A Bad Resume

As I move up in my career I find myself increasingly on the side of reviewing resumes. There are so many articles out there all proclaiming to know what makes the best resume and it can be very confusing. While I can’t speak for every employer, I have had the opportunity to review resumes in two different industries, so I have an idea of things that are totally killing resumes.

The above image is a resume that I mocked up with a few of the resume killers I’ve seen.

1. A PHOTO OF YOURSELF

There are very few instances in which the way you look is necessary for the job. You want to be judged off the strength of your job experiences not the way you look. It sucks to say, but I’ve definitely seen someone not advance in the job process because of the way they looked and their look had absolutely nothing to do with the job. Give yourself the best chance possible, by removing it.

2. MULTIPLE PAGES OF YOUR RESUME

When I receive resumes I usually have only a few minutes to review them. Unless you’re a very seasoned professional there’s no need to have a multi-page resume. Feeling like you’re short on space? Only include the jobs that are relevant to the position you’re applying for, reduce the font if needed, and eliminate unnecessary information to create more space.

3. YOUR ADDRESS

Very early in my career I used to put my address on my resume. Then during a job interview the interviewer saw my address and said he had concerns about how far my drive would be to the office each day. That was totally not his call to make, but it eliminated me from the position immediately. If I wanted to drive 45 minutes into work each day that was my decision to make. So now as a rule of thumb, I never include my address.

4. GRADUATION DATE

This one is a little tricky. If you’re a recent graduate including your graduation date will help explain your possible limited work experience. On the other hand, if you’re not a recent graduate including your graduation date can open you up to age discrimination. Not sure which choice is best for you? I say just remove it.

5. REFERENCES

Your resume is a space to introduce yourself. Don’t waste that time introducing other people that won’t matter if you don’t make it to the interview. If your employer needs references they will likely ask for them at a later phase in the interview process.

6. OBJECTIVE STATEMENT

While it isn’t a resume killer, the objective statement is such a major waste of space! On some level we all share the same objective: get a job, do well at that job and make money. No matter how you spin it, majority objective statements read the same. Unless this is something required of your industry, you are safe to remove the objective statement. It will not be missed.

7. HIGH SCHOOL & SHORT LIVED JOBS

If you’re just starting out in your career then it is totally okay to list your high school jobs or internships. However, once you’ve gained some experience and have a few jobs under your belt, it’s okay to remove your high school jobs. 

Same goes for short lived jobs. It makes you look unreliable and lacking an ability to stay at a job for long.

8. REALLY OBVIOUS SKILLS

Listing obvious skills aren’t a resume killer, but it’s a missed opportunity to stand out. If you’re a designer it’s assumed that you would know how to use Adobe InDesign. If your job requires admin work, it’s assumed that you know how to use Microsoft Word. However, if you’re a designer that also knows how to use Final Cut Pro or an admin that’s also proficient in KeyNote, that would give you an edge. When I finally got my first “real job” I was told that one of things that edged me out over the competition was that I had skills not related to the job. Never underestimate the power of this section on your resume.

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