You’ve probably heard that hiring managers and recruiters spend just 6–7 seconds glancing through your resume before determining whether to pass or move forward. That’s pretty anxiety-provoking — so how do you ensure that yours lands in the “move forward” pile?
Many applicants are continuing to make avoidable mistakes on their resumes. So, before you send your job application, make sure you’ve left these outdated elements off.
1. Your address
Today’s work world is full of remote and hybrid opportunities, so there’s really no need to include your physical address on your resume anymore. In some cases, especially for roles that may require you to come into a brick-and-mortar office on occasion or more regularly, consider adding a general location — the city or metropolitan area where you live, for example — but your entire mailing address isn’t necessary.
2. Irrelevant information
Hobbies, interests, awards that aren’t related to your career: these are all things that should be left offer your resume. Of course, if they’re connected to your job, then feel free to mention them — but only if they actually contribute to your candidacy for particular roles. Be careful when thinking of adding a full section listing all of your niche interests in your job application. Chances are, many of them are detracting from, rather than adding to your application.
3. A resume objective
Generic resume objectives are a thing of the past. Prospective employers don’t need you to tell them that you’re looking for an entry-level role in [industry] and are eager to use [skills] — that’s obvious. Instead, consider adding a career summary, a statement that describes the professional qualifications that make you the perfect fit for the role. This has the potential to add real value to your application, far beyond anything the objective can do.
4. Personal details
Beyond your contact information (email address and phone number, but remember: no mailing address) and your career/professional details, employers shouldn’t have access to any personal data. Your age, gender, sex, religion, birthday, country of birth and other personal factors should never weigh into hiring decisions — it’s illegal — and they shouldn’t appear on your resume. Don’t put your social security number on your resume, either. Your employer may need this later, such as if they conduct a background check, but not during the initial application cycle.
5. Microsoft Office
In today’s world, everyone expects you to know how to use basic tools like Microsoft Office, Google Cloud and others in this vein. Unless you truly have exceptional, specialized skills in this realm — far beyond what the average professional can do — then these aren’t skills to add to your application.
6. An unprofessional email
Is your email address still email@example.com? If so, it’s time to create a more professional alternative. You don’t want recruiters and hiring managers to see this on your resume — it won’t reflect well on you. Instead, try to create one that has your name at a reputable domain (Gmail is fine). If you have a fairly common name, you might need to use some variation, including, for example, titles, numbers or abbreviations.
7. Social media accounts and proficiency
While your LinkedIn profile certainly belongs on your resume, your other accounts don’t unless they’re professional and relevant to your job. For example, if you’re a writer, your Twitter handle could very well be worthwhile for hiring managers to see. The same goes for Instagram if you’re a visual artist. Just make sure there’s nothing inappropriate or offensive on your accounts.
You may be tempted to include social media in your skills section, but you should only do so if you actually have experience working in the social media space professionally — such as if you’ve handled your employer’s accounts or have taken courses in the area. Otherwise, you’re not a social media expert.
8. Irrelevant roles or responsibilities
Roles that aren’t relevant to your current career should be removed. Usually, you should also remove experiences from longer than roughly 15 years ago, too, with some exceptions. For example, certain careers, such as those in academia, usually demand more in-depth career histories. Moreover, if the experience is highly relevant and/or necessary to your current role, you should also keep it. An example might be a particular certification or degree you earned.
If you’re changing careers, you might want to include information that isn’t directly related to your prospective role, too — just try to find ways to highlight transferable skills and qualifications.
Pictures do not belong on your resume unless you’re applying for, say, an acting or modeling gig. Otherwise, leave the headshots off your job application. It’s usually considered highly unprofessional to include them.