Don’t let hiring managers misjudge you by giving them a resume that fails to call attention to your skills and experience that matter to them. Your resume is your introduction to a hiring manager, so it must sell you as the best solution to meet their needs.
The first time a hiring manager sees your resume, she is unlikely to look at it for more than 30-seconds. In fact, she’ll probably spend closer to 15-seconds glancing over it and looking for keywords to find experience that matters to her. Most job applicants create a generic resume that fails to make hiring managers notice them. Instead of hyping the key details that will pique a hiring manager’s interest, their resumes are filled with useless information that hides those most important points within a lot of clutter.
The trick to writing a great resume that stands out from the gigantic stack of resumes hiring managers receive from job applicants is to look at it through an unbiased lens. You need to make a conscious effort to delete the clutter, and chances are at least 20% of the content in your resume is useless clutter. By cutting the clutter, your resume will be stronger and more effective.
Following are 10 things you should delete from your resume immediately. By omitting these elements, your resume will have a significantly better chance of resonating with hiring managers.
1. An Objective Statement
There was a time when every resume began with an objective statement. Today, these subjective statements are little more than fluff that steal space from compelling content.
2. Personal Details
Not only do personal details take away valuable space where you could include useful details about your work experience, but they also look unprofessional. In fact, personal details can do more harm than good in terms of landing an interview. If your resume includes details about how many kids you have, where you grew up, your marital status, your religion, your age, or any other extraneous personal details, delete them right now. Keep in mind, hiring managers aren’t allowed to ask you much of this personal information during the interview process because it could be considered discriminatory. Therefore, these personal details have no place on a professional resume.
3. Personal Interests
Personal interests should never appear on a resume. They steal valuable real estate and are unlikely to have any relevance to a hiring manager. In other words, hiring managers shouldn’t care if you like cooking, fishing, basketball, sewing, or any other hobby. A resume should include work-related content, not personal content.
4. Basic Skills and Obvious Information
Unless a job description specifically mentions basic skills like typing, email, and so on, you shouldn’t include them on your resume. Furthermore, leave out obvious information that steals space from important information. For example, the commonly used statement telling hiring managers that references are available upon request is obvious and unnecessary.
5. Your Picture
A resume should never include a picture of yourself. It makes your resume look unprofessional. If your picture is included anywhere on your resume, delete it now.
6. Every Job You’ve Ever Had
Unless that babysitting job you had in high school is extremely relevant to the job you’re applying for now, leave it off of your resume. Always tailor the content of your resume to the specific job you’re applying for. Your goal should be to show the hiring manager that you can do the job. Don’t tell them your life story. No one cares about unrelated jobs that you’ve had throughout your life, but they will care if important details related to the job they need to fill are not on your resume.
7. Extras You Were Not Asked For
Hiring managers are busy people. If they ask you to send a resume and cover letter, send those two documents and nothing additional. You might be tempted to include copies of recommendation letters, performance reports, transcripts, and other documents that support how wonderful you are, but that extra documentation is unlikely to help you. First, sending extraneous documents tells a hiring manager that you cannot follow directions. Second, it shows a hiring manager that you’re incapable of succinctly showing them that you can do the job within your resume. Third, extra documentation is overwhelming and adds more clutter for a hiring manager to dig through. If you take the time to create an amazing resume, you won’t need to include all of that extra documentation. Your resume will pique the hiring manager’s interest so much that she’ll want to meet with you where you can share all of the additional information about yourself.
8. Too Many Contact Options
You’re popular and busy. You want to make sure that a hiring manager can contact you at a moment’s notice. While that’s very understandable, you should never clutter your resume with a list of contact options. Instead, demonstrate to hiring managers that you can make a decision by choosing one phone number and one email address to include at the top of your resume. It only takes a second for a hiring manager to get frustrated and develop a subconscious negative perception of your resume when she is presented with a long list of contact options and can’t figure out which one to use. Don’t annoy hiring managers. Instead, make it as easy as possible for them to contact you. Believe it or not, they know you might not answer your phone and might have to call them back.
9. Long-winded Descriptions
Remember, hiring managers are very busy and typically have stacks of resumes to review when they have a job to fill. They won’t read through long paragraphs of text describing your experience, so keep your content short and sweet. Use bullet points and action words. Don’t include subjective assessments of your work. Instead, show hiring managers what you’ve done with quantifiable examples that demonstrate your abilities.
This might seem like an obvious thing to omit from your resume, but the number of resumes hiring managers look at on a daily basis that include mistakes is very high. Review your resume for spelling, grammar, and formatting mistakes, and then review it again. Use spell check. Read it backwards, and read it out loud. Take a break and read it again. Furthermore, you should never rely solely on proofreading your own work because you won’t catch all of the errors. With that in mind, be sure to give your resume to at least three other people to review, too.