As a former department manager, I had my share of resumes for possible employees cross my desk. And to be honest, some of them simply made me scratch my head. One could have turned out to be a star employee, but due to the issues with their resume, they never had the chance. Remember, a resume is the first glimpse of you that a potential employer sees.
When you work on your resume, the do’s are pretty obvious. You want to include education, relevant experience, and certifications. What is not obvious are the don’ts with resume creation that I have seen many times. For that reason, we are here to help. This list of items should not be included on your resume and we will tell you why.
1. Objective or Summary
While back in the day, an objective or summary at the top of your resume was the norm, it isn’t anymore. If you are applying for a position, your potential employer already knows that you want the job — and most often they will skip right over your objective.
2. Irrelevant or Ancient Job Experience
Time gaps on a resume can often raise a red flag to employers. However, you do not have to list every job you have had from the time you were 16 years old, unless, of course, you are now 18. So what do you do if you have been in the workforce for decades?
“In general, your most recent jobs are more important in your resume than your long-ago jobs are.
If you can fit your most recent six jobs on your two-page resume, then your seventh-most-recent and earlier jobs will drop off.”
The article also suggests that if you feel that an ancient experience is essential to your resume, simply include the job title. Just be sure to ask yourself if it is relevant to the position you are seeking now.
3. Photographs or Pictures
If the position you are applying for is a modeling job, then a photograph is likely expected. But for other types of jobs, your resume needs to highlight pertinent skills and experience, not your looks.
In addition to eliminating photographs from your resume, you should avoid other pictures as well. You may think it enhances your resume to have a professional-looking, industry-related symbol at the top. However, this is a mistake. Keep your resume clean and save your photos and designs for your portfolio.
4. Hobbies or Interests
You may love to spend your free time golfing, fishing, playing sports, or reading books, but does it matter to a potential employer? If the position you are applying for has something to do with one of your hobbies or interests, then including it could help. If not, leave it off.
If it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s a waste of space and a waste of the company’s time.”
5. References or Lines Referring to Them
In the past, you may have been told to include references on your resume. You might then have been told to include a line like “References Available Upon Request” instead. However, you should really include neither.
If an employer wants professional references, they will ask you. This gives you the opportunity to contact your references first. Including that line referring to references is just as much a waste of space as having a reference itself.
6. Personal or Private Information
Your age, race, gender, religion, marital status, or political affiliations have no place on your resume. Potential employers are looking at your fit for the job. This is based on your skills, knowledge, and experience, not your personal details.
And while many may find this obvious, never include your driver’s license number, banking numbers, or social security number (which I have actually seen on resumes before). If you land the job, you will have to provide certain private details like these numbers. But you do not have the job yet, so protecting your privacy is key.
“In the bogus job ad they will tell you to hand over personal information, like your credit card number (for instance, to pre-pay for a mandatory drug screen or background check if they are interested in hiring you).”
Remember to keep your personal and private information to yourself and off your resume.
7. College Graduation Dates
Unless you are a recent college graduate entering the workforce, do not include graduation dates. The fact that you obtained your degree is what matters, not when you earned it. Plus, this can give away your age, which as we said above, should not be on your resume.
You should include the degrees you obtained, certificates you earned, and institutions you attended, but the graduation dates can be left off.
8. Flat-Out Lies
An article from Monster on this topic states:
“HireRight.com, a provider of on-demand employment background screening, found that 34 percent of job applicants lie on resumes.”
Now, 34 percent may or may not seem high to you. However, do you want to be part of that number? Tell the truth, keep it real, and get that job based on what you can do, not what you cannot do.
9. Ineffective Formatting
10. Misspellings or Grammar Errors
Review and reread, use a spelling and grammar check tool, and then review and reread again. There is nothing worse than reading a professional resume full of misspellings and grammar errors.
Not everyone can be an expert when it comes to spelling and grammar. But these days, you can use tools like Grammarly or built-in features such as Microsoft Word’s spell check. And, that is just the starting point. After you review it, have a friend or family member look it over — they might just see a mistake you missed.
Some Are Obvious, Others Are Not
Many of you may read this and think that these are blatantly obvious resume no-nos. But surprisingly, they are not. For those creating their first resume, re-entering the workforce after many years, or just altogether unsure, this list can help.
Having a stunning resume is a great way to stand out in the job market. And by downloading one of these free Photoshop templates, getting that stunning resume is easy.
Though professional designers have done the heavy lifting for you, you still might want to learn some Photoshop basics. This will help you customize these templates, so they are perfect for helping you land that dream job.
To start using Adobe Photoshop, you can download a 30-day free trial — plenty of time to prepare your resume. To continue using the app, it will cost from $10 per month.
This ultra crisp and clean template features all of the essential sections for a personal summary, experience, and education. Included are sections for language skills and visual icons to show your particular skillset. These can be removed if they’re not needed. The free download even comes with an attractive cover letter template.
If your application needs to show off your creative skills, this is a fantastic template to use. The layout is somewhat similar to a website but looks fantastic when printed. The color scheme is understated enough to ensure you don’t look like you’re trying too hard. Click the link below to see the other page included in the download.
This is more of a traditional resume, but with a fantastic amount of attention paid to detail. The icon sets (you can change the color of these) guide the reader around the resume, while the subtle background to each section makes this very pleasing to the eye. Within the download are also templates for a portfolio page, cover letter, and business card.
When it comes to stunning resume (and business card) templates, they don’t come much better than this. That it’s free is astonishing! The icons used in the template are included within an icon pack in the free download. As is the business card template. The only downside is that there’s not much space for writing job descriptions etc. in the document.
This colorful template will shout loudly in a sea of black and white resumes. Though there is no cover letter template included, it should be easy enough to create your own. Just remove all the elements from the page apart from the header, and write your cover letter using the fonts included in the download.
This two-column black and white template deserves a special place in this list, as it can even be opened and edited in newer versions of Microsoft Word. If you need instructions on how to use and edit the document, a detailed help file is included in the download.
One thing I’d advise would be to avoid using a photo of yourself in your resume. This can easily be removed from this template. Any judgment should be made on your skills and qualifications, not your physical appearance.
With this resume, we’re back to simpler, understated templates. This one, in particular, is incredibly easy for the reader to review at a glance, though you may want to make some of the text a little larger. As another pointer, rating your skills at 50% (as you can see in the right column in this image) is not advisable. You want your skills rated as highly as possible. For those that you cannot rate at least 70%, mention these in another section, or within your cover letter.
This resume template is a great way to offer a very brief overview of your experience and skills. If you want to add more information, you may prefer a more text-oriented template. That being said, there is also a cover letter template included in this download that you can use to add more information to your application.
This is a truly unique template that you’ve never seen anything like before. So if you’re applying for a job that requires you to portray a bold and daring personality, this template is definitely worth considering. It also looks great printed in black and white.
The front page of this template is particularly useful for people who need to include a lot of information in their application. The portfolio page included in this package is too busy for my liking. If you’re more experienced with Photoshop, you should be able to simplify the portfolio template, though.
The simplicity and “interface” of this template is, I’m sure you’ll agree, amazing. That it is aimed at user interface designers is no surprise, though it could easily be used for a variety of other careers, too. The bullet-point list in the experience section is also a nice touch that offers more information to the reader while keeping everything concise. The included business card template is pretty nice, too!
But Design Isn’t Everything
That being said, each of these templates is sure to make your application stand out from your competitors’, and to help you more easily get your foot into the door of your dream job.
Over to you: are there any other Photoshop resume templates you’ve come across that should be included in this list? And do you have any other resume tips that other readers should keep in mind?