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What to Leave Off Your Resume

What to Leave Off Your Resume

The information you choose to include in your resume is important, but almost equally important is what you choose to leave off your resume. Irrelevant information or sharing too much can have a negative consequence and may keep you from getting the job.

Here are a seven things to consider when completing your resume.

Personal Information

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information which recognizes an individual and might be used to claim your identity for nefarious purposes. Resumes do not need information which might allow someone to falsely claim your identity such as date of birth, place of birth or social security number. Resumes also do need to show any information related to your health status, place of residence or your marital status. Also avoid including any religious affiliations, age identifiers and nationality.

Embellishments & Lies

We all like to embellish our skills and experience but don’t take it too far. These things can be verified. Networking is easier than ever through social media platforms like LinkedIn, so it’s completely likely a manager may be connected to one of your previous employers. Don’t make up job titles, education or training. Hiring managers will quickly know if you were an Assistant Manager at Toys R’ Us. 

Skills You Lack

While you don’t want to lie on your resume, you also don’t want to call attention to the skills you lack. Although a job announcement may ask for certain skillset or abilities, many times they are not requirements. Often, employers want to train you to suit the job, so showing the type of employee they can expect to see through your other valuable abilities, might be enough to get you to the next phase of the hiring process.

Staying Positive

If you have ever experienced a negative work environment, it may be tempting to express your displeasure when you list the employer on your resume. Avoid using negative language to disparage the employer or a previous supervisor. You are also not expected to describe why you left a previous position, so it’s best to omit the subject from your resume.
Just as you wouldn’t list the skills or education you lack; you should also avoid using language negative in tone. Your resume is a tool to highlight you and your experience, using a positive tone keeps the hiring manager engaged.

Personal Pictures

Unless you are sending in a headshot for specific industry, then it’s best to not treat your resume like a social media profile. Employers are not interested in your image. What you look like isn’t a consideration in the hiring process and only opens the employer up to unnecessary litigation, in a worst case scenario.


Money is already a hot button issue, a best practice for resume writing is to avoid listing any details related to previous income or desired wage. While it certainly matters, it will come up if you are hired but your resume is no place for it. You may be passed over if your expectations are too high.


We all want to showcase our talents and abilities on our resume to stand out from the rest but do this very delicately in the construction of your resume. Avoid using more than one font or too many font sizes. If the hiring manager is struggling to read your resume, it will quickly be removed from consideration.

Colors are not necessary for most resumes. Some job seekers in creative fields may have a bit more liberty with this, but for most resumes stick with basic black text.

Use shorter descriptions for describing your employment history. Eliminate any large bodies of text in the resume by breaking down your paragraphs into shorter bullet points. Avoid multiple page resumes, when possible. Many hiring professionals would agree a two-page resume is applicable for experienced candidates.

Keep your resume professional, neat and easy to read. Avoid using cliches, buzzwords or office-speak as they have become triggers and viewed as non-essential resume fillers. Be more specific about your accomplishments rather than just stating you’re a “go-getter” or “self-starter”.

A Blink of an Eye

You only have moments to engage the reader of your resume, so be concise and pertinent with the information you include. Only include information necessary to show your professional experience, while highlighting how you can meet the requirements of the advertised position. Adding information that is too personal, anecdotal or irrelevant may lead to negative consequences in your hiring pursuit.