Writing Your Resume – What NOT to Include!
By David Leach
I will always remember sitting in on a hiring interview and being invited to ask one question of the candidate. I was briefly shown the candidates resume, which rambled on about all sorts of personal issues including the fact that they didn’t smoke and that they enjoyed using Facebook. At the top of the opening page was a photograph of them next to a horse with a rosette in it’s bridle. My sole question was obvious: who taught you to write a resume?
Writing the perfect resume for yourself is difficult enough without including things that are going to alarm your potential employer. Considering that your resume will be scanned very quickly and will probably be one of many, there are five important things that should never be included, so that you get a chance at that all important first interview. Five items that head the ‘Don’t do this in your resume’ highlight reel.
1… I love to go horse riding and I am divorced, with a real interest in medieval thatching techniques. Incredibly interesting as that may be, resumes are not the place for anything personal (age,race,marital status etc) or anything to do with your hobbies and/or interests even if the job in question is for a medieval thatcher! Rule number one is not to get personal but present yourself as a professional, qualified to do the job being considered. Education, qualifications and employment history will point to your career objectives, not your personal life.
2…My life has been devoted to ergonometrical constructivism. Fantastic, whatever it is, but don’t use technical jargon that’s going to annoy the selection committee. What many applicants don’t understand is that many companies hire a screening company to sort the initial batch of resumes and that this selection has little connection with the actual job. They don’t know what your talking about and you are going to appear pompous at best, even though the career in question may include ergonometrically correct items being designed, for example. The recruiter may not be the actual personnel manager of the company hiring!
It’s always best not to use complex vocabulary in your resume and to use direct, action words that are relevant, unless you know for certain that a technologically savvy person is going to be reading it.
3…and you can see all about me on my Facebook page. How very modern and ‘cool’ but how very ‘Do Not Include At Any Cost”. Don’t include your personal websites, blog, facebook or twitter account because they almost always contain inappropriate material and also no-one is going to spend the time to look. Lay out the relevant information that constitutes your qualifications and do it in simple, direct terms that are easy to see at a glance. The only time a website link may be appropriate is if you are applying for a web development position or you have your resume set out, professionally, on line as well as on paper and it has extra materials such as reference letters for example.
4…and when I worked as a butchers boy I got $5 for the Saturday morning. (Actually I got 10 shillings but who cares…right!) Usually best not to include any references to salary, especially of previous jobs. The advertisement may ask for a desired salary in which case do your homework and see what is average for the position but usually this information should not be presented until the first interview. Past salary isn’t relevant, the new employer will be considering what you are going to cost him, today, and whether you will be a good investment for the firm.
5…I hav a PH.d in Engrish Litreture. Nice, shame we need someone who can speak, write and converse in English, correctly! Your Resume must be perfect. The English, the spelling, even the flow of thoughts must be nothing but perfect. Typing errors, or keyboarding errors if you like, are definitely out. First use spell-check on the computer than get someone or maybe two people who know, really know, to check your resume over. Get them to seriously pull it apart. You don’t need to know how good it is, just what needs to be fixed!
Your Resume is your foot in the door to a first interview. It could be the start of a life-long career. Put some time and effort into it. Avoid the pitfalls and if you have problems with English or this kind of writing, hire a professional, your career may depend on it!
About the Author: Dave LeAche is author of http://www.resumewritingexplained.net compiled to help you with all your resume writing needs. Articles, videos and viewer questions updated daily. Visit http://www.resumewritingexplained.net for help in writing your next resume.