There are certain types of information that is better left off of a resume, yet there are people out there who are committing self sabotage by including it on their resume. Here is my list of 7 deadly sins to resume writing:
Discrimination in hiring still exists today, by adding a photograph; one reveals information about themselves that falls into protected classes which could lead to employment discrimination (age, gender, race, origin, etc…). In addition to the discrimination argument, adding a photograph to a resume (I have seen it done a number of ways, never good) looks obnoxious.
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2. Personal Information
This rule also most definitely applies to cover letters along with resumes. Personal information such as age, date of birth, social security numbers, marital status, national origin, or anything else that is self identifying have no business on a resume. Not only does personal information open doors to potential hiring discrimination, it is irrelevant to searching for a job.
3. Irrelevant Job Experience
It is important to limit irrelevant job experience on a resume. If listing experience to fill gaps of employment on a resume, limit details to a couple of sentences or highlight details that are relevant to the new job search. For people fresh out of college searching for the first job in a new career, it is okay to list some college work experience, it can even look good. Make sure to keep details to a minimum and focus on details such as results of school projects, internships, etc… The goal is to make the prospective employer focus on relevant job experience. Also, make sure to add any quantitative metrics of performance, such as a good GPA (3.8 and above).
4. Over Embellishment of Qualifications
Making a resume read well is one thing, but flat out lying is another. Lying will only hurt candidates in the long run. Candidates should write resumes in a way that is positive and reflective to their skills and abilities.
Personal hobbies should always be avoided; no one cares what a candidate does in his/her free time. Hobbies that are highly relevant to the job search are okay if mentioned properly. For instance, an IT candidate might develop open source projects in his/her free time. Open source development experience for an IT candidate looking for a software engineering job would look great on a resume.
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6. Rants about former employers or places of work
Explaining why one left a previous position should be explained in a positive light. For those candidates who have bad things to say about a previous employer, congratulations for not working there anymore! Furthermore, congratulations on taking the next step to finding a more positive or better job! Prospective candidates should never rant about a former employer to a prospective employer. This rule applies to resumes, cover letters, job interviews, and even in the workplace at a new job.
7. Bad grammar and spelling errors.
Resumes should ALWAYS be triple checked to ensure everything reads properly, all words are spelled correctly (nothing worse than reading collage vs. college), and all punctuation is where it needs to be.
Don’t kill your job search by violating your resume with any of the above mentioned resume “sins”. There are many ways to write a bad resume, and many great resources online to writing a great one.