How to Write a Resume
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Resume FAQ

Fourteen Details You Should Avoid Including on your Resume

Updated: July 2023

There are a few details that are not necessary to include on your resume, unless they promote your qualifications.

1)  The Reason You Left the Job

In most cases, including your reason for leaving a job is best saved for the interview, as explanations on paper often don’t provide a complete story.  However, there are times, such as a merger or acquisition, when you might add this information at the bottom of the work experience section for a specific job - only if it adds value to your career history.  Language such as: “Position eliminated due to acquisition of company”. At an interview, you will be able to offer a more detailed explanation concerning your departure from a specific job.

2)  References

It is not necessary to provide references on your resume, or even that you will supply references at a future time. It is understood that prior to an offer, references may be required, and you will have a few names to give them.  References cannot legally provide many details about your prior employment experience, and may only confirm the dates of your employment and whether you would be eligible for rehire.  Also, many companies independently perform thorough background checks to supplement your reference information.

3)  Certain Personal Information

The only personal information you should include in the Heading, is your phone number, email address, city and state, and Linkedin link.  For privacy issues, you should omit providing street address, and never include your social security number.  No other personal details are necessary, including photos, nationality, marital status, political/religious beliefs or age.

4)  High School - If You Graduated from Any Other Program

If you have a college degree or advanced certificate, you may eliminate the high school. It's assumed that you have obtained a GED or high school diploma in order to progress on to college coursework.

5)  Salary Information

Discussing salary during the job search is a complicated matter and is best handled during the interview process.  If the job posting asks you to provide an expected salary, avoid providing any dollar amounts. If possible, simply write "competitive" or "negotiable" instead of assigning a dollar figure.  It is best to determine the salary range of the job being considered before revealing your own financial requirements.

6)  Anything That Is False

Many candidates, in their desire to get a dream job, may exaggerate or embellish their resumes - often in the education or work history sections.  Your resume is your first introduction to the prospective employer, so it is important to be accurate and honest. Inconsistencies and any misrepresentation will likely be exposed and either eliminate your opportunity for the job, or cause you to be fired at a later date.

7)  Exact Dates

Generally you should list your work experience in reverse chronological order and add only months and years of your time on the job.  Employment dates expressed in years only is also acceptable and beneficial, if you have short gaps in employment, or if you were at a certain job for an extended period of time. 

8)  The Date You Prepared the Resume

Adding a date to your resume is not necessary.  You may want to personally keep track of your resume revisions and applications with dates; however, that information should not be included on the resume.

9)  Professional Jargon

Initially, your resume may be screened by someone who is not familiar with industry jargon.  You want to demonstrate your proficiency and technical expertise on the resume, without overusing language that is unfamiliar to the general reader. There may be some terms and phrases that are helpful and provide insight into your skill set. However, not knowing who will be reading your resume, you should use language that will be understood by anyone screening for the position.  If there are specific technical Keywords or jargon on the job posting, which match your unique skills, then adding them to the resume would be appropriate. 

10)  Fancy Paper

Most resumes and cover letters are transmitted digitally, and the hiring company will either review them online or make their own copies.  If you need to have a paper copy of the resume, always use high quality, letter-sized paper. Many stores sell resume paper.

11)  Photographs

Unless you are applying for a position that requires a portrait photo - usually in the entertainment or media business, it is strongly advised to omit including a photo.  Photos can influence a hiring manager’s decision-making and divert their attention from your important accomplishments.

12)  Availability

Do not include dates of availability on your resume.  It is better to discuss potential start dates during the interview process.

13)  Mandates or Demands

If you have specific requirements in order to accept a prospective job opportunity, it is best to address those issues in person, during the interview process or when receiving an offer.  You should not include your mandates or demands on your resume.  The resume is your marketing tool, which you are hoping will attract the attention of the hiring manager.  Certain expectations or requests should be saved for the negotiation process, once you are clear that you really want the job - and that they want to hire you.

14)  The Pronouns "I" or "Me"

It is preferable to avoid using language, such as, "I accomplished …"  Instead use, "Accomplished …" The reader knows that you are the subject of the resume.  Reducing your content to short phrases and bullets, and eliminating the personal pronouns will make it easier for the hiring manger to quickly scan your background information.