5 Things You Should Never Include On Your Resume

By Aisling O’Toole
17 February 2023 | 15 Shares

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When was the last time you updated your resume? Besides adding an achievement, an award or a new role, can you recall when you actually gave it a full refresh?

We all know that in theory you’re meant to tailor your resume to each individual role you apply to, but in practice things can be a little more haphazard than that. But the fact is, the more senior you become within your industry the more essential it is for your resume to showcase your most recent skill sets, achievements and experiences.


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If you can’t think when your last resume spring clean was, it could be time to go back to basics and attack it from scratch. Editing your experience to ensure your skills and value to a potential employer shines through can be less about what you include––and much more about what you leave out.

Here are five things to make sure you never include.

1.  Mistakes

We all know your resume is your first chance to make an impression on the hiring manager––so one littered with mistakes does not give the sense of a conscious, detail-oriented professional.

Errors don’t have to be obvious such as spelling, grammar or formatting––they could be something as simple as getting the name of a qualification wrong, or using a company’s old name instead of its new title.

Essentially, details matter. A hiring manager will be tuned in to the industry, appropriate qualifications and software, so your resume should reflect these––especially if you’re applying for roles in different territories, where companies may be known by a different name.

2.  Irrelevant information

It’s great that you won a coding competition in 2013, but a decade on you should have built on the win or gained more relevant experience that you can share. Think of your resume as prime real estate, so stick to the facts and the most pertinent information. Instead of including irrelevant facts about yourself, use the limited space to highlight your suitability for the role.

3.  Identifiable Details

Is your date of birth, a recent picture or a postal address on your resume? Resume essentials 101, right? Well, no actually. By letting a recruiter know your age, your ethnicity or your address you may be subjecting yourself to unconscious biases, and be passed over for the role.

Yes, this is illegal and if proven with irrefutable evidence, you would have a case for legal recourse, but most of the time candidates have no idea. It’s advisable to omit identifiable details and let your skills and experience speak for themselves.

4.  Irrelevant Work Experience

The best resumes are clear, concise and showcase your experience and achievements that are relevant to the role in question. But this is easier said than done when you have 15-plus years’ experience to highlight. So think like a hiring manager and ask yourself what is most relevant to share regarding the position for which you’re applying. Cut back on earlier experience if less relevant, and create more space for your best professional achievements to sing.

5.  Elaborate Formatting

Design apps have made everyone a graphic designer, and made it easier than ever before to jazz up a resume, a social media post or a presentation deck. Unfortunately, the majority of software used by recruiters scans resumes in a way that means elaborate formatting isn’t always recognised.


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The software is scanning for keywords, skills and qualifications––all things you may have, but if you formatted your resume for style over substance, you may now be overlooked for the role as the software simply can’t read it. The solution is to keep it simple. Remember, you can always use your cover letter and interview to elaborate on older experiences or your more colorful professional achievements.

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