5 things to leave off your resume

What to leave off your resume

Avoid these common resume mistakes.

Writing a resume is often more difficult than you might expect. Deciding what to include or not include can be frustrating, and many job seekers opt to err on the side of oversharing. However, an overstuffed resume may actually land you a place in the reject pile.

Here are five things you should consider leaving off of your resume:

1. Objective statement

One of the most common questions jobs seekers have about writing a resume is whether they should include an objective.

“Career objectives rarely say anything new. Instead, you should have a personal profile at the top of your resume, which explains who you are and what you personally can bring to the position that makes you the obvious choice for the job,” says Steve Pritchard, HR consultant for giffgaff.

2. Hobbies

While it’s true that most employers take things like personality or cultural fit into consideration during the hiring process, they’re not looking for that kind of information on your resume. When reviewing resumes, employers are only looking for one thing: whether the applicant is qualified to perform the functions of the open position.

Unless they're related to the job you're applying for, you shouldn't write about the hobbies you enjoy in your spare time on your resume,” says Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, a company that offers professional CV and resume writing services. “This isn't a college application, and hiring managers won't be impressed by a long list of extracurricular activities. Instead, use that valuable real estate on your resume to elaborate on your work experience, skills and achievements.”

3. Irrelevant work experience

To many job seekers, a resume is little more than a comprehensive list of work experience. However, just because it’s work experience doesn’t necessarily mean it belongs on your resume.

“Granted, if you are applying for your first job, stuff your [resume] with as much experience as you possibly can – it will show determination and a work ethic, which will obviously count in your favor,” says Pritchard. “However, if you’re applying for a high-ranking professional job in your mid-30s, the people reviewing your resume will not care that you worked at Burger King when you were 17. Unless you were made deputy manager or achieved something that is directly relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s probably time you removed jobs you had for six months when you were at college.”

All employers want to see on your resume is information that is clearly related to the position they’re trying to fill. A detailed list of every job you’ve ever had will just make it more difficult for employers to locate the relevant information – and may inadvertently put up a red flag for hiring managers.

“When an applicant includes too much employment history on their resume, it means that they are not committed to staying in just one company for too long, and it can be a deal breaker,” says Brad M. Shaw, president and CEO of Dallas Web Design Inc. “Employers want to hire somebody who will stay with them long term, not someone who will just bounce from one job to another. It's better to keep your most recent employment listed on your resume.”

4. Too much education information

Education is a big part of your first resume, and any degrees or relevant certifications will always merit inclusion. However, as you accrue more real-world work experience, education should take up less space on your resume.

“It is not necessary to include the date that you started your degree,” says resume writing professional Aerielle Ludwig. “Only the month and year in which you graduated, or anticipate graduating are necessary. It's not important how long you were there, it is only important that you have graduated or will be shortly.”

Additionally, unless you’re still in school or just recently graduated, it may be time to remove your GPA from your resume. The experience and knowledge you gained in the workforce will be much more appealing to employers than outdated academic achievements.

5. Lies

It should go without saying that embellishments, exaggerations or other falsehoods have no place on your resume. Yet seventy-five percent of hiring managers say they’ve caught a lie on a candidate’s resume. By lying on your resume, all you’re doing is giving employers a giant reason not to hire you.

“It's funny how people include how long they have been with a company and lie about it,” says Shaw. “Regardless of whether you put the right employment period on your resume, employers will still make an effort to validate what you wrote with your previous employer. Instead, just be honest with your employment period. There's nothing wrong with telling the truth.”

Looking for more advice on what to include on your resume? Check out our guide on How to Create the Perfect Resume.