Preparing a résumé is a difficult task, as we all know. It takes time and patience to fit your whole professional history within a couple of pages. We often focus so much of our energy on what to include in our résumés, that we forget to stop and think about the information that we should never include. The following four items are at the top of the Résumé Don’ts list:
1. Don’t get personal. Your age, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, marital status, physical appearance, or your personal philosophies are not critical to your job performance, and therefore, should never be listed on your résumé. Your résumé is not a list of your hobbies or interests; it is a listing of your education, your qualifications, and your employment history. Stick to the information relevant to the job and your career objective.
2. Don’t list salary information or requirements on your résumé. Ever. If you are asked to provide salary requirements, do so in your cover letter. Even then, list a minimum you are willing to accept, and avoid using a salary range. Do your research and know what the acceptable salary is for the job of your interest. If possible, leave the salary conversation for the interview with your potential employer.
3. Avoid jargon as well as excessive use of “big words.” This is not about dumbing the résumé down; it really is about maximizing your chances. Gear your résumé toward recruiters rather than an immediate hiring manager, because the human resources associates are usually the first to scan your résumé. Showcase your knowledge of a particular field through your education and experience, and action words relevant to your career level. Jargon and fancy vocabulary are most likely to lose a reader’s interest.
4. Typos. Do I really need to say more? You need to proofread if you want to put your best foot forward. If your résumé contains grammar and spelling problems, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented. It can be hard to proof a document you have been working on closely as your eyes will see what they expect to see; use spell check (but beware, it will not catch everything), ask your friends for help, or meet with a career counselor. Do your best to present the most polished résumé to your potential employers.