Ten Things to Avoid in Resumes

Resumes that Get Results

1. Don’t make the resume too long. A resume is not an autobiography or an application. It does not have to tell your whole story. Very few hiring managers will read a lengthy resume. Focus on your accomplishments and skills to highlight how you would be a fit for the company. Highlight the major areas which will help get you the interview. Typically a resume is one page. Two page resumes are acceptable if your experiences relate to the position you are seeking.

2. Don’t limit the information you provide on the resume. Don’t just list the job title, company, dates, extracurricular activities or clubs. Indicate your accomplishments and how you added value to the position or activity.

3. Don’t use complete sentences. This is one time in your life that you don’t have to use complete sentences. Omit “I”, “Me”, and “They” statements. Start each section or bullet with an Action Verb. For example, Managed, Created, Analyzed, etc. Click here for a list of Action Verbs.

4. Don’t make formatting or grammar mistakes. PROOF READ your resume for typos. Your resume is your first introduction to an employer. You want to make it a good one. It is easy to miss your own typos. Use spell check but don’t rely on it completely. Have Career Services critique your resume.

5. Don’t use resume templates. Employers can spot a template very easily. You want to stand out in both content and quality of layout. Stay away from the “canned” resume.

6. Don’t be negative. All of us have had positive and negative experiences. Always focus on the positive. Think about what you have learned that is applicable to the position. What relevant or transferrable skills can you offer the employer based on those experiences.

7. Religion, political party and national origin should be omitted. Despite legislative protection and ethical concepts which make it wrong to discriminate because of race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation there is still much prejudice in the work world. Indicating your religion or national origin might set up an unfavorable reaction in the mind of the reader. Although this is unacceptable and illegal, omitting the information can protect you from this type of prejudice.

8. Do not include salary information (unless in a government resume). If it’s requested, give it in the cover letter. This will give you flexibility in discussing your salary requirement.

9. Don’t list references on your resume. If employers want your references, they will request them. Typically this happens later in the application process. Reference should be listed on a separate page. Click here for the reference page template.

10. Don’t use a photograph (unless you are in theatre or TV). Don’t give an employer the chance to make an employment decision about you based on your appearance.

Always remember to send a cover letter with your resume!

Last Modified: 1/19/17 3:49 PM