What Not to Include on Your Resume in 2020
When looking for a new job, a strong resume may be the golden ticket that leads to your dream position. But it also has the power to rule you out immediately, even if you’re the best candidate.
In today’s tech-driven world, where many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes, it’s crucial to ensure yours is equipped to beat the bots before it even reaches human eyes, at which point you have approximately 7.4 seconds to make a lasting impression. For these reasons, it’s arguably more important now than ever to ensure that your resume contains vital information, minus the fluff.
It’s not always about what’s on your resume that can make the difference, but what you exclude from it. Here are five old-school resume-writing practices that are best left in the past (and off your resume).
If you don’t yet have a solid foundation for your resume, consider making use of one of our Resume Templates to get started. However, if you already have an existing version and you’ve listed references, WinterWyman recruiter Elizabeth Webster recommends removing them now.
“You don’t want to put someone’s personal information out there until it is requested by the employer, particularly when you are posting on job boards and you don’t know who is seeing your resume,” says Webster.
She also notes that if references are requested, it’s vital that you’ve received permission from the person in question before you forward on their details. She says, “You need to confirm with every potential reference that they are comfortable vouching for you before you put down their information anywhere when applying for jobs.”
Remove any superfluous, irrelevant or outdated information from your resume. One particularly unnecessary detail is your GPA, especially if you’ve been in the workplace for many years. Sara Ferraioli, another WinterWyman recruiter, notes, “[Your GPA is] generally irrelevant in the professional working world.”
Ferraioli adds that this exclusionary practice shouldn’t stop at your educational achievements; if you graduated some time ago, it should apply to school-based activities, clubs and summer jobs, too.
“If you have five or more years of experience after college, I would also eliminate things like summer jobs, internships and school clubs for the same reason,” Ferraioli advises. “The focus of your resume should be on professional work experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying for.”
In a similar vein, Ferraioli cautions job seekers about drawing attention to hobbies on a resume. “I have mixed feelings about listing personal interests,” she says. “Things like cooking, reading, yoga and spending time with family are pretty generic.”
She does, however, add a caveat: “If you’ve done something exceptional, like climb Mount Kilimanjaro, it may be worth putting this on your resume as it would certainly be a conversation starter.”
Spruced-up resumes with intricate graphics may be eye-catching, but they’re unlikely to do much in the way of landing you an interview. As Ruben Moreno, founding partner of Blue Rock Search told Fast Company, “Despite the recent fascination with the infographic format, they’re not received well.”
He adds that while elaborately designed resumes might work for certain creative fields, they typically don’t land for others, and set job seekers up for “the prospect of getting overlooked based upon resume formatting.”
“Designer” resumes confuse ATSs and could be seen as deceptive. Recruiters may also perceive the use of fancy formatting as an attempt to divert attention away from a lack of appropriate experience.
Your full street address
In an age when most correspondence takes place online, it’s no longer necessary to include your home address on your resume — some hiring managers might even consider it an archaic practice and a sign that you’ve fallen behind the times. Even more importantly, listing personal information like your address in a document that you’re submitting digitally could make you vulnerable to identity theft, which has potentially dire consequences.
If you’re concerned that leaving your address off your resume might hurt your chances of getting hired, it’s acceptable to include only your current city and state. If you choose to do so and you’re applying for positions outside of your area, remember to clearly state that you’re open to relocation so that you minimize the risk of being rejected due to proximity issues.