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10 Things to Delete Off Your Resume

Is there information that must be included on your resume?  Yes.

Is there information that if included, will get your resume thrown in the garbage?  Yes.

Times change, and so have the styles, expectations, and required information (and not required information) needed on resumes.  Take a few minutes to read these 10 points, modify your resume, and let me know what you think!  Although not all of the items listed below will get your resume filed under “G” (for garbage), it is important to understand what topics may be keeping you from landing interviews and call-backs.


1.  Objective:  Please read this point closely, as I don’t recommend deleting the objective category completely.  Traditionally the objective goes something like this: “to obtain a rewarding career as a ______”.  Even though it is useful for recruiters to quickly recognize what position you are applying for; you’re selling yourself short by wasting your first impression of your resume with no information about you!  Instead, title the category “Summary” and write 1-3 sentences describing why you are the perfect candidate and make sure you mention the position you are applying for.

2.  Out-dated Work History:  If you worked somewhere over 10 years ago and it doesn’t relate to the job you’re applying for than don’t waste precious resume space with unrelated work history that doesn’t benefit the employer.  Other thoughts to consider regarding older work history is that your skills are possibly out-dated and older work history can give away your age.  Also, don’t feel the need to “pad” your resume with out-dated work history; instead focus your resume to recent projects, achievements, and skills that directly relate to your potential employer!

3.  Employment Gap Explanations:  For many reasons, detailed explanations of your gaps in employment should not be included on your resume.  Some of those reasons include: 1. You have limited space on your resume to include as much information to “sell” yourself as the best candidate, don’t waste space with irrelevant information.  2.  Rarely explanations are actually beneficial to the candidate.  3. By giving explanations you are drawing attention to the gaps.  Instead, focus your resume on the skills, experience, and training you have that actually applies to the job by using a “skills-based resume” (aka functional resume) vs an “employment-based resume” (aka chronological) – visit my other blog for details:

4. Hobbies:  I’ve mentioned this in a previous post ( and I’ll mention it again:  unless your hobbies directly relate to the job you are applying for, don’t include them.  One example where you would include them: If you regularly participate in marathon races and you are applying for a Personal Trainer position.

5.  References:  Although you most definitely will need a list of references, and keep them handy while you’re at it, your resume is not the ideal space to be listing them.  References should be listed on a separate sheet of paper, always be up-to-date, and the people listed on your reference document should be asked in advance before you use them as a reference.

6.  Pictures:  Unless you are an actor or model, do not include pictures.  Since there are many discrimination laws employers must follow; employers don’t want to risk hiring or not hiring an employee based on ethnicity, visible disability, or other discrimination factors.

7.  Physical Description:  Similar to photos, your potential employer does not want a description of your physical attributes; except for a few exceptions where they specifically apply to the demands of the job (eg. Actors, Bouncers, Prison Guards, etc).  Unless the employer has specifically asked for physical attribute that apply directly to the job you are applying for, don’t include them.

8.  Age:  Age discrimination can open employers up to lawsuits, so help avoid the issue by not stating your age on your resume and even leaving specific older dates off your resume.  Instead, focus your resume on your most up-to-date skills and experience with a Skills-Based resume (aka functional resume) (see previous blog topic and leave graduation dates off education you’ve received.

9.  Marital Status, Family Status, and Number of Children:  Again, employers can’t discriminate against employees who have or don’t have children, and who are or are not married.  But I get it, you want to boast of your top-notch household management abilities and perfectly behaved children because of your keen parenting skills; however, employers do not always see household management the same as employee management.  Employers may see a young married woman as someone who will be taking maternity leave soon, or someone with young kids as someone who will need lots of “sick time” to care for the children when they are ill.

10.  Political or Religious Affiliations:  This is a tough one.  Often candidates have gained excellent skills from being involved in religious organizations or political campaigning; however, employers need to be careful about discrimination and some employers may not see the organizations you are naming as positively as you do.  I tend to tell candidates to include the skills and experience, but be mindful of how much space it includes on your resume and to not keep referring back to it in the interview unless it comes up.


Do you have any other topics that shouldn’t be included on a resume?  Post them below!  Feel free to comment, share, or contact me privately with any questions!


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