Never Include These Ten Things on Your Resume

John Krautzel
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Your resume must instantly make an impression on busy hiring managers, so it's important to maximize its impact. While thinking about what information you should include, give equal attention to information you should omit. Certain content might be unnecessary, redundant or inappropriate. Consider omitting the following 10 items from your resume.

1. Sensitive Personal Information

Leave out any information someone could use to steal your identity, such as your social security number, driver's license information or state ID number.

2. Your Address

Don't give the hiring manager a reason to deny you based on where you live. For example, he may decide your commute will be too long. The only contact information your resume needs is your email address and phone number.

3. Objective Statement

Objective statements are unnecessary and considered outdated by many hiring managers. For greater impact, replace your objective statement with a brief career summary that highlights your most relevant job experiences.

4. Discriminatory Information

Refrain from sharing details that could be used to discriminate against you. That includes your age, weight, race, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation.

5. Past or Present Salary

Some employers may ask about your current salary, but what they really want to know is if they can afford you. Instead of sharing your actual salary information, give employers a target range, and never list it in your resume. Salary discussions usually take place during the final stages of the hiring process.

6. GPA

Unless you just graduated from school within the last few months or have very little experience beyond your education, employers aren't really concerned about your GPA.

7. Photograph

Keep professional headshots off your resume. The only time a photograph is appropriate is when the job requires you to have a certain look, such as acting or modeling jobs.

8. Cliché Words or Phrases

Don't waste valuable resume space with empty buzzwords and phrases like "team-player," "detail-oriented" or "results-focused." Instead, show and prove your value by listing your actual accomplishments. Where possible, back up your claims with hard data, such as sales figures or statistics.

9. References

Don't list the names or contact information of your references on your resume. Managers generally request this information during the later stages of the hiring process.

10. Graphics

Unless you're a graphic designer, keep your resume free of fancy fonts, tables or images, which can be distracting to employers. Keep your resume sleek and concise.

The information you leave out of your resume is just as important as the information it contains. You want employers to see your skills, qualifications and achievements, so omit filler and distracting details. A simple, compelling resume that includes only the most relevant information is more likely to grab a recruiter's attention.

Photo courtesy of Goldy at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @mike c - wow! Thanks for that. @Kelly Clarke - never give you social security number or driver's license number unless you are sitting in HR of the company who is hiring you! We say this all of the time - never give them that information on a job application. If they press for it, leave and report them - just like Mike did. Always be caution about giving away your information. They don't need it to make a hiring decision. And do not put your address on your resume! Name, Email Address and Phone number is all that is needed. And just as a PS here - be cautious of putting references on your resume! You could cause many issues for those who were kind enough to agree to be a reference. References can come later. After all, why would they need your references before you even interviewed? Common sense should always prevail.

  • mike c.
    mike c.

    As a note to Kelly Clarke, there are a lot of third party recruiters who moonlight as identity thieves. Don't make it easy for them. I have had three unsuccessful attempts of recruiters trying to steal my identity. Fortunately, my own computer skills helped to track down the perps (this and other skills that I have has gotten me some part-time work with my local police department). Six of the seven persons involved are now serving prison time. The seventh has been recently paroled and now faces life as a convicted felon. I have also "hosted" an unsuccessful home invasion in west Texas involving four Mexicans with AK-47s. As a side note, I am also a retired US Army Special Forces trooper with four tours of combat duty. A copy of my resume (with my address and a local recruiter's "tramp stamp" on it) was found in the leader's back pocket afterwards. The recruiter in question had skipped town just before the incident and I supplied computer expertise that located him through the use of stolen credit card accounts. His body was found with a round in his head, stuffed in an irrigation pipe near Del Rio, TX about 200 miles away.

  • Kelly Clarke
    Kelly Clarke

    As a job seeker, I am seeing a ton of third-party recruiters who want my SSN and a copy of my DL before they'll submit my resume for consideration. Not happening.

  • Faye V.
    Faye V.

    Thank you for all the valuable information.

  • Melina M.
    Melina M.


  • Laura Stern
    Laura Stern

    very valuable information. Thank you for sharing

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Alan A I did keep the dates on my resume - or at least on this copy of my resume. If I can get away with not including dates, I would do it. But you are right in that it's not that difficult for a company to figure out how old I am. The sad part is when you go to fill out an application and they ask for HS grad date and then give you a drop down to choose the grad year and - guess what? - it stops at 1980. Now that I consider as discrimination! As for your address - it's not needed. Just your name, email address and phone number(s) are all that are needed on your resume. Thanks again and all the best on your search.

  • Alan A.
    Alan A.

    @Nancy Anderson I saw you mentioned taking the dates off! Not sure about that, thought it might raise more questions. I saw your resume page, it has a very creative timeline. 20 years in the military is a good thing, but I can see the even you still have dates. I cant imagine getting rid of those!

  • Alan A.
    Alan A.

