Things to Leave Off Your Resume

Ideally, you should strive to update your resume at least once a year, even if you are happy in your current job.

Others suggest it’s good to update your resume every six months, just to have it ready for that one special, golden opportunity.

What worked on your resume two years ago may no longer be appropriate now. While trying to add new experience to your resume, it’s good to take a look at the information you no longer need.

1.      Old college jobs and internships. If you worked at a restaurant one summer while you were in college, and it was well over 5 years ago, it might be a good idea to take it off your resume, especially if you are already solidified in your industry. Also, if you did some jumping around, as many college students do while trying to find their established career track, you might want to omit internships and experience that don’t relate to your current job.

2.      Volunteer Experience. Volunteer experience can be great on a resume if you are in between jobs or if what you did as a volunteer had a direct correlation to your job now, especially if your efforts are current. But if you volunteered at one event, once, ten years ago, it might be a good idea to take it off your resume.

3.      Extra-curricular activities. Extra-curricular activities will help you find a job when you are leaving college to enter the workforce. For example, many of my fellow recruiters like to meet recent grads who played sports or learned foreign languages. These candidates are usually well rounded, outspoken individuals. But after 3-7 years of work experience, your college clubs and memberships are less important than your professional organizations and certifications.

4.      A photograph of yourself. Traditional resumes are not supposed to include a photograph. When reading a resume, a manager is supposed to make a judgment based on credentials first and physical appearance second – as they would with a follow-up in-person interview. By looking at someone’s photograph first, a manager might be prone to make a judgment based on the person’s appearance. This may sway his or her objectivity. While managers are barred from making judgments based on appearance—your race, age, weight, or general demeanor may sway their decision the wrong way.

5.      Your age. Your age should not be on your resume. If you have a college listed, it is sometimes a good idea to leave out the year of your graduation. Giving out graduation years will give hiring managers an idea of how old you are, and this may influence a number of important factors, including: 1) whether you will be offered the job, 2) if you get the job, how much they will offer to pay, and 3) how you will be treated among your peers. Always try to keep age a secret until you can establish yourself as an equal professional among your peers. Otherwise, you might run into the trap of being labeled “the young one” or “the old one.”

6.      Personal information. Your hobbies, interests, personal club affiliations are nice for your Facebook profile. They are not as nice on your resume. Keep your resume as professional as possible, unless your hobbies have a direct correlation to your job role.

When in doubt, always take a look at sample resumes online and ask a friend or colleague to proofread your resume before you send it out. Many resumes stretch over 1-2 pages for the wrong reasons. It’s best to keep your resume current, direct, and to the point.

This has been a guest post by Laura Pierson