Resume Exclusions: What Not to List on Your Resume

The task of resume preparation

Anyone who has ever written a resume will probably agree that composing and structuring one of these documents is a very difficult task, a task which you will have to undertake in the preparation of your own resume; because it takes time and patience to fit your entire professional history within one or two pages, in a way that presents you as the best candidate for the job. While we focus so much of our energy on what must be included in our resumes, we often forget to stop and think about the information that should never be included.

With that in mind, there are at least five pieces of information you should exclude from your resume, and they are listed in the following paragraphs as an informal guide you can refer to when composing your own resume:

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The first two exclusions

1. Do not get personal – Any information that discloses demographics should not be listed in your resume. Items such as your age, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, marital status, physical appearance, or your personal philosophies that are not critical to your job performance must be excluded, as these pieces of information could become detrimental, and be used against you – or be mis-used in the hands of an ethically challenged individual. So such information should never be listed on your resume.

Presenting yourself as a professional to your potential employers is the goal, and as such, the method (resume document) in which you use for your presentation should not be a list of your hobbies or interests. On the other hand, it must be a well formatted listing of your education, qualifications and employment history; so stick to the information that is relevant to the job, as well as to your career objective.

2. Do not list historical salary information on your resume – This is a strict rule and you should follow it as closely as you possible can, since your employer is more concerned with what your desired salary is, than of what you earned in your first job out of college. If you are asked to provide historical salary information do so in your cover letter, not your resume. As a best practice, always list the minimum of what you are willing to accept for the job, and avoid using a salary range.

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Having said that, it is important that you do your research so that you will have a good workable knowledge and understanding of what an acceptable salary is for the job in which you are interested. Whenever possible, leave all salary conversations for the interview with your potential employer.

Other Omissions: jargon and personal webite

3. Do not use jargon or too many “big words” – Unless you are absolutely certain that the person reading your resume will understand the terminology you are using, avoid using jargon in your resume. Pattern your resume as if it was being directed toward recruiters, rather than to an immediate hiring manager, because the human resources associates are usually first to scan your resume. While it is important to showcase your knowledge of a particular field through your education and experience, it is ill-advised to use jargon since it has no place on your well-written resume.

In addition, avoid using too many “big words” since you don’t want to give the impression that you’re hiding behind your vocabulary; and keep in mind that making your resume overbearing is the fastest way to ensure losing the interest of your employer. Just use the action words that are relevant to your career level.

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4. Do not list your personal web site – As a rule, you should not include your personal web site if it contains your photo or other photos that may be viewed as inappropriate, especially if it contains jokes (even if they are clean jokes), or your personal blog. In other words, if the site you have is entirely for personal purposes, you are best advised to leave it off your resume. Only include a link to your web site if the pages are set up in a way that showcases your professional portfolio, a copy of your resume, reference letters, presentations, photos taken for professional use, or your web development skills.

Critical little nuisances must be removed

5. Do not allow typos or other errors to remain – The most important factor in achieving a winning resume is proof reading. Understanding that you want to put your best foot forward, errors on your resume will defeat the purpose; so if your resume contains grammatical and spelling errors, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented. S/he may also come to the conclusion that you are somewhat sloppy, and as such, will do sloppy work if you are hired.

As basic a task as proof reading is, there is no other way to say that it is also very difficult to proof read a document you have been working on so closely, so it may be a good idea to– use spell check – although this tool does not catch grammaticl errors. So ask your friends and family members for help, or meet with a career counselor; Dbut do your best to present the most polished and well-written resume you possibly can to your potential employers.