to embellish what you did in a particular role, your potential employer will soon find out and it could cost you the opportunity – or worse!