The Top Ten Things to Leave Out of a Resume

by Bernard Haldane Associates

In today's tight job market, employers can afford to be choosy when interviewing job candidates. And not surprisingly, those who have the most impressive resumes are more likely to get an initial interview, which is the overall purpose of a resume. However, any mistakes on a resume are instant red flags that may disqualify the job candidate from consideration for an interview, and ultimately, a job.

"A resume is an advertisement for the individual," said Jerry Weinger, Chairman of Bernard Haldane Associates, the national career management firm. "Mistakes on a resume are the 'kiss of death' in a job search, and too often they are easily avoided through careful writing and proof reading."

Career experts at Bernard Haldane have identified the top ten mistakes that will land a resume in the trash.
  • Mistakes in Spelling, Grammar and Syntax -- This is a major problem that will instantly disqualify a resume. Don't just rely on spell-check. Check spelling within the context of the sentence and proof carefully for grammar and syntax.

  • Resumes That Don't Target a Company or Position -- Don't try to make the reader figure out what to do with you. Tell the reader what you can and will do for him.

  • Gaps in Work History -- While several months of unemployment in the recent economy won't be a red flag, gaps of a year or more should be filled with something productive, such as volunteer work, coursework or consulting.

  • Personal Information -- Don't reveal any personal information, such as age, ethnicity, marital status, information about children, body/health issues, religion, hobbies, or political affiliations.

  • Overly Detailed, Technical Statements -- Do not cite and explain every item in your resume, and don't use technical jargon or overly detailed explanations. Use language that your target reader can understand.

  • Busy or Sloppy Layout and Design -- Too many bullets and font styles are distracting. The same is true for type that's too small and for too much white space on the page. Omit clip art, decorative borders, sayings, or pictures from your resume, and don't use darker gray paper because it copies poorly.

  • Repetitive and Redundant Statements -- Be careful not to repeat the same phrases to describe your work on previous jobs, e.g., "was responsible for."

  • Casual voice, Humor, Attitudes -- Don't inject any humor or casual commentary into your resume.

  • Salary and References -- Compensation is an issue that should be discussed in person, and references should be given once an offer has been made.

  • First Person Account -- Do not write your resume in the first person.

Founded in 1947, Bernard Haldane Associates is the nation's oldest and largest career management firm. For more information, contact

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