This is a guest post by Michael Gilmore.
The important thing when applying for a new job is having an incredible resume that will capture the attention of the recruiters. Easier said than done, because writing a killer resume is anything but easy. Keeping it short and to the point, while at the same time including all the relevant information a recruiter can use, and being unique on top of it all seems like an impossible feat.
It is the last bit that is usually the most problematic. In an attempt to stand out, candidates will overdo it and include stuff on their resumes that should never be there in the first place, thus doing more harm than good. So, instead of discussing what to put in your resume, we are going to share our list of 7 items you should never include in it, even though it might seem like a good idea. Check it out.
1. Including Irrelevant Work Experience
Although you might assume that including your entire work history would be a plus, it is not exactly the best approach. Recruiters will only be looking at parts of your work history which are relevant to the job you are applying for, so even though including all of the places you’ve previously worked is not exactly a mistake, it is redundant. Since there is only so much information you can include in your resume, it is better to list something else that might benefit your chances of getting hired, instead of listing a very odd job position you held outside your current industry.
Peter Atkins, professional resume writer for Resumesplanet, shares some advice on how to write a resume:
“Because resumes need to be short, you should always narrow down the amount of information and include only the most important bits, which are relevant and useful for the job opening you are applying for.”
2. Sharing Non-Relevant Social Media Activity
If your resume happens to capture the attention of the recruiters, they will also take the time to locate you online, and check out your social media activity in order to find out more about you. You can beat them to the punch by including your social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or even Instagram, in your resume.
But, be careful and include only those profiles which feature something that the recruiter might find useful for the company, should they hire you. So, if your Facebook or Twitter feed is nothing but sharing cat videos with your friends, it would be best to omit them. However, if your social media accounts contain useful advice regarding your industry, or link to your blog or a website with expert articles written by you, then you’re going to want to let recruiters know about it.
According to Miles Anthony Smith, author and digital marketer, “finding a job that is a good fit is as much about you selecting the right company as it is about them selecting the right candidate.” (Becoming Generation Flux: Why Traditional Career Planning Is Dead: How to Be Agile, Adapt to Ambiguity, and Develop Resilience).
Use your social media activity to convince them you are the right person for the job. Your resume alone is far too short for that.
3. Including an Inappropriate Email Address
You should always leave the option for the recruiter to contact you if they are interested, and that usually involves listing your phone number, as well as your email address. It’s the obvious thing to do. But, have you ever taken the time to look at your email address? While it may be perfectly fine to use something like firstname.lastname@example.org with your friends, the email you include in your resume should sound more professional. Focus on including your name, initials, your city, or any combination of the three to come up with a new, more professional-sounding email address.
While you will find plenty of advice on resume writing which includes inserting certain buzzwords, it is best to ignore it. Why? Since everybody is using buzzwords, they no longer have the same effect they once had, which means they are nothing more than filler.
Words like “motivated”, “team-oriented”, “driven”, or “thinking outside the box” are incredibly vague and tell the recruiter nothing. On the other hand, they like to see words like “managed”, “created”, “won”, “launched”, which are usually followed by some sort of accomplishment or quantifiable result. Those tell a lot more about your skills and experience than any number of empty buzzwords.
5. Your Hobbies
Hobbies are something which might be a good topic if you are out on a date, but they should not be found on your resume. Recruiters are there to pick the person that will benefit their company the most, and will be looking at your professional qualifications and experience, not your personal life. The only exception would be if your hobby is closely connected to your actual job. For instance, if you are a developer, and develop your own apps in free time, or run a blog about coding, then you may want to include those.
6. Using Colorful Fonts and Graphics
There are things you can do to separate yourself from dozens of other candidates, some of which are even discussed here, but sadly, using colorful and wild fonts, clip art, and graphics are not the way to go. Not only is it distracting, but it also looks unprofessional, as if you are not taking the job very seriously right off the bat. Some companies might be a little more unorthodox, and will enjoy a different resume, which is why you should always do some research on them first.
7. Your GPA
Sorry to say this, but your GPA doesn’t hold the same weight in the real world as it does in academic circles. You can make an exception, if your GPA is 3.8 or better. But even then, only include it if you are a recent graduate. If you have graduated years ago, or with a lower GPA than 3.8, it’s better to forget about it and include some other piece of information.
While some of these tips may seem counterintuitive, you should always put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. They have the company’s best interest in mind, and once you figure that out, choosing what to include or ditch in your resume is a walk in the park. Keep it concise, professional, show of your strongest suits, and you will be successful.