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Objective statements are unnecessary and considered outdated by many hiring managers.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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  • JAMES A.
    JAMES A.

    Some decent points here, but I have to say that none of the 10 things to look out for are on my resume and I've still had as much difficultly getting work as Kestrel had in the book Humans Need Three Hands. The bottom line is employers want you or they don't; even if you are a hard worker and a true altruist, it still seems to come down a lot more to who you know.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @Russel C in response to your comment, I would think that giving your current salary to a recruiter is fine. Just don't include it on your resume or cover letter unless asked specifically. Then you could offer a range without disclosing your current salary. A recruiter is different. Certainly I would let the recruiter know my salary so that he/she doesn't try to put me into a position where the salary is less than I am currently making. That recruiter is not a company and only gets paid (or gets commission) when they fill a position. They are essentially working for you. @Thelma N I have not heard of someone being denied a position because they look young! Age discrimination is age discrimination whether the discrimination is against older employees or younger ones.

  • Hector L.
    Hector L.

    In the real world you are just a squirl trying to get the nut, but thanks for the warning.


    very useful

  • rita g.
    rita g.


  • Jose L.
    Jose L.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Bill Casti
    Bill Casti

    The dates of employment on one's resume tell the tale of how old you may be, too, and there's no way to disguise that, so don't go back more than 10 years. And, be careful with other "long ago" dates.

  • Lequitta F.
    Lequitta F.

    Its so hard to prove discrimination eventhough you know that's exactly what is happening.

  • Russell C.
    Russell C.

    Whoever wrote this has never applied for a job (at least not in the state of Texas) within the last few years. It is now common practice for recruiters to ask for a candidate/applicant's current salary right up front. Sometimes it is even a required field on the online application form. I'm not saying it's right, but that's just how it is. It is ironic that the author cautions the reader against outdated resume practices when the author's own knowledge of the job market and common recruiting practices is outdated. This article is just click-bait.

  • Karen Smedley
    Karen Smedley

    Good info; makes sense. Keep it sleek and simple.

  • Thelma N.
    Thelma N.

    Can you be denied a position because you look too young? A friend of mine was told she could not be considered for a new position even though her credentials are better then the person who will get the new position.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Eric L thanks for your great comment. So sorry that you had to go through that. The unfortunate part is that you are right - they are going to find out what they need to now with a real quick search of your name. Now, let me say this - age and race are two definite no-no's. They are NOT allowed to ask either of those questions. If they do, move on. But you might want to consider reporting them to the local EEO as those questions are definitely illegal. As for what HR can tell a prospective employer is (1) yes that person works here and (2) they have worked here from this date to this date. Period. That is all. If they are giving away salary information, you can call them on it. Of course if you are going to battle with your current HR, you better step up your jobs search. Truly sad but you know they will find a way to let you go if you take them to task. @Javad T it's not really the recruiters per se but the applicant tracking software (ATS) that they use to screen through resumes. It used to be that a human would look at resumes but, that all changed during the Bush era when our country lost millions of jobs. As people started applying for positions, companies realized that they were getting thousands of resumes for one position. That's impossible for a human to handle so ATS become huge. Your resume goes through a software program that looks for certain things such as keywords from the job posting. If it doesn't have it, your resume will more than likely be put in a resume bank for about 6 months and then be discarded. So yes, keywords are king! @Leslie W. it is not legal for them to ask salary! In any state! So, do not give it to them. It truly is illegal for a former employer to divulge that information! It's tough out there and things change all of the time. But some things such as age, ethnicity and salary are illegal questions for any company to ask. Will they find out how old you are and what your race is? Sure, they can find it on social media if they wish to dig for it. Just make sure that your resume and cover letter tell the company who you are and how you can make them better. All the best.

  • Eric L.
    Eric L.

    A few of these things on the list I still agree with, but just the same, when you fill out an online application, they ask for things like salary history, GPA, age, and even race. So even if it's not included on your resume, it's not going to be a secret. A few years ago I applied for a Purchasing Manager position which I was passed over for because I wasn't the preferred candidate according to the EEO folks. What hurt the most was that the hiring manager said I easily bested everybody else in the interview. So my point is, even if you don't put race on your resume (and for the life of me I can't imagine why you would), your potential employer will find out from the application information, social media, or during the interview. So if the company has certain hiring goals to make, you might find yourself without an offer because your candidacy does not fit hiring goals, after all it happened to me, and I'm sure it's happened to others. All I can say is, if that's the case, you probably didn't want to be part of that organization in the first place because that same mentality will likely also apply to growth and promotions as well. Secondly, with regard to past salary, as has been mentioned before, the HR people will get that information anyway so it does no good to lie about it, in fact I would strongly advise against it. Lastly, the photo is tricky. Most people have them on some sort of social media. I personally don't have one on LinkedIn, nor do I have or participate in any other sort of social media, and I think that may be a strike against me - sort of a what's he hiding type of scenario, - so I have been considering adding one to my LinkedIn account, but I would never include it on a resume.

  • Cassiea T.
    Cassiea T.

    Thank you so much, this was very helpful!!!

  • Javad  T.
    Javad T.

    It was useful subject and I agree 100%, but sometimes recruiters pay attention to appearance of cv and consider some score for it, and I believe that some cv writer companies have directed to this way.

  • Leslie W.
    Leslie W.

    I've been denied state jobs in West Virginia because I didn't provide my salaries of previous jobs. Around here they are allowed to receive that information from my previous employer. That doesn't mean I will accept something that's a dollar more and be happy . It always depends on the job, location, cost of living if relocating, plus more. I ALWAYS review their health coverage costs. I do my research. Then, when they ask me what kind of pay i expect i respectfully tell them I'd rather they throw the ball first if they would like to offer me the job. if necessary we can reach an agreement we both think is fair if they want me.


    most companies ask for a cover letter; resume, reference letters and lots of document at first contact, which needs lot of time to upload the document and fill the forms online. Thank you for providing key points

  • Patricia C.
    Patricia C.

    Thank you

  • Raymond C.
    Raymond C.

    Asking your current salary will be a violation of state law in MA as of 2018.



  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Solari j thanks for your comment. So very true but today, most employers want a career summary instead of an objective statement. They want to know, quickly, what you are looking for. So yes, it's best to tell them upfront. In addition, most companies require a cover letter; great place to tell them why you sent your resume! Rule of thumb is that, unless they specifically say that they want a resume only, a cover letter should be provided. Takes all of the guess work out of it. Thanks again.

  • solari j.
    solari j.

    I think these are fine except for the Objective comment. Just because your most recent experience indicates a certain position, doesn't mean that you want to continue in that particular role. Neither hiring managers or staffing professionals should have to guess what a candidate is looking to do. Too many times, hiring managers or an owner of a small to medium size business accumulate stacks of responses to multiple openings. Without job objectives on resumes they would have to guess. How many do you think will go the extra mile and actually call the candidates in question to determine what job they are applying for? That takes too much effort and time, so those are put to the side or worse: in the round receptacle basket!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Bernice C thanks for your question. You can give the company your address any time they ask for it. You just don't need to include it on the top of the resume. More than likely you are living in the area where you are job seeking so why does everyone need to know your address - everyone that you submit your resume to that is. Personally I don't want to give my address out unless it's on the forms I need to fill out as a new hire or they need it to do a background check on me because they have made me a tentative offer. And remember, in today's world, companies only want a one-page resume. Adding your address takes up precious real estate!


    So now I know what is NOT a problem since I already don't include any of these 10

  • Lilia O.
    Lilia O.

    Interesting, thanks.

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