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7 Things You Should Never Include on a Resume

Let’s face it, very few people really enjoy writing a resume. A quick web search on “how to write a resume” brings up tons of articles that often contradict each other when it comes to “best practices.” What do you include on a resume? What’s outdated and better left off? Well, we’re going to make it much easier for you. Here are seven things that should not be included on a resume today.


1 - Your Full Street Address

You should never include your full street address on a resume for a number of reasons. For one, some companies don’t even open a resume with a full address due to privacy reasons. Privacy laws are complex and without getting into all the details, including too much personal information on your resume could bear consequences a company just doesn’t want to deal with.


You also don’t want a hiring manager to reject your application because you have a longer commute than other candidates. They may think that you’ll be late to work more often due to inclement weather or traffic.


A full address just isn’t necessary. It used to be but the bulk of communication is now easily handled through email. You should only include your city and state.


2 - An Objective Statement

You should never include an objective statement on a resume as it’s outdated and ineffective. An objective statement tells the employer what you want and honestly, they could care less.


Here is an example of an objective statement:


Marketing professional seeking an opportunity to use my social media and content marketing skills to increase traffic and awareness.


The hiring manager is well aware that you’re looking to obtain a position. This statement does nothing to convince the hiring manager that you’re a good fit for the position.


So, what should you replace it with? A well-written summary.


Use a resume summary and tell the employer a bit about your background, qualification, skills and measurable achievements throughout your career. This will show them that you’ve got what it takes and will help you stand out from the crowd.


3 - Buzzwords

Good word choice is really important for a resume. Many job seekers use “buzzwords” that annoy most hiring managers. They’re usually vague soft skills that are overused and subjective.


Here are the top 10 words hiring managers hate to see on a resume:


  • Best of breed
  • Go-getter
  • Think outside of the box
  • Synergy
  • Go-to person
  • Results-driven
  • Team player
  • Hard worker
  • Strategic thinker
  • Detail-oriented

You should instead use strong action verbs and indirectly show your soft skills through your achievements.


4 - Images, Designs and Fancy Fonts

Some job seekers turn their resume into an art project and that’s likely to be rejected by most employers. You should never include images, designs or fancy fonts on a resume for a few reasons.


Images, designs and charts have difficulty getting through an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). An ATS is software used by most employers to automatically screen resumes and when they encounter resumes they can’t read, they’re automatically rejected. The same goes for fancy fonts which are unprofessional and potentially impossible for an ATS to read. Here is a list of the best fonts to use on a resume.   


The majority of hiring managers also prefer a standard, clean and professional resume.


5 - References

Including references or the common phrase “references available on request” is also outdated and unnecessary. If a hiring manager needs your references, they will ask for them. You should, however, have a professional references page ready when a hiring manager does ask for them.


6 - Irrelevant Experience

Many job seekers make the mistake of including tons of irrelevant experience on their resume. Irrelevant information will hurt your chances of landing an interview as the point of a resume is to show the employer that you have the qualifications and experience to get the job done.


For example, if you’re targeting a marketing job, don’t include 2 pages of experience as a cashier. If you don’t have relevant experience, lead with a strong summary and mention the achievements that most closely relate to the position you’re targeting.


7 - Typos

Numerous surveys have revealed that a resume with even a single grammatical or spelling error will be rejected by a hiring manager. Your resume is the first impression you have on a hiring manager and you need to ensure your resume is error free. Have someone else proofread your resume before sending it out.


Times have changed and some of what was considered “best practices” on a resume are now outdated and ineffective. Your resume is the most important document for your job search so put in the time and effort to write one that’s effective. Good luck with your job search!


Last Updated: May 24, 2017
About the author

Natalya Khaykis

Natalya is a writer and analyst at ZipJob. She graduated from NYU with a masters and currently resides in New York City. She covers topics related to resume writing and job search. In her free time you'll find Natalya attempting to cook an edible meal, reading and spending time with her husband.