13 February 2013
Crafting your resume is a bit of a balancing act—you want to give your potential employers enough information to get a sense of who you are, but you want to leave out unnecessary information that could potentially hurt your chances at employment. While we all know the bare bones that make up a resume—contact information, education, prior work experience, and relevant skills—when it comes to figuring out what to leave off, it gets a little cloudier. We’ve compiled a list of deal-breaking resume don’ts that set off warning signals with recruiters and employers alike. Typos and sloppy formatting. Employers will assume that if you carelessly overlook a typo on your resume, then you’re not taking yourself seriously as a candidate. The same goes for formatting. Everyone makes mistakes, so be sure to get a second set of eyes to look over your resume before sending it to potential employers. An unprofessional email address. Employers want to contact a mature, professional you, not the 8th grade version of yourself whose email address is still CutieXO88. Salary requirements. Including salary requirements may limit your access to a number of jobs—as well as make it difficult to ask for more money. It’s also a red flag for many hiring managers, because it gives them the impression that money is your number one priority. A low GPA. Only include your college GPA if it’s high. A low GPA can only hurt you. Your high school education. Unless you’re still in high school or college, or did not go to college, your high school graduation year need not appear on your resume. A selfish objective. An employment objective generally describes what you hope to achieve in a given position, not what you can offer. If you’re dead set on including an objective, or if the company requires it, make sure to emphasize what you can do, not just what you hope to gain. False or exaggerated information. References exist for a reason, and while it may be tempting to stretch the truth to get your foot in the door, remember that everything on your resume can be fact-checked. Chances are, your supervisor will realize one way or another that you lied, either during a background check or because you don’t have the skills that you advertised. Employers don’t retain employees who lie right off the bat, because they will probably lie again in the future. Irrelevant experience. While the summer after college that you spent scooping ice cream may have been the best of your life, it doesn’t really apply to a career in finance. Pick and choose your relevant experience, and tailor it to the job you’re applying for. If you don’t have much employment experience, try to make what you have relevant—for example, you may have applied a bit of market analysis to your ice cream customers that summer. Over-used buzzwords. Anyone can say they are a hard-working, high-powered go-getter with an eye for detail. These phrases are resume black holes: vacuous space-fillers. Prove your abilities based on past experience and project involvement, instead of burdening your resume (and its reader) with words like “creative,” “organized,” “effective,” and “innovative.” When it comes to your resume, oftentimes less is more. You want to intrigue your reader by maintaining an air of professionalism, and yes, a touch of mystique. If your resume leaves a potential employer wanting to know more, that can be a good thing—and may land you an interview.