Never Include These Ten Things on Your Resume

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice


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Objective statements are unnecessary and considered outdated by many hiring managers.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 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • Elaina Hannaford
    Elaina Hannaford

    Thanks for clarifying what is outdated as for objective statement vs. career highlights. I was recently persuaded to change my resume with an objective statement. Now I'm definitely switching back to my new and updated career summary.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Lynnel W. thanks for your comments. It truly is frustrating when this happens. I did a little bit of research and found: https://www1.eeoc.gov//laws/practices/index.cfm?renderforprint=1 Check it out and see if it helps you. As for finding out more about the company - don't forget out using LinkedIn of even GlassDoor. You can find names as well as read what current and past employees have said about the company. If a company uses a recruiter, demand to know the company's name before proceeding. Nothing more frustrating than having to spend an hour on the phone with the recruiter only to be told, we will present you to the company and, if they are interested, then we will tell you who the company is. No thanks! I want to know everything that I can - upfront. Let us know if you take the company to task!!!

  • Lynnel W.
    Lynnel W.

    I applied to a position 1 week ago that DEMANDED my SSN! I could not move on. So I entered a fictitious SSN. Who can we alert? These companies do NOT have ANYONE to contact. Their HR personnel do not want to be contacted. Many use outside vendors to handle all HR; those companies go by a different name... You'd never know what they do nor who they are staffing for.

  • Lynnel W.
    Lynnel W.

    Until last year, I had not encountered the issue of Employer's websites who/which are DEMANDING an answer to: "Do you have a disability?" Further, those demanded to know which one(s). I have tested answering one way or the other on 3 or 4 websites, some don't allow me to move on. There was no "prefer not to answer" option. THIS question is illegal. Why are those companies allowed to get away with this?

  • Traci Zigan
    Traci Zigan

    Thanks, Nancy Anderson. I agree the insanity must stop. Employers think they are the best but in reality are far from it. Keywords in the ATS system are also a joke. Computers cannot read the context and many humans do not recognize that the dictionary contains thousands of words that have the same meaning. Cognitive bases exist in the hiring market whether realized or not. Equal Opportunity's in America is becoming a thing of the past whether it is age, race or some other bias if it doesn't fall in line with the silo's management and human resources resides in.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Traci Zigan thanks for your comment. When you are filling out an application and they ask for something like driver's license - back out and do not complete the application. I would try to find a number for HR and let them know that they can't ask questions like that. It is the same as identity theft. They don't need your address, either, unless you are going to receive an offer contingent on passing your background check. Take them to task. Use social media. This insanity has to stop somewhere! They do not need to know your driver's license number, your social security number, your home address, your bank account or anything else that is private like that. All they need from you is an email address, phone number and your resume. Also do not give them references until/unless asked for in order to protect the identity of your references.

  • Traci Zigan
    Traci Zigan

    GPA's are mandated on many applications by employers and so are Driver licensing numbers. Many make false assumptions as for the EEOC questions even though they say they don't but they do. I don't like giving out more information than is required and what many are asking is illegal. That is my business, not theirs. Addresses and phone numbers are also required They want everything whether it is legal or not! Not having the job title in one position doesn't mean you don't have the skills required but people are so obsessed over titles. Skills are transferable regardless of the industry but many do not have the critical thinking skills to realize that.

  • Carol T.
    Carol T.

    Very good information

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Heather S thanks for your comments. I do feel that you need to include a phone number as well as your email address on your resume. But I disagree about your physical address. You can give that to the recruiter when contacted. It shouldn't be of any concern. As long as the job seeker knows where the job is located, they can determine if it's a good fit and if they are wiling to make the drive. I have over 40 years of experience in the job world but my resume is only one-page long. It can be done. You don't need to include everything you did in those 15 years of government work - just what is relevant for the position for which you are applying. For instance, f I am submitting my resume for a business analyst position, why should they care that I worked in retail? Also, sadly, when you put "I refuse to answer", it usually sends up a red flag and your resume either goes into a resume bank or the round file. If you need accommodations, you should say so. It doesn't do any good to go through the hiring process only for them to say - oh sorry, we are not set up to accommodate you at this time. I agree about the race question, though. Who cares?!! I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

  • Heather S.
    Heather S.

    I also recommend that your resume be no more than three pages long. You do not need to add addresses of your former employers but you need to include your starting and end date. I have too much information and experience on my resume that NEED to be included to get a job-so having a resume be one page is not only not feasible for someone like me but it's mostly for millennials just graduating from college. I'm an older adult with 15 years of government experience that needs to be added. There is one thing I want to add: as far as disability is concerned, there is discrimination in regards to hiring. People do not want to hire someone that needs accommodations like me-who have a disability. The best thing I put on online employee applications is "I prefer not to answer". I also put "I prefer not to answer" on race as well. Why does it matter what race I am unless they are still practicing the outdated hiring of Affirmative Action? You want to be hired based on your experience and your know-how, not your race.

  • Heather S.
    Heather S.

    I really don't believe in a lot of what you're saying only because people want to know your place of residence and have a contact number. In cases, the hiring manager might not be the one interviewing you and could be someone else; people look at consistencies in both your resume and your experience through talking in an interview.

  • Julie Williams
    Julie Williams

    Whenever I have interviewed for jobs that are 50 + miles away, and if the question gets asked about the commute, I give them examples of commute time or miles from previous jobs where I have commuted long distances and have also brought up I enjoy road trips so long commutes do not bother me. (but none of these were the type that needed immediate response to a crisis, but the type where the employer says get here as soon as you can-even if it takes an hour)

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @John M thanks for your comment. Yes we do include a GPA option but I think that only recent grads would benefit from including that. Very seldom will you get as job posting that requests your GPA but it's nice to have the GPA option on your Beyond account should you need it.

  • John M.
    John M.

    I would not mind if I were weeded out for the commute. If the recruiter won't do it, I will. Also, BEYOND includes a GPA box in the Work History. Thanks, I just now deleted the information I had posted.

  • mary s.
    mary s.

    good information.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Emma A thanks for your comment. I believe what is meant is that, depending upon your job, of course, the hiring manager is thinking about those times when a crisis occurs and you are needed immediately - not in an hour. I have been on many projects where the system would go down and we would be called in to fix it. That's all. If you are in a job where the employer doesn't mind that it could take you an hour or so to get into work, then go for it. These are just general guidelines - not the exception like you. All the best on your job search Emma.

  • Emmanuelle  A.
    Emmanuelle A.

    I disagree with this article ! Just by filling the application, most of the information you refer to not provide are included. Now, what? If an employer decides to reject me for commute, race and other prejudicial criteria, that's his/ her loss. I used to commute 50 miles from my job and was late five minutes once because of a major accident on two freeways. Recruitment techniques for managers and recruiters need to be update.

  • Nadra H.
    Nadra H.

    While all of this information is valuable, you are still asked to provide a big chunk of it if you're doing an online application- who's to say you don't get weeded out at that point for some of the very reasons you listed? I purposely don't include my address for instance specifically because of commute reasons but if you do an application online or otherwise that's usually a mandatory piece of information.

  • LISA A.
    LISA A.

    thank you so much

  • Michelle W.
    Michelle W.

    Thank you so much for this helpful information!

  • Cornelius T.
    Cornelius T.

    I really appreciate this helpful information.

  • SEYMOUR H.
    SEYMOUR H.

    Thank you for this information.

  • cesar c.
    cesar c.

    THANK YOU IT IS A GRAT HELP ME TO FIX MY RESUME

  • 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.

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