    I just took my address off the footer, it was there with my phone number and email. As I live just over the border, north of Boston, if someone sees NH they might just discard it right away. Good advice.


    I've had recruiters tell me to add an objective statement to my resume before. From my experience, it seems different hiring managers look for different things, and you can't always please everyone.

  • guilene e.
    guilene e.

    I didn't know! I suppose what you don't know can truly hurt you. Thank you for the Tips.

  • William C.
    William C.

    very good info

  • Muhammad Zafar Q.
    Muhammad Zafar Q.

    very nice discussion, points well taken

  • Melissa J.
    Melissa J.

    That's a good point, leaving out identifying information is smart. You can't predict who will have access to your resume once you send it to a potential employer.

  • Savita M.
    Savita M.

    Normally most resumes are up-loaded to a site where you have to fill out the company's internal form and you have to enter salary and other information, even if it is not on your resume. The potential has a view of all of the information.

  • Mirza Ahmed
    Mirza Ahmed

    I'd add interests or hobbies.


    great information

  • jacqueline m.
    jacqueline m.

    Thank you Nancy, you made some really good points that I was not actually doing. Personally, I thought it was my age. I will take in consideration the things you said (remove dates, seek a recruiter, give temp and 1099 agencies a chance, ask follow up questions etc.). Much appreciated!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jacqueline M thanks for your comment. First of all, try to modify your resume to only include the last 10 years of pertinent work history. Take the dates off of everything possible. As I indicated to @James A a few days ago, try finding a recruiter who specializes in your industry. Have you tried going through some temp agencies? That's a great way to get a peak into a company and find out if you would want to work for them going forward. Don't discount contracting positions, either. Although most of them are 1099's with no benefits, the pay is usually better than a temp or permanent hire. You just have to make sure that you save up because you will be responsible for your own taxes. Work from home would be fine if you could find one that will pay enough to live on. And please note that working from home is a different way of life and not everyone is suited for it. When you find yourself talking to yourself and answering, too - well, then you might want to reconsider and get back into a company setting. I also have to wonder - maybe it's something in the interview? You are getting called for interviews so they know your approximate age even before they call you for the interview. Are you asking questions at the end? Ask what the next steps are? Ask when you can call? Ask if there will be a second interview? Are you sending a handwritten thank you note after the interview? It's a nice touch and could put you over the top. Keep us posted! All the best.

  • jacqueline m.
    jacqueline m.

    I have a work history of over 26 years. Although that would be considered a good thing in some areas, it has been a problem for me. At age 60, I am having the hardest time finding a job. I was laid off nearly a year ago but I've been fortunate enough to be called in for several job interviews. However, the results are always the same. The interviews have gone quite well. I leave them feeling confident until I get the call saying "sorry" or I don't hear back from them at all. I am in great shape and I look good. I am currently without an income. Perhaps I may do better in a work-from-home position. Is this something you can assist me with? I am not for sure what to look for so I would not know if it is a scam or not. Need something quick!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @James A. sorry that you are struggling. Have you considered going through a recruiter? Find one that's in your industry as they will be the most knowledgeable. Temp agencies are great, too. They allow a sort of audition for the position - to know if you like it and if they like you. Many temp positions have rolled right into permanent ones. @Sharon S thanks for your comment. I can't speak for all job sites but here at Beyond we request that you do not include address information as it's already included on your account so it's redundant. @Marilyn S you are going to need to sit down and figure out, to the best of your ability, the dates associated with your employment. Do you get a social security notice each year? It will help you out. Did you keep any paystubs? Something to help you. You can't do a resume without them. They don't have to be exact (although that would be better) but as close as you can. You could contact the companies that you worked for and ask them - sure. They should be able to give them to you. Moving forward, you may want to maintain a file with this information. You might also need the addresses of the places where you have lived as that might come up on the background check. You will need to have at least three references also. Gather all of this information and keep it all in one place - readily accessible. All the best.

  • Marilyn S
    Marilyn S

    I don't see any advice for my question, so I'm posting it here in hopes of getting help. I'm wanting to get back into the employment world and trying to create my resume, but I don't remember my employment dates? I know employers can pull them up, so we should be able to too, right? Please advice. Thank you.

  • Carole G.
    Carole G.

    Very good information- thank you.

  • Marion H.
    Marion H.

    I agree on all points. No employer needs to know your address until they are ready to present an offer. The only salary an employer needs to know is what the candidate is willing to work for and what they are prepared to pay. If a candidate declines salary disclosure, they could be "passed" on the position. Their call, but shouldn't be made to feel pressured. The candidate should be knowledgeable in what questions asked of them are appropriate..

  • Sharon S.
    Sharon S.

    I've been told pretty specifically to include an address-- or at least indicate where I live. They want to know who exactly is local as compared to someone on the other side of the country. It's not like you can tell from people's phone numbers any more-- I'm on the Pacific Northwest by my phone number is from northwestern Pennsylvania.

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