5 Things Your Resume Can Do Without

Putting together a resume can be difficult. Having to think of all those little details can get exhausting or, at the very least, tedious. A lot of people probably think they need to be Shakespeare to craft the perfect resume, but you don’t have to be a brilliant wordsmith to attract the eye of a recruiter. Sometimes, it’s not what you put on your resume at all, but what you keep off that is going to help your chances of landing that dream job.

1. Objectives aren’t necessary.

Objectives are typically found on a resume. This picture shows why that isn't necessary, they tend to just waste space and say the obvious.

“Objective: I want a job”

If you use Microsoft Word to create your resume, you’ve probably looked at the online templates to get an idea of where to start. As I write this, all the top templates have near the top some form of “Objectives”. This is a boring boiler plate that provides no information the hiring manager doesn’t already know, so why waste valuable space on your resume? Take out the objective entirely, and instead let your work history speak for you.

2. Irrelevant job experience.

“I worked as a giant talking rat for Charlie Cheese-E Pizza. I’m responding to your ad for the Legal Secretary position!”

Now, I’m not trying to say that you should feel ashamed you had to wear a giant mouse mascot costume for your local pizzeria. Hey! Work is work! But, unless you have virtually no or little job experience, it’s probably best to omit that one from your resume. Let me be clear that you are not and should never lie on your resume, however recruiters are only going to be interested in work that shows you have some form of relevant experience to the position you’re applying for.

If you haven’t had that many job opportunities and you have to include a job that doesn’t seem relevant, then you need to think about how that job would still apply to what  you’re applying for. If you’re applying for an office job, then you weren’t a giant mouse mascot giving hugs to families and serving pizza; you were a front-line customer service representative that ensured and adhered to the needs of clients in a family-friendly fast-paced environment.

3. Photos and other visual elements are going to take away, not add.

A picture of a bar graph with no legend with the caption "This graph shows just how awesome I am"

“This is a chart of just how awesome I am. You’ll see that I, in fact, top the charts!”

I do everything I can to avoid re-inventing the wheel. I use a lot of websites where I can license templates to get the job done. This is a common practice in IT and administration where every second counts. I mention this because there is a growing trend on professional template marketplaces where they mark off a little area in the resume for your portrait, and this trend absolutely baffles me.

Pictures and graphs detract from your resume and make it more difficult to find relevant information. How we come off to others in our first impressions is difficult to undo, which is why the first time your potential boss should see your face is when you’re sitting directly across from them in an interview. Don’t rely on a picture to sell you or fancy charts and graphs to show your potential. Instead, get face-to-face and give them the whole package all at once!

4. References? You don’t need no stinkin’ references…on your resume.

Recruiter: “I see you listed your mom and dad as references–”
Applicant: “They’ll tell you I have a great personality and wonderful work ethic!”
Recruiter: “Actually, after speaking with your father and the current state of your room, I’m afraid we’ll have to pass.”

You’re taking up valuable space by including this on your resume, which should be better served talking about your skills and accomplishments. References are only relevant once you’ve already been established with a recruiter and that’s after they’ve considered if you’re a good fit with them. Once they have, then they’ll let you know the when/how you should be providing, if any at all. Besides, many jobs will have very specific criteria for what kind of references they’ll accept, so just save yourself time and leave it off.

5. Your physical address

“Home? Home is wherever my cellphone is.”

This might seem like an odd one, but because of how interconnected we are these days  your physical address is not only irrelevant, it could actually hinder you a bit.

If you’re not local, chances are a hiring manager or recruiter is going to look at your address and not even go beyond that. If you are local, the hiring manager is going to be concerned about commute times and quietly be taking it into account in their decision. Again, you shouldn’t lie if they ask, but that’s best left as an interview question where you can explain why you’re applying when you’re not local or have a long commute. These days, just give them your name, cell phone number, and an email address.