A Quick Resume 'Don't' List
Updated: Oct 25
Resume Don’t List
Avoid the personal references. The only exception to this is if you have just finished high school and don’t have anyone else you can use. If you don’t fit this category and need to use personal references don’t list them on your resume. Use ‘references available on request only’ and then once you wow them at the interview you can explain why you only have personal references available. When I see personal references on a resume the first thing I think is ‘Why don’t you have a professional reference? Is there something wrong with the way you work”?
You don’t need to put the word ‘resume’ on your resume. The employer knows what the document is. Your name is fine. (Also you don’t need to use your middle name). Don’t add a date to your resume. It’s totally unnecessary. Avoid adding personal details like ‘married’ or ‘divorced’ on your resume. There is enough discrimination in the hiring process already without you giving them another reason. You may think that saying ‘married’ makes you sound mature or settled but the employer might be thinking it means you have commitments and won’t be able to travel. You don’t know their situation or thought process so ditch it. Avoid putting your date of birth or age on the resume and keep an eye out for statements such as 30+ years’ experience. Why it can work in your favour to show how much experience you have try not to go any higher than 10+ years or you risk getting discriminated against for your age. This is illegal but happens all the time. The only exception to this is if you are eligible for junior rates. In this case put your DOB on. It explains your lack of experience and lets the employer know you fit their financial criteria.
Avoiding personal details also covers religion and nationality. Avoid these ones like the plague. Don’t be modest. Often I see people avoid putting any emphasis on their achievements in the resume because they are worried they will look conceited or the employer’s expectations will be too high. On average you are looking at 150+ competitors so if you have done it, now is not the time to be shy. Don’t lie. On the odd occasion I have worked with clients that have requested I ‘make up something to make them look good’. I don’t do this for a number of reasons but the number one reason is that you will get caught out. All it takes is one reference check and you are screwed so don’t do it.
That said, not putting on things you don’t want the employer to know is fine. For example if you got fired from your last position you don’t have to say that on your resume. Wait until they ask and then explain the situation. Avoid making it too long. I once saw a 15 page resume for a retail assistant. Nobody is going to have the time to read it. In most industries 2-3 pages is fine. Seriously even the president of the USA should not have more than a 5 page resume. If he can’t get the fact that he ran an entire country across in 5 pages or less he is doing something wrong.
You don’t need to list all the jobs you have ever had. Three is a nice number although four is great if the job is relevant. The employer doesn’t need to know that you worked as a Crew Member at McDonald's 30 years ago. If it’s no longer relevant, ditch it.