Resume Tips: What to Never Include on Your Resume

Resume Tips: What to Never Include on Your Resume

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During the job and internship application process, your resume is oftentimes the first and only impression a company will get of you. As a result, it’s important that your resume represents the best and most professional version of yourself possible. Many people submit their resumes without combing through and correcting mistakes, but every detail counts. With the huge volume of resumes and cover letters that recruiters have to sift through, even a small typo can give them reason enough to discard you completely, with the justification that you do not care about the job enough to take care when submitting an application. To help you smoothen out and perfect your application, we’ve compiled a list of no-nos to avoid that just might save your resume from ending up in the trash.


1. Irrelevant work experience

Everyone knows that one of the first things an employer looks for is previous experience. However, with that being said, previous experience is not always relevant experience. If you’re applying for a software engineering position, for example, no one’s really going to care about your pancake-flipping abilities. By putting “Head Pancake Baker” on your resume, you’re not only using up space that could be used to brag about your qualifications, but you’re also losing an opportunity for the recruiter to see something relevant and important in the few seconds that they scan your resume.

Think carefully about your prior work experience and if any aspect of that work pertains to the position or field you’re applying for. Since interns usually have limited job experience to begin with, it’s fine to put less relevant jobs down as long as you can explain how that experience prepared you in some way for the job at hand. For example, working a part time job in a local cafe or shop can show that you can balance your time effectively between work and study and deal with difficult customers.


2. Hobbies

It’s common for people to want employers to know about their fun, “non-work” side, so people often list their hobbies on their resume. However, just like irrelevant work experience, putting your hobbies down is a lost opportunity for something more applicable. While it is true that having interesting hobbies can help you stand out, when recruiters look at resumes, their main concern is finding the people who they think are a fit for the position. Hobbies and other interests can be saved for future conversations once you get past the initial resume evaluation. However, if you were part of a relevant society at university, or had a leadership position in your sports team for example, definitely include it as these are transferable skills and societies in particular demonstrate an interest in the wider industry you are applying to work in.


3. Personal information beyond contact info

The only personal information that you need on your resume is your phone number and email, and sometimes your address. Any other information about you will likely be disregarded by the recruiter, and certain pieces of information could even lead to accidental discrimination, which recruiters are keen to avoid. Again, recruiters are just looking for someone who can do the job. Unless some bit of personal information directly corresponds with one of their requirements, it’s just taking up unnecessary space.


4. Irrelevant URLs/usernames

Adding a link to your profiles on certain websites such as GitHub, Dribbble, or LinkedIn is a great idea to give recruiters a more in-depth look at you and your work. However, be wary when putting URLs/usernames to these sites on your resume. If they’re not regularly updated, or only contain a small amount of content, you can give recruiters the wrong impression of what you can do/have done. No LinkedIn page is far better than one that is bare, or even worse, one that doesn’t reflect what’s stated on your resume. Any link you provide should just cover some aspect of what’s written on your resume in greater detail.


5. Skill scales

Something that many people put on their resumes is skill scales. These often take the form of “4 filled in bubbles out of 5” or “7 out of 10 stars” for various skills. While they may seem like a good measure of gauging how proficient you are at something, the scales don’t really tell the recruiter much. After all, what does “4 out of 5 in HTML” really mean? Instead of rating your skills on an arbitrary scale, tell the recruiters about what you can do via projects you’re working on or classes you’ve taken. This gives them a much better idea of what you are able to do with your skillset.

At the end of the day, your resume is a piece of paper that’s supposed to convince someone in a few seconds that you’re a worthy candidate for some position they’re offering. Being as clear and concise as possible, while keeping everything relevant, is a surefire way to convey your best self to the recruiter when they look over your application. If you’re still looking at an empty page wondering how to begin creating your resume, find out how to write the perfect CV from scratch.

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