The Worst Things to Put on Your Resume

Having these things on your resume could make it end up in the trash.When you're applying for a job, you want to make sure your resume stands out -- but not for the wrong reasons. Whether you apply online or provide a printed copy, there are certain things that can send your CV to the trash instead of to the big boss. Here are five things you should never put on your resume:

Related: Bizarre interview questions (and how to answer them)

  • An objective or mission statement. There was a time when job-seekers were encouraged to spell out exactly what they were hoping for in a job, which is a useful exercise for the candidate but a waste of time for the employer. Why? The company is looking for someone who can meet its goals, not trying to figure out if they're able to meet yours. Go ahead and craft that mission statement -- but then leave it on your computer instead of putting it on your resume.
  • Personal information. There's no need to include your marital status, sexual preference, number of kids, religion, or political affiliation on your resume. If you have a blog, only include the URL if it's pertinent to the job. And don't ever include your drivers license number or your social security number; if your resume ends up in the trash, someone can use that information to impersonate you, and identify theft is not a good thing at all.
  • Salary requirements. Discussions about money are best left for much later in the employment process. If the job posting requires that you mention your salary range, keep it as broad as possible and be prepared to negotiate.
  • Unrelated experience or activities. Unless it's germane to the job you're applying for, your previous experience in unrelated fields, club or group affiliations, and a list of what you like to do in your spare time has no place on your resume.
  • Your weaknesses. Plenty of employers ask candidates about their perceived weaknesses, but you don't need to beat them to the punch. Focus on your strengths, and leave the trick-questions for the interview -- in person, you can provide a positive spin.
Now that you know what to keep off your resume, make sure you fine-tune the things you've kept on it. Keep these five DON'Ts in mind, regardless of whether you're submitting your resume on paper or electronically.

  • Don't use the same resume for every job application. It's important that you tailor your resume to fit the job for which you're applying. And if you're applying to several jobs within in same large company, it's essential. Different jobs require different skills, and even if you're applying for the same exact job at several places, each company is still different, so it's worth submitting a (slightly) different resume for each job.
  • Don't forget the cover letter. The cover letter is your chance to blow your own horn, tout your skills, and explain any puzzling parts of your resume. It's also a great place to show that you're already aware of how the industry -- and the company -- operates, and how you'd fit right in. It's your chance to show the company exactly what you can do for them. Don't forget to include one.
  • Don't just list your previous job titles and responsibilities. It's important to show a prospective employers how you sharpened your skills at previous jobs, and how those skills relate to the job you want. So list your past responsibilities, sure, but also list your achievements and the skills you honed along the way.
  • Don't forget to proofread. Proofreading means more than simply fixing spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues. Spellcheck can't tell the difference between "sew" and "so" or "too," "two," and "to" -- but an employer or recruiter sure can. And if you get the name of your contact person wrong, or address them as "Mr." instead of "Ms.," chances are that a recruiter will hit "delete" no matter how great a candidate you may be.
  • Don't embellish. If your resume makes the cut -- and that's the goal, right? -- a good employer is going to fact-check. It's easy to double check data online, and a quick phone call to a previous employer can bring truth to light pretty quickly. If you have a tricky situation that bears explaining, do it in the cover letter -- or, better yet, in person.


On our new talk show, "The Shine," we're talking about these and other great resume tips. Watch the video below, and stay tuned for more from Yahoo! Shine!


Copyright © 2012 Yahoo Inc.

Also on Shine:

Words to cut from your resume
Spring clean your resume (in less than two hours)
Four things you didn't know you could put on your resume