Résumés

Résumés
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Résumés can be tricky things. You want to give a potential employer enough information to differentiate yourself from the competition, but you don't want to give too much information, lest you take yourself out of the running without even knowing it.

BusinessNewsDaily asked five career experts what you're better off leaving off your résumé.

Your marital status

Your marital status
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Roy Cohen, career coach and author, "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide"  (FT Press, 2010). 

  • No typos ... ever. If you're sloppy in what you send out from the start, the take-away for the reader is that you may be even more careless on the job.

  • Political affiliations. Never include them unless you're looking for a job that would benefit by disclosing this information and your level of participation.  If it's irrelevant for your target, it may bias the reader unfavorably. The same goes for religious interests, participation in special-interest groups (gay or lesbian, for example), and certain social or service organizations.

  • Your age.The résumé should convey your potential to add value. The number of years you've been working tells the reader nothing about how good you are.

  • Marital status. It has no bearing on your qualifications or potential to add value immediately. It also feels hokey.  In addition, by sharing this information, you open the door to lots of other questions that may border on illegal in making the decision about you as a candidate.

  • Reason for termination(s). Unless there's been a lot of movement or hopping on your résumé, there's no benefit to explaining the reason for a separation. Only do so if it enhances the story and provides critical information so as not to bias the reader against you (that is, due to no fault of your own, such as a downsizing, business elimination, a merger or closure).

  • Your pets

    Your pets
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    Eric Haener, a senior talent acquisition specialist, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies

  • No personal statistics such as height, weight and age.

  • No information about pets – even if they are unusual! 

  • No "unusual" nonprofessional personal hobbies.

  • No information about high school jobs once you have held a couple of professional positions.

  • Your photo

    Your photo
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    Andy Lester, blogger, author of "Land the Tech Job You Love."

  • A photo, unless you're applying for a position as a model or actor.

  • A list of references.You'll be asked for them at the right point in the process.  If you want the company to be impressed by whom you know or whom you've worked with, then put that in the cover letter.

  • "References available upon request." This is assumed. The reader will not think, "This guy has no references available, so toss his résumé."

  • An objective.  Objectives are summaries of what you want to get from the company. It doesn't make sense to start selling yourself by telling the reader what you hope to get out of him. Replace your objective with a three- to four-bullet summary of the rest of the résumé.

  • Salary information. Disclosing your salary history weakens your position when negotiating a salary.  It's also irrelevant on your résumé.

  • An unprofessional email address.  Email accounts are free from Gmail, so there's no reason to use your "cubs_fan_1969@hotmail.com" account for professional correspondence.

  • Meaningless self-assessments like "I'm a hard worker" or "I work well on a team." Everyone says those things, so they have no meaning. Instead, the bullets for each position on your résumé should give examples and evidence of these assertions.

  • Hobbies that don't relate to the job.Everyone likes to read and listen to music and spend time with their families.  The exception is if the hobby somehow ties to the job or company. If you play guitar and you're applying to be an accountant for Guitar Center's corporate office, then mention that you play, even though your job won't involve guitar-playing directly.

  • Your GPA

    Your GPA
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    Lorie Logan-Bennett, director, The Career Center, Towson University

  • The wrong contact information. The ultimate goal of the résumé is to get you the interview, and if your email address or phone number is incorrect, the employer won’t be able to extend the interview invitation.  Minor typos in this section of the résumé have major consequences.  

  • Irrelevant information. Don’t include information that your employer targets are uninterested in, like high school, the summer job you held 10 years ago, or the intro-level courses you had during your freshman year of college. 

  • Too much information. Most employers give résumésa passing glance. If they don’t like what they see during a quick once-over, it’s over.  

  • Information that will hurt you. Listing your 2.1 GPA isn’t going to help you. Same goes for listing all six of the jobs you've held over the last 12 months. (Who wants to hire someone with a two-month average tenure?) 

  • Meaningless words

    Meaningless words
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    Matt Bejin, global staffing director, Urban Science
     

  • Meaningless words. Do not say that you are "ethical," "a hard worker" or "energetic." These are things that others should be saying about you or that you can illustrate through examples during your interview.

  • An objective. Résumés are meant to describe work history, job progression and accomplishments.  The objective is clear: You’re looking for a job.

  • Limiting yourself to one page. If you need two or three pages to include everything, that’s okay.