What NOT To Put On A Resume: 10 Things You Can To Leave Off

January 21, 2022

We’d never want HR to ask “did you really put THAT on your resume?”. Today’s job market is even more competitive; therefore, hiring managers are taking an even more objective look at resumes. We can help you prevent some basic (yet monumental) mistakes when crafting your resume.

We can help you prevent some basic (yet monumental) mistakes when crafting your resume. Here are 10 things you should not put on your resume and some additional tips on what should be included.

What NOT to Put On A Resume


1. DO NOT get Über Fancy with the Trimmings

Scented paper with pop-up designs are great when you’re creating invitations, but not for a resume. Stick to your story. The resume sells you as the brand. Also, while back in the day it was seen as unprofessional to have color on your resume, we think it’s great to add some color or minimal design elements to your resume.

Another thing you should not include on your resume is a photograph. This allows U.S. companies specifically to comply with the Equal Opportunity Legislation.  Employers can always take it a step further and search to find you on Linkedin, however; you should not include a photo as part of your standard resume.

2. DO NOT Fabricate or Exaggerate your Work Experience

Let’s start with the obvious; it’s never a good idea to lie. Second, should you be a candidate lucky enough to make it to the interviewing round, your true colors will show and a good hiring manager will see right through the smoke.

Only provide relevant work experience. Although you may think it is a good idea to list every single job you’ve ever had, that is not necessary. You want to highlight the experience that corresponds to the position you were applying for to show you are a good candidate.

However, if this will leave huge gaps in your resume feel free to include past positions. While doing so, speak to the things you accomplished while on the job and not just typical job duties.

3. DO NOT Get Personal

It’s never a good idea to overshare your personal details on a resume. Save all the reasons you got back on Bumble, the time you were couch surfing, and your childhood stories for Facebook. In addition, your potential employer does not need your social security number, credit card number, or state license id number. All of that information is too personal for a standard resume.


4. DO NOT Use Shorthand

Referring to your last position title as “Mgr.” doesn’t have the same ring as “Manager”. Also, if you’re going to use jargon, you never know if the organization in which you’re applying uses the same abbreviations; stay on the safe side and write complete words. For example, some retailers use UPT (Units Per Transaction), and others use IPT (Items Per Transaction) as jargon for tracking sales.  

5. DO NOT Write a Book Report

Congratulations on having a wide array of professional experiences, tell us about them when you write your first autobiography. Your resume should be limited to one, no more than two pages. Anything more than that is not only ludicrous but will likely not be read.

6. DO NOT list Physical Details and Characteristics

Among the list of things, you should not include on your resume, leave off physical details like height, weight, and eye color. Chances are you are not competing for a modeling position. The employer does not need to know that level of detail about your looks. Focus on your soft skills and actual accomplishments only. 

7. DO NOT Include References from Employers

While the general rule of thumb is not to include references on your resume, this really does come down to the employer. In a normal circumstance you an exclude references. Chances are if your prospective employer is interested in hiring you for the role, they will specifically ask or conduct their own background check. 

When in doubt exclude references and do not put “references upon request” at the bottom of your resume

8. DO NOT Include Low GPAs

As a recent college graduate, you might be concerned about your GPA and wonder if it will interfere with your chances of being hired. Only list your GPA is it is over 3.0. Some will even say only include if it is over 3.5; however; the clear indication is to only include favorable grades on your resume.

If you are concerned that your overall GPA is too low and will not make you competitive for the role, focus on the GPA of your direct major instead. POssibly you have a 3.5+ GPA in management, but your overall GPA is 2.8. Lead with a higher GPA for your resume only and highlight your strengths. 

Similar to the references, you can also opt to not include your GPA at all unless the employer directly asks. 

9. Do NOT Provide Your Salary History 

Your salary should not be included on your resume, but it can be listed in your cover letter, especially if an employer directly requests the information.

You do not want to include your salary in the actual resume for the chance of being screened and automatically rejected for the role. Or even worse, low-balled a salary before you had the chance to negotiate. 

10. Do NOT Include Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Take a few minutes to conduct an automatic spell check with whatever software you use for writing your resume. While this may seem like a tip we could leave off this list, we are all human and make mistakes from time to time.

A useful tip is to read each paragraph backward, then forward again. This resets your brain to not read what you “think” the words say because of course, you wrote them. Sounds crazy but trust us, the tip works! 

Here are 10 Things You SHOULD Put on A Resume

  1. Contact information – (First & last name and email)
  2. Relevant work experience
  3. Certifications and Professional Memberships
  4. Education history
  5. Achievements and awards related to your skillset that also compliment the role for which you are applying
  6. Keywords from the job posting. Also read, ATS friendly resume tips
  7. Your professional title
  8. Power words and action verbs
  9. Url to your LinkedIn Profile, if applicable
  10. Numerical metrics to explain how you’ve improved or impacted areas in your current role.

Resume Example

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