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5 Things You Should Never Include on a Resume

5 Things You Should Never Include on a Resume

By Theresa Neal

Oversharing is easy, but when it comes to resumes, the focus should always be on professional experience. The following are a few details that you should leave off your resume.

Religion

Unless you are applying to work at a religious organization, you should not include or allude to your religious beliefs on your resume. However, it may be appropriate to include work and volunteer experience that has ties to a faith-based organization. Still, it is important to think carefully about how you include that information. For example, if you took a mission trip to Guatemala to build a school, you could list this as a service project or cross-cultural experience, or you could list the project as a mission trip. Just remember that some organizations may be bound by their SOPs to automatically eliminate any resume that divulges religion for fear of a discrimination lawsuit.

Age

While more people are staying in the workforce longer (or re-entering it after retirement), professionals still need to be cautious when disclosing their age. Never list basic statistics of yourself, such as your birthday. Instead, focus on highlighting how many years of quality experience you can bring to the table. Typically, you should include no more than 10-15 years of experience on your resume. Anything more than that can date you. However, older experience that is especially relevant may be included. In some cases, you can also include older experience without dates.

Special Interests or Activities

An old resume trend was to include a concise list of activities or interests at the bottom of the document. The idea was that this helped candidates to stand out by highlighting their well-roundedness. However, many employers find this distracting, and in some cases, it has the potential to work against you if your hobby is perceived as too time-consuming. Your interest in horseback riding won’t get the attention of someone looking for a new accountant. If you want to stand out, try including professional organizations or clubs that compliment your experience. Of course, you can always list interests and activities that make you appear more well-rounded on LinkedIn, where it’s appropriate to get a little more personal.

Gap Explanations

You don’t have to explain everything you do. Some details, such as gaps in employment, are best explained during the job interview. Do not treat each gap like a job; instead, focus on highlighting the experience you do have. Worried about gaps? There are some savvy ways to minimize the appearance of gaps and job hopping. One of the benefits of working with a professional resume writing service is that we can help you minimize red flags, such as gaps in employment. If you would like to know more about how to reduce the emphasis on gaps in your experience, either contact us or book an appointment for a free initial consultation.

Unnecessary or Cliche Skills

It’s perfectly natural to want to showcase all of your skills on your resume. However, some skills have become so common that most employers will just expect you to be able to do them. Typing speeds, versions of Windows you can use, and Internet research, for example, are not needed on your resume. In most cases, these skills are implied. For example, if you already wrote that you can use Microsoft Office Suite, an employer can safely assume that you know how to open the programs on your computer and type.

Make every word count on your resume. If you aren’t sure if your skill sets you apart or a detail isn’t needed, ask an expert.