Unnecessary Work: 12 Things Your Resume Doesn’t Need
Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!
Today’s Question: What aspect of a resume do you find least useful? What would you prefer candidates do instead?
The answers below are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.
1. Too Much Focus on Design
A lot of people spend a good deal of time styling their resumes in various ways. These designs tend to take up a lot of space and, unless you are applying for a design position, have no benefit. Focus on proving your expertise by listing your skills and achievements and presenting them in a simple, easy-to-read format.
— Duran Inci, Optimum7
A lot of people today are adding photos of themselves to their resumes, but this isn’t needed. Of course it makes sense for certain industries, but for most it doesn’t. I’d rather focus on the skills of the applicant than what they look like.
— Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
3. A Focus on Activities Instead of Impact
People tend to overweigh the activities they have done in previous roles. It’s important to demonstrate the scope of your role, but what really matters is what you accomplished. As much as possible, bring metrics and results to your resume. “We grew X metric by 15 percent annually,” while short, is more meaningful than a list of the seven tasks you did while in that role. Focus on impact, not effort.
— Aaron Schwartz, Passport
4. Every Previous Job
It doesn’t matter where the candidate used to work. It only matters what skills they’ve mastered and what experience they’ve gained. I’m always looking for individual expertise and attitude above all, and I won’t reject a candidate just because they’ve changed several jobs over the past year. The world is changing, and we should get rid of the outdated corporate mentality.
— Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
5. Cookie-Cutter Formatting
In drafting resumes, job seekers often try to follow rules. They read some book or attend a seminar and try to make a perfect resume based on what they heard. As a hiring manager, as well as a CEO, I’m looking for genuine people who are a good fit for my team, people who have the skills and experience I need. Candidates should always make their skills and achievements clear. Let me see your personality.
— Joey Kercher, Air Fresh Marketing
6. Information About Your High School Days
Unless you’re a college student or just out of high school, I don’t need to see where you got your high school diploma. It doesn’t do anything for me, nor does it tell me about your level of expertise or experience in the industry. All it does is take up space.
— Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
The objective statement is one of the least necessary parts of a resume because it takes up valuable space. Employers already know your goal is to get a job. You can use the cover letter to expand on your career goals or just share those in an interview. Instead, use that space to share what you have accomplished quantitatively or qualitatively. That tells me whether I want to hire you or not.
— John Hall, Calendar.com
8. Irrelevant Information
I frequently get resumes that are loaded with really old and irrelevant information. If you are applying for a job at a startup, don’t include information from high school or your serving job from college — unless your target job is related to either of those things. A resume isn’t impressive if it’s filled with information that doesn’t elevate you. Keep everything relevant.
— Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution
9. Your Interests
Although it is nice to know more about potential candidates via an “interests” section on a resume, I am going to discover this information in an interview. Take that space on your resume or cover letter to show me more of why you are the best person for the job. Knowing that you can ride a unicycle will not set you apart from other candidates. Save it for the face-to-face meeting.
— Adrien Schmidt, Aristotle, by Bouquet.ai
People spend too much time describing themselves with as many buzzwords as possible. Instead, show your credentials and let them speak for you. A list of previous jobs that show the important skills you learned is the best information for a company looking to hire you. Hiring managers don’t care if you’re a “go-getter” or a “team player.” They want to know if you have the experience needed.
— Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
References are always a great thing, but they definitely don’t need to be on your resume. Instead, spend extra time polishing up the skills section because that’s what most employers look at these days.
— Jared Atchison, WPForms
12. Extremely Common Skills
Many candidates list skills that are vague or that almost everybody has, such as internet, social media, Word, or Excel. If you’re going to mention such skills, you need to be more specific (such as “managed Facebook page with 50,000 fans”). There’s also no need to mention skills that have no connection to the job you’re applying for.
— Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting