What Not to Include on Your Resume

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What Not to Include on Your Resume

Recruiters scan through resumes in a matter of seconds. For this reason you should avoid cluttering your resume with unnecessary information and focus on what counts, your resume should only contain information that relates to the job you’re applying for.

The potential employer should be immediately drawn to your skills and experience which match the criteria in the job description of the vacancy they are filling.

It is a common resume mistake to include irrelevant, unnecessary or inappropriate information, or to write long, wordy job descriptions. These are all things not to include on your resume.

It is important to write a concise resume, and make sure that every word and sentence helps to sell you to the recruiter. Knowing what not to put on a resume is key to this. Using an online resume builder is a quick way to achieve this.

What not to include on a resume? If you are not sure if a piece of information is relevant to the job you’re applying for, don’t include it on your resume. Here is a list of the worst things to put on your resume

Personal details

It is crucially important to write your contact details on your resume, but apart from this, personal details are unnecessary. Things to never put on your resume: age, ethnicity, sexuality and marital status.

This information isn’t relevant to your ability to do the job so don’t include it. The recruiter will use the interview to get to know you better, the aim of your resume is to get you a first interview .

Salary information

This could immediately eliminate you from consideration. If the potential employer thinks you salary is too high or low for the position you’ve applied for, they may decide you’re not suited. You have nothing to gain by including this information.

Wait until the interview stage before you discuss money and make sure you research the company before doing this. If you’re asked to give an expected salary before the interview, write ‘competitive’ or ‘negotiable’ instead of an exact figure.

Mistakes when writing a resume


Don’t include your references on your resume unless you are ask to on a job application. Wait until the employer requests these at the interview stage or after. Space on your resume is precious, the employer doesn’t need your references before the interview.

Don’t even write ‘references available on request’, as this goes without saying and space on your resume in precious. All space-fillers are things you shouldn’t write on your resume.

Every job you’ve ever had

What not to include when writing a resume: Potential employers aren’t interested in an irrelevant part-time job you did 20 years ago. If you’re writing a professional resume, only list experience you’ve had over the last 10-15 years which demonstrates to the employer that you’re the right person for the job.

You may need to add jobs, which aren’t directly relevant to the position you’ve applied for, within that time frame to show that you don’t have gaps in your employment history.

If this is the case, focus on an element of the job which is relevant. This will also be the case if you have limited work experience. Knowing how to write an entry-level resume is key to this.

Hobbies and interests

Only include hobbies and interests if they are directly relevant to the job. A strong candidate should have enough valuable experience and skills to fill a resume.

What not to write on your resume: Playing the flute, collecting stamps, or doing karate may be of great interest to many people, but it’s unlikely to appeal to a prospective employer flicking through a pile of resumes.

Outdated qualifications

Should you include your high school on your resume? Only include your high school if: you haven’t finished it yet, you are in college, or if your high school diploma is your highest educational achievement. Writing a student resume needs a different approach.

If you have completed college or have higher qualifications, eliminate your high school information from your resume.

Why you left past jobs

This information does not show why you are suited for a position. If an employer wants to know they can ask you in the interview. If you start giving reasons on your resume it will sound like you are making excuses. This is exactly what not to do on a resume.

The truth is, you don’t need to justify career moves on your resume. Knowing how to write a resume is essential to showing that you’re a strong candidate.