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5 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

5 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

Despite LinkedIn, Facebook and other new job hunting forums, at some point in the application process you’ll be asked for a resume or CV (Curriculum Vitae: a summary of your academic and professional history). A good resume can still help you get that all-important interview for an open position. There are many excellent Internet articles and even a For Dummies book on what to include on your resume. But sometimes less is more – and resume writing is no exception. So what should you cut from your first draft? Here are five suggestions for meaningful exclusions.

References Available on Request. Drop this archaic language! All hiring managers know you need solid references at some point in the job hunt. Have your list ready before they ask. Verify your contact information for each reference to be sure it’s up to date – and use that process to let each person know you want to use them as a reference.

Your Photo. The specter of a discrimination lawsuit looms large in the fears of every HR person. If they have a picture and choose not to hire you, it’s possible that you could come back and sue them. According to, “In most cases, they’ll throw your résumé away without looking at it, to avoid the issue altogether.”

Every Job You’ve Had Since You Were 16. This advice comes direct from the publication HR World. Evaluate every position you include in your resume by these two criteria: relevant and recent. If a job doesn’t qualify, leave it out.

Resume Clichés. warns against boring language in a resume. Phrases like “team player” and “detail-oriented” are no longer effective in selling yourself. Use a thesaurus if you need it – but better yet, really describe what makes you a team player or how you actually used your attention to detail to make a specific project successful.

Unprofessional email address. Id Interns helps students and recent graduates in the arts. They remind job and internship seekers that personalized handles like or will not impress a potential employer – and may give out information (like your age) that shouldn’t be included in a resume. Instead, they suggest a simple first name [dot] last name address for all job-related correspondence.

For ideas on what you should include in your resume, start with “The Most Important Part of a Resume” (Working Mother magazine) Search blogs for titles including “Is Your Resume Disposable?” and “Top Seven Reasons Your Resume Sucks.” And good luck to you! Editor’s Note: Are you a hiring manager with additional advice for job seekers? Send your tips or stories to newsletter editor Paula Damiano at

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  1. Never put LOL or :) in a resume, seriously!

  2. It’s interesting your point on photos. With the social media growth on finding work we need to have a professional photo for job searching via Twitter, Linkedin. Do you think this is a discrepancy? Should we have no photos anywhere? Seems like it should be OK to have a photo on a resume since it’s preferred online. Thoughts?

  3. Great post, I think any free email service looks bad personally. When you think about the cost of owning your own domain (, and having an email address at your domani name (, I would say that $30 a year is worth the personal branding and professionalism. I’ve been using an email address at my own domain name for years, and have always had positive responses, when applying to jobs.

  4. Nice article that depicts important exclusions for writing resumes.According to me you should include achievements in extra curricular activity section like “”secured first place in ..””. rather than including participation tags as “participated in..”.Using numbers in achievements acts as a add-on to your resume

  5. I think One should avoid numbers and symbols in e-mail address. An e-mail should consist of first name and last name.

  6. Excellent article with important reminders. Tina is right – get your name as an email address while you can!

  7. Good article with a lot of solid suggestions. Agree with Susan – follow up with an article on what you need to include in your resume.

  8. I’m glad you mentioned in this article about a professional email address. I tell people this all the time. Get or If its taken get something close. I own my name at both!! Plus I have my own name as a .com!!! Grab your name while you can.

    • Agreed, Tina. Although my son is only 8 years old, I checked the availability of (a tip I read in a parenting magazine). I discovered it was free and grabbed it for him. While he might not be applying for jobs anytime soon, he is using it to keep in touch with family.

  9. Great article. Be sure to follow the link to her tips about what you SHOULD include on your resume.

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