9 Things That Should Never Be on Your Resume

Resume FailYour resume. Often, your first – and last – impression.

And yet so many don’t take the time to make that first impression a good one. We carefully choose the format that best represents us. We agonize over which font to use. And we proofread over and over… only to have the resume rejected, over and over.

Why? Because you haven’t yet removed all the fluff that employers do not care about!

Take a look at your resume, and be sure to cut out these nine unnecessary items that send the wrong message to potential employers:

1. Anything After Bullet No. 4

The difference between you and a job is the ability to quickly explain yourself, because recruiters don’t have time to read about everything you did. You need to decide what matters and what needs to go.

If you ONLY had four bullets, what would they be?

2. Anything from High School

You’re an adult in the real world — yea, this real world. After college, nothing from high school counts anymore. If you’re a recent grad and need to lean on college credentials, select the best stuff and not every single club you joined.

Treasurer of your freshman dorm? Wow! When can you start!?

3. Vague Descriptions

“Maintained a large database and assisted with organization’s fundraising efforts.”

That’s the worst way to put it. Where are the specifics? The sizzle?

“Maintained a database of 42,000 donors and helped the organization raise $11.4 million during the 2013 capital campaign.”

Details make all the difference.

4. Your “Relevant” College Classes

What matters more: a course you took on business management or the “company” you created through a class project? Employers don’t care you took Supply Chain Management 357. They do care about the skills you gained from it.

Again, if you must rely on college, spare the course titles and focus on how the experience gained will be of direct benefit to this employer.

5. Words “Such As” and “Utilize”

Such as” and “utilize” scream “I want to come off smart in the worst way please hire me k thanks bye. Exchange “such as” for “like” and “utilize” with “use.”

And don’t utilize …use… fluff words like “amazing” and “dynamic” – so overdone.

6. Page Three

A two-page resume from a 20-something is highly questionable. That means three is completely out of the question.

Give employers a tight, shrewdly worded one-pager. Don’t make it longer to “impress” or make yourself sound smarter…

7. The Phrase “Responsible For”

How many times does it appear in your resume? “Responsible for” is flat and uninteresting; go with words like “oversee” and “managed.”

Action verbs demonstrate leadership and accountability.

8. Microsoft Word

Yes, of course you know how to use Word. So does your grandmother.

Leave this “skill” off the list.

9. That Self-absorbed Mission Statement

“I am an energetic marketing professional who enjoys social media management and developing branding strategies.”

Stop thinking of what you like to do. You don’t matter here. Start thinking of what the company needs. The difference in tone is striking:

“I am an energetic marketing professional who can help <Company Name> build its brand and grow business.”

What other parts of a resume need to go? Share below!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!


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Danny Rubin headshotAbout the Author: Danny Rubin is the creator and writer of News To Live By, a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons “hidden” in the day’s top stories. In one short-and-sweet column, Danny recaps a top news story and explains how it can make us better at our jobs. He’s a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Business Insider, and his work has also been featured in The New York Times. Follow News To Live By on Twitter.



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  • Owen Hemsath

    My wife and I love this article! She is a resume re doer and Im an employer. We’re working on a resume right now with like 7 of the 9 things you mentioned!

    No MS Word is not valuable to anyone. We assume you know it but would prefer you know pages and google docs as well.

    Great read.

    • Happy you liked the post, Owen! Danny’s an insightful writer.

      Indeed, knowing MS Word at this point is like saying “I can put on my pants” or “I can pour milk in a glass.” Great! So can tons of other people. Tell me the skills you have that ***solve the problem I’m hiring for***! THAT is the person I want to interview.

    • Guest

      It’s actually Google Drive now.

  • Pingback: Writing Resumes for Entry Level Jobs? Leave These 9 Things Off of Them - CollegeRecruiter.com()

  • Shaneka L. Stanley

    “References Available Upon Request’ is also a waste of space. I know you’ll give them to me when I ask for it!

  • Karan

    Disagree with point 2:
    In many countries the grades on your high school degree are actually more important than your bachelor or masters. In these countries, the exams in high school are more centralized than the colleges.

    Disagree with part of point 6:
    You’ve got mention responsibilities and achievements for each of your jobs. Moreover, mention extra curricular activities for during your education. Skills and strengths also need to be in there. And if you’ve not been sitting in your dorm room, during your entire education, or have done a few internships where you something to show for – the content is not going to fit on page. There is nothing wrong with 2 page cv’s as long as you are doing it for the right reasons.

    Disagree with point 7:
    The fact that you are responsible for something means that others trusted you with it. It’s way you can project preselection. You don’t want the recruiter to be thinking too much, the will only give you 10 seconds or so to glance over your CV (both pages) so you want to let them know that you had responsibilities and achievements.

    Partly disagree with point 9:
    A short summary of a few words is not a bad thing necessarily. You can put the same one on your LinkedIn profile too. The goal here is to not be boasting or bragging about your work, but in a positive way give a short story about yourself to the recruiter or hiring manager. It should be at the top of the page – because the first place people look at is always the center of the page. There you should put your skills. If they like your skills, they will read your story.

  • Some good suggestions although I think it’s risky to promote one size fits all rules for resume writing because there many factors to consider when crafting a resume. There are some good rules of thumb to follow and I agree with points #1 & 2. In general all statements should be backed up with facts. This creates a more believable, engaging resume. Adding stats as in your example is an important marketing technique. #4 – In some cases it is advisable to include relevant course titles: A. If your major doesn’t relate to the job you’re applying to but you’ve taken other courses that do. B. Technical courses that at a glance let’s the readers know you’ve got it covered.

    Number of pages – A lot can be done to accommodate more text by narrowing margins, changing font, and playing with the spacing between sections. A lot of space can be saved by using only one line under name with contact info. 1 page is best.

    #7 “Responsible for” is not a verb. It’s important to begin ALL bullets with a verb using a consistent tense. Gerund, past or present. Readers can scan down the page and interpret your skills by just reading the verbs: create, supervised, assisted, etc.

    #8 With years of experience as a corporate recruiter and principal of my own staffing firm, I know that employers screen OUT. If there is a question, a doubt or red flag of any kind, they will simply go to the next resume. All software & technical skills should be on your resume. Why would you list Excel, Access, MATLAB, or HTML etc and leave or Microsoft Word out? To do so would call your knowledge of Word into question. Employers will search on key words for software that they require. If it’s required and isn’t listed, your resume won’t come up on their databases.

    #9 Partially disagree – A millennial with 0-3 yrs experience would appear pompous and ridiculous claiming they can “help build ABc co build your brand and grow your business”. Even with paid internship experience, they haven’t been around long enough to make that statement. Even an experienced candidate would do better to simply state facts. No one can argue or question it. Millennials need to express enthusiasm and a passion for what they’re interested in and it’s good to mention their professional interests. It just needs to be presented from the employer’s point of view as opposed to what the applicant’s needs are.

    I disagree about references. NOT all new young adults have references to offer. Including this demonstrates confidence, pride, work experience, and again, leaves no question for the employer.

    Important to include – Summary or Professional Profile section which in 1 – 4 lines lists: Who you are, your experience & skills, personal statement about you as an employee.

  • David Hunt, PE

    Dense text. Unless you’re lucky enough to have networked to someone who is interested to read your resume up-front, a poor layout that’s hard to skim is a death knell.