What not to include in a résumé

Over many years working with job-seeking clients, I've learned just how scared they are about putting together a résumé and cover letter. They fear that one wrong action verb could dash their chances at their dream job.

It typically isn't the case -- hey, if you qualify for a job and can clearly express it, you're likely to win an interview -- but I love helping them finesse their job application documents. After reviewing scores of outdated résumés, I'd say there are eight things you should never include in your résumé.

After reviewing scores of outdated résumés, I'd say there are eight things you should never include in your résumé.

Any education below college

Only include high school if it's your highest level of education. Otherwise, if you have a college degree, potential employers can deduce you graduated college.

Inappropriate email addresses

That first Hotmail address, where you paid tribute to your maltipoo? It's time to let go. Trade in snufflebunny123@ for yourname@, pronto. You'll also date yourself using an older email provider like Yahoo or AOL; Gmail is the gold standard for addresses these days.

Internal acronyms

Maybe your company abbreviated your job title Assistant Regional Manager to ARM internally, but that acronym is unlikely to translate. The same goes for any internal procedures or software. Spell them out.

Unrelated work experience

If you're a physical therapist applying for hospital work, it’s unlikely your time working a department store’s register is applicable. However, if your professional work is limited -- say, this will be your first job out of college -- you might include it and explain how your time at Macy's improved your interpersonal and math skills.

Salary history

This can be a deterrent for hiring managers from the get-go if they see you're out of their range or have been working for far less than they'd intended to pay you. Win them over with your credentials and an interview, then the salary conversation can begin.

Work history dating back more than 15 years

You’ve had an incredible career and accomplished so much. But if it was 25 years ago, the technology was different, and much of the procedural know-how will have changed. Employers are interested in how your most recent work relates to their business needs, so limit your work history to the last 10-15 years.

Underselling yourself

Don't use negative words about what you haven't done; instead focus on what you've accomplished. It could be as sly as including your projected college graduation year rather than stating "haven't yet graduated."

Overselling yourself

You really don't want to lie ever, but especially don't stretch the truth on your résumé. You'll be found out once you're trusted with a big project you're unable to fulfill. It'll be awkward, embarrassing and necessitate redoing your résumé all over again when you're out of a job.

If you feel itchy and panicky at the thought of putting together your résumé, it doesn't have to be this way! I've created modern, comprehensive résumés for lawyers, pharmacists, elementary school teachers, IT professionals, students, those who've had a gap in their employment and more. If you're interested in having someone else deal with the yucky stuff (although, I happen to love this work!), check out this page for more information. And take a deep breath! You're thisclose to your dream job.

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