Avoid These 8 Resume Killers

By Chelsea Babin

Resumes are like opinions: everyone has one but some are more effective than others. When you set out to spruce up your existing resume or write a new one from scratch you’re taking on a daunting task, after all, it could make or break your chances of getting your dream job. If you want to make sure your resume is up to snuff avoid these 8 resume killers that either take up unnecessary space or simply make you look bad.

1 .“References Available On Request”: At this point it’s standard to have references available when you’re searching for a new job. This statement on a resume is, therefor, a redundancy that’s just making your resume longer and less polished than it could be. Ditch this phrase unless you like to be seen as one of those people who goes around stating the obvious like, “water is wet.”

2. The Run On or State the Obvious Objective: Because objectives are often listed towards the top of a resume, they can make or break your chances of being hired faster than any other aspect. There are two kinds of objectives that you want to avoid if you want your resume to stand a chance: the run on or the state the obvious. The run on objective is an unnecessarily lengthy explanation of who you are, why you want the job, what kind of talents you have, etc. etc. These tend to appear when you’re attempting to summarize your resume rather than simply stating your objective. The state the obvious objective, which is equally as dangerous, reads along the lines of, “Objective: to get a job.” Yes, thank you, before I thought you were just sending a resume out to have a laugh. Excessive detail or a complete lack of detail in your objective may get your resume cut from consideration so it’s best to edit this section mindfully.

3. Personal Details: You’re allowed to voluntarily disclose whatever personal information you’d like, but, keep in mind, employers aren’t looking for this information on your resume. Details such as your marital status, your religion, your family size or more could put employers in an awkward position of having to clarify that they didn’t ask for this information down the road. It’s best to leave these personal details off of a professional resume to avoid an uncomfortable legal grey area.

4. Lies: No, there is no way to know for certain whether an employer will call every company listed in your prior experience or whether they will check around to see if you were responsible for what you said you were on your resume. In fact, chances are good that they won’t. However lies are a resume killer unlike any other because they can come back later and flat out ruin your career. Avoid lies on your resume like the plague that they are.

5. Every Job All the Time: No employer wants to sit down and peruse 200 or more 10 page resumes. No employer wants to sit down and sift through 50 or more 10 page resumes. The best way to avoid making your resume too lengthy is to avoid including every job you’ve ever had. If you’re just starting out and only have enough experience to fill up a page or two, this does not apply, but for more experienced professionals it’s best to edit out a few jobs and condense as much as possible. If you’re a Sr. C#.Net Developer your old high school gig at the local Sonic just isn’t relevant any more. Cut it out to help slim your resume down.

6. Crazy Amounts of Irrelevant Skills: Even when you’re transitioning from one field to another it’s best to look at the skills you have which are irrelevant to the position you’re applying to as seasoning, rather than a main ingredient. If you pepper these skills throughout you’ll show how well rounded and multitalented you are but, if you include 20 or so irrelevant skills in a section where you’re listing your relevant skills (particularly if there’s no order of specialization and mastery involved), you can overpower your resume and confuse an employer. It’s best to emphasize your strong suits and the skills that are directly relevant to the position you’re applying for and mention the others sparingly.

7. Lack of Contact Information: This one should go without saying but, if you want employers to be able to contact you, including up-to-date contact information on your resume is essential. Whether it’s your cell phone number, your email address, your personal address, or some combination of the three, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you leave this information off of your resume. Additionally if you have a Github or online portfolio make sure you include a link to each of those in your resume, particularly if the job ad expressly asks for them.

8. Inconsistent Formatting: There’s a resume killer lurking outside of the information you give and it’s a truly deadly one; inconsistent formatting, the serial killer of resumes. Your content could be spot on and your experience could be perfect for the job but if your formatting is off it could ruin your chances in an instant. If you’re going with bullet points, keep them consistent. The same thing goes for font, spacing, bolding/italics, indentions, and so much more. There’s nothing worse to an employer than seeing a resume that lists “detail oriented” as a key trait on a resume that’s rife with formatting inconsistencies.

Resume preferences may change as the years progress but these 8 resume killers are never a good idea. Avoid them like the plague if you want your resume to have a fair shot the next time you apply to a new job!