Sending out your resume always involves playing a little game of psychological roulette with whoever is on the receiving end. "What can I do," I always ask myself, "to craft a document that will be so irresistible that the hiring manager will have no choice but to call me up, offer me the job on the spot, and then invite me to give a seminar on resume writing?" Do they give Congressional Gold Medals for amazing resumes? They certainly do in this particular fantasy of mine.

Here are five items that many people prominently feature on their resumes with the best of intentions. Sadly, the only job offers those resumes are yielding involve paving the road to hell. You know, with all those good intentions.

1. Unnecessarily big words.

This is the biggest culprit I've seen. After all, you want to appear smart, and what better way is there to look smart than to throw around your impressive vocabulary? Don't do it. It's awkward and clumsy. Worse, people actually misuse some of these spelling-bee words, which can look even worse. Let's look at my favorite example: utilize versus use. There's just never a good reason to write utilize that doesn't involve trying to impress someone. I don't think there's ever been a hiring manager who, upon seeing a resume, thought, "Man, I just love the way this guy utilizes the word utilize. That's classy. Make him an offer right away." Go with use. Simpler is always better.

2. Long-winded descriptions of past roles.

Your future employer will thank you for not listing every single exhaustive detail of your previous positions. Stick to the big tasks you owned that added value to your former companies. Quote numbers when you can in support of these major responsibilities. Quantifiable results are great to see. But above all else, brevity is best. It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that your previous jobs will look more important if there are more words on the page. It's the exact opposite--you'll run the risk of confusing your reader and making it look like you didn't understand your previous role well enough to be concise. Don't confuse your reader. You're going for a Congressional Gold Medal, remember?

3. An exhaustive list of every single job you've ever had.

More is better, right? Wrong. You want to truncate your resume down to the three most recent positions you've held that are relevant to the job you're currently applying for. Employers love to see a well-targeted resume, and they're not interested in the dramatic Masterpiece Theatre version of your career, especially if you've done a lot of jumping around between professions. Always keep the job you want in mind, and ask yourself how each item on your resume showcases your ability to do the hell out of that job.

4. Lists of skills in word processing or in tech applications that are widely used.

Microsoft Office may have looked impressive on a resume when most people were using typewriters or word processors, or etching cave paintings with primitive clay. These days you will be the butt of some recruiter's jokes if you try to sneak it in for the sake of boosting your "skills" section. Stick to skills that set you apart from the pack. Foreign languages. Programming languages.

5. Your hobbies or extracurriculars.

Hobbies on resumes are a lot like commas in written grammar; when in doubt, leave them out. A notable exception can be made for volunteer work, which actually can be good to include on your resume--especially if you've spent a long stretch of time unemployed. But if you're thinking of bragging on your stamp collection or softball team, sorry, but the answer is a hard "no."

To summarize: Keep it simple. Keep it relevant. Keep it current. Don't be pretentious. You've got this.