10 Things to Quit Putting on Your Resume

An 'ability to smell fear' is a quality I've never seen listed on a resume before.
cartoonist: Dave Carpenter

This guest post was written by my long term friend, who happens to be an Executive Recruiter, Andrea Venezio. I asked Andrea to write these pointers because I’ve seen her first hand with resumes and she pointed out some things I had no idea that recruiters hated. So without further adieu… directly from a recruiter here are 10 things you should take out of your resume RIGHT now.

1. References Upon Request:

“References Upon Request,” at the bottom of a resume is completely unnecessary! I get that you want to be as upfront and honest with your prospective employer, but that is an understood statement and it is not necessary to write on the bottom.

2. Hobbies or Community Activities:

Please, for the love of all people, quit putting things on your resume that could discredit you before you get the chance to interview. If you like to fish, don’t put it on your resume! You have no way of knowing if the hiring authority you are sending this to is the state PETA president. Putting hobbies or community activities on your resume could get you thrown to the “No” pile, before you get your foot in the door. Stick with business and leave any personal information!

3. The dreaded “Summary” or “Objective”:

It’s like Nancy Reagan said…JUST SAY NO! I understand you want to give a “summary” or “objective” of what you’re looking for, but unless it is imperative or extremely well written, it is unlikely an overwhelmed HR person or an executive recruiter, like myself will actually read it.


All resume headings should be in capital letters and be underlined. When listing your work history it should say “Professional Experience,” not recent experience or work history. This creates a more tactful way of listing your months and years you were employed for each company.

5. Be wise with Education:

Unless you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, move your education to the bottom. If you have NO education, DO NOT put education or some education. Leave the entire section out. If you have certifications put that as your header, not education, and keep it on the bottom of the resume, AFTER your professional experience.

6. Your College:

Employers don’t want to know the college, before the degree. Quit putting the college on top! The most common mistake I see on a resume is bolding the College, instead of the degree. For example if you have an MBA – bold that, on a separate line (preferably beneath the bolded degree) list your college.

7. Education from 1978?:

Why on earth are you going to put the degree you obtained 20 years ago before the degree you obtained 2 years ago. I don’t want to know that you graduated in 1978 with an Associates degree if you have graduated with another degree in 2004. Always put your most recent degree on top. Employers want to see that you have continued education, if applicable. If you have an MBA and graduated in 2004 it should like this:

  • Masters in Business Administration, 2004
  • Bachelor in Business, 2000

8. The 1 Page Resume Restriction:

Oh dear…why? Unless you have worked at only one place throughout your career, the old adage that your resume should fit on one page is NOT accurate. And please for the love of all things, anything under 11 font is ridiculous! I don’t want to have to use a magnifying glass to read what you have written. Think easy to scan, quick to obtain the information, and easy enough to read to GET YOU AN INTERVIEW.

9. Your Name and Address:

Your name should be in a larger font than the address, email address, and contact phone. It should stand out and grab the attention of the hiring authority. On that note, if you have an MBA, your resume should read like this:

John Smith, MBA
Your address here
City, ST Zip

10. Spelling or Grammatical Errors:

The goal of sending the resume to a hiring authority is to get an interview. Make sure it is easy to read, there are no spelling errors, or grammatical errors. This is the door that needs to be open to get the job of your dream. Make sure it is the best representation of what you can bring to a new company!

15 thoughts on “10 Things to Quit Putting on Your Resume

  1. I’m not, nor will I ever read over 1 page and most of the colleagues I’ve worked with feel the same way. Brevity is key in business, and I want someone that can extract the most important things that are applicable to the position in which they’re applying. You can tell me the rest in an interview if you feel compelled.

  2. I agree with leaving hobbies off, but heartily disagree that you should forgo your community activities. Seeing community/volunteer work on a resume can demonstrate a persons values, work ethic and philanthropic spirit. It shows potential employers that you are well rounded and many times the experiences gained through these positions can be an asset in the workplace. I’d think twice before taking these off my resume!

  3. “Underlined”?!

    The rule of thumb I’m familiar with (and, yes, I have worked as a recruiter) is that underlining is obsolete. It looks terrible if viewed on a screen.

  4. I agree with Kendall – but depending on where you are in your career you may want to include your hobbies too. When I see resumes that come from recent grads, there’s very little to differentiate them from one another. Sometimes all you’ve got are your hobbies to paint you as unique.

    For example, I was hiring a business analyst. One of the candidates was an accomplished artist – with a link on her resume to her paintings for sale. That got her an interview!

    Personally, I think a resume should be used to say who you are, not what you’ve done. I think those can be two entirely different things. Make me think you are an interesting person.

  5. As I wrote in a previous post, strict resume formatting rules seems utterly circumstantial to the point of irrelevance. I am 30 years old and have never needed a resume till now. On that thought, regarding the equal and opposing opinions on the ‘rules’ remain to be thus.

    How many recruiters all gather together in a secret little room to disguss the day’s resume formats ? Im guessing none do, and if you ask random recruiters about what resumes they like, its going to be answer governed by bias and opinion.

    Just cause someone’s a recruiter, doesn’t meant theyre a benevolent deity of some kind. More than likley they have idiosyncrecies as to your own, maybe more It is time to rewrite your resume and make it YOURS , methinks.

  6. As we always tell the good points which should be there in resume.But you have mentioned what not to be in resume..what we ignore….sometimes when some body mention hobbies,HR starts asking related to hobbies only and get selected….

  7. As someone who used to have to read resumes – summary or objective statement is very necessary. I wanted to know what job that person was looking for- right way. But Make it short and to the point. Don’t make me guess what job you want. Tell me and your resume will let me know if you have a skill set that applies.

  8. Please tell me I’m not the only one who noticed the two glaring spelling and grammatical errors at the end of the article…

    “You address here”

    And the amazingly ironic heading “Spelling or Grammatical Erros”

    I don’t disagree with the article (much), but it seems a bit ironic to tell people to be cognizant of spelling and grammar while making multiple such errors.

  9. John, you are actually the first to point out these errors. This guest post was submitted a while ago but I can certainly correct those oversights. Thanks for noticing.

  10. An MBA degree is an effectual tool which helps you in developing business knowledge, gives you a competitive advantage, helps in developing overall personality, and also helps in enjoying enhanced job security.

    <a href=”http://gmat-scope.blogspot.com/2011/06/analysis-of-issue.html”>GMAT Analysis</a>

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