A resume may be the only opportunity you have for making a good first impression with a prospective employer, and getting your foot in the door for an interview. It is therefore worth your while to invest some time making it the best resume possible.
Beyond neat typing and printing on beautiful stationery, or in the case of submitting online, a clear and easy-to-read PDF, here is a list of 20 things you definitely need to omit from your resume for a better chance at scoring that interview.
1. Secondary skills
Emphasize, and place at the top of your resume, those skills that you actually want to continue developing in your next job. Dump the ones you don't want to do in your next job--or you just might get stuck doing them.
2. High school jobs
The only exception to this is if you only graduated from high school.
3. The unprofessional (silly) email account
If you're still using an old, seemed-appropriate-at-the-time email firstname.lastname@example.org's time to create a new, more professional one.
4. Misspelled words and poor grammar
Misspelled words and poor grammar are total job-possibility killers--proofread several times and have others proof for you. Practice makes perfect!
5. Superfluous things
Don't list hobbies on your resume--save these for interview conversation. And any awards you list should be from community service or previous work.
6. Old-school resume formatting
Find a new, exciting look that will catch the eye of a prospective employer (but not too crazy), and keep your font consistent throughout. This goes for LinkedIn, too--don't get too wild and crazy with your formatting. Be concise.
7. The "Objective" section
Instead of describing what you are searching for--the "Objective" section of a resume--tell the prospective employer how valuable you can be to their company in your professional summary.
8. Personal information
Don't include things like date of birth, ethnicity, religious affiliations (unless the job you're going for is somehow related), reasons for leaving your previous job, specific street addresses, or phone numbers of previous employers.
9. A photo
The only reason you should ever include a photo with a resume is if how you look really does matter and was requested by a prospective employer. The advice for LinkedIn is, of course, the exact opposite. Profiles with photos get more clicks, and more clicks get you seen more. Just make it professional and don't get all artsy--unless you're an artist.
10. Gaps in work experience (if you can)
In some cases you may have a gap of a few months or more between leaving a job and getting a new job. Consider filling this gap with volunteer work, or perhaps you helped someone with his or her business, which would be considered consulting.
11. Your home number (if you still have one)
Don't list your home number on your resume--always use a cell number. Employers want to know that you are reachable at any time, not just when you're at home.
This is considered filler for a resume. You will be asked for references if you make it to the next step in the interview process. However, on LinkedIn, try to collect as many recommendations as you can.
13. The second page
Provide the most-important information about you and your experience on one page--rarely is the second page even glanced at. On LinkedIn, try not to go on and on and on and on.
14. Beginning and end months
List the year you began and the year your position ended--exception being if a particular position began and ended within the same year.
15. The word "Resume"
Don't title your resume, "Resume." Ugh...
16. Paragraphed job descriptions
Use bullet points--but not so many that your reader becomes bleary-eyed. Prospective employers are much more likely to trash a resume with heavy content paragraphs versus a neat and clean bulleted resume.
17. Salary figures--past and future
If you document what you were making, you could be selling yourself short, and if you say how much you would like to make, you could be killing any chance of an interview.
18. Generic job titles
Recreate generic company-issued job titles so that your future employer has a better idea of what it was you actually did.
19. Duties and responsibilities
You want your prospective employer to see those things you can do better than anyone else, so refrain from a list of duties and responsibilities and instead focus on what you have done that makes you special. List challenges and how you overcame them. How did your company benefit or profit from your enthusiasm and creativity? What did you do to leave your company in a better place than when you started?
20. Age identifiers
Don't list those positions you had a long time ago, and leave off graduation dates. Age discrimination does exist, and you at least want to get your foot in the door for an interview so they can see how awesome you are at creating age-irrelevance.