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Things You Must Include/Never to Include on Your Resume

Every job hunter knows that a resume should show employment history, but to be truly successful in your job search, make sure you also include/never include these things on your resume. Competition for good employment is always fierce, and ignoring a few simple rules will get you passed over without a second look.

Things You Must Include on Your Resume:

Contact information

Believe it or not, it happens all too often that contact information is left off of a resume. Right underneath your name on the resume should be your mailing address, email address, and phone number.

Don’t get cute with your email address. If your email address is BikerChick@emaildomain or BeerPongChamp@emailserver, set up another account with a nondescript address that doesn’t label you in any way.

If you have a cell phone, list it, not your parents or shared apartment’s land line as the number on your resume. Dump the hip-hop voice mail message and record something simple in a clear, firm voice.

Keywords in key places

There are many ways to say the same thing. Take keywords from the job description and insert them in your resume objective or goal section. Research the prospective employer’s mission statement and history to rephrase your experience to fit not only their published needs, but perhaps another job yet unlisted. Jobs have been created for people who were perceived as a good fit for the firm.

Having the right keywords is especially important for online applications, which are frequently screened by computer programs looking for the right keywords.

Many professionals have several versions of their resumes, each emphasizing a different set of qualifications. One version may show strong management attributes, another may focus on sales, another on technical expertise.

Career summary

We are all the sum of our experiences (and then some), and many believe that our past actions define who we are today. A career summary section should be a descriptive selling point distilled from your past accomplishments that emphasizes your future value to the potential employer. In it, you list key achievements, skills, and experience relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Job objective

It’s important to tailor the Job Objective section of your resume to closely match the position being applied for and not be generic. The more your job objective seems to fill a company’s need, the better chance you have of getting an interview. The job they have should seem to be your life’s ambition. Use keywords. Customize the job objective to align with the position you’re applying for.

Awards, recognitions, and industry training

This section of your resume can say a lot about you. In it, list any awards received, industry seminars attended, and any other achievements that you consider relevant and that aren’t listed elsewhere.

Keep in mind that no one is interested in your fishing tournament trophy, that you were prom queen, or that you took a course in palm reading. What you list here will add merit to your resume if the contents are perceived by the reader as true accomplishments.

Things Never to Include on Your Resume:

The most important tool you have toward getting that new job is your resume. It tells a potential employer who you are and should impart your potential value to the prospective employer. It is the potential employer’s first impression of you and needs to present you in the best light. Accordingly, there are a few things that should never be put on a resume:

An outrageous objective or goal

A sense of humor has value. It really does! It can make a bad situation lighter to bear for all those involved. But there’s a time and place for everything, and stating on your resume that you aspire to be the next Bill Gates or Donald Trump won’t get you admired or hired. Save the personality insights for the interview.

Irrelevant job experience

Don’t clutter up your resume with the assortment of odd jobs that you’ve had unless they’re in the same field that you’re trying to acquire a job in now. That fact that you valet-parked cars one summer won’t help you land that accounting job!

On the other hand, the job you had cleaning out the horse stables after school could help you land the veterinary’s assistant job. Unless they’re the only jobs you’ve ever held, be selective on what you list.

Frivolous awards

No one cares about the pie-eating contest you won on a dare. The fact that you were the prom queen or voted Most Likely to Succeed in school might make interesting lunchroom conversation if you’re hired, but these facts have no place on your resume.

Business awards or recognition for community service should be listed. Being recognized as a Top Salesman or a Valuable Volunteer at the food bank is something that could favorably influence a prospective employer.


Under no circumstances should the average job-seeker enclose pictures of any kind with their resume. Photographers have to submit portfolios of their work to prospective clients, and actors, actresses, and some photo-journalists also need to include images, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

Submitting your picture on a resume is considered unprofessional. Other than that, a picture of you could trigger an unconscious negative reaction on the part of the prospective employer, who just might not like redheads or the tie you’re wearing in the photo.

Private personal information

Any information that deals with your personal opinions or sexual orientation should never be shared on a resume or in an interview. The applicant’s sexual orientation, religious viewpoint, and political affiliation are not relevant to the hiring procedure and shouldn’t be brought up or offered for discussion. Period.

Also, don’t put your Social Security number or any banking data on the resume; you never know where it’ll end up. Unfortunately, your resume could end up in the trash, which could then end up in the wrong hands.

Extravagant verbiage

Being too smart for your own good is a real outcome of trying to impress someone with your vocabulary on your resume. Never use a big word if a simple one will do. After all, clarity in written communication is key, and those who are viewing your resume will toss it in the trash before they reach for a dictionary.

Participation in a technical colloquy may sound edgy to you, but a conference is just a conference and the term shouldn’t be glitzed up. If the reader takes the time to look up colloquy, they’ll most likely wonder why you weren’t smart enough to use what to them is the correct word, conference. That loud noise you just heard was you shooting yourself in the foot!

Exotic materials

Your words must make you stand out to the reader. Only fifth graders (or an exotic dancer) can get away with using colored paper, glitter, frilly fonts, scents, feathers, or anything but words on quality paper to get them noticed by a potential employer. Use anything else and your resume will get passed around the HR office and chuckled at before it’s thrown, unread, in the circular file.


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