Posted On: February 2, 2018

What Not to Include in a Resume

After you graduate, your resume is the only document that employers will see to evaluate you for a certain job. You may have an impressive academic record and worked several side jobs to pay for tuition, so you’ll have a lot of material to put on your resume.

However, some things just don’t belong there. Keep in mind: Employers are always looking for a reason to screen out candidates. You might think that you are giving employers many reasons to hire you, but that’s not the case. Excess information can make them pass you over as a possible candidate just as too little information would.

7 Things You Should Leave Off Your Resume

Personal Information

Employers know your gender – they can deduce that from your name. Other personal information like your age, birth date, religion, sexual orientation, and political affiliation are completely irrelevant to them.

Employers are only interested in your skills and experiences, and how these two factors make you a suitable candidate for the position you are applying for. Therefore, unless you plan to follow a career in politics, mentioning your political affiliations is not necessary.


Unless you are applying for a dream job in acting or modeling, it doesn’t make sense to attach a photo to your resume. Also, employers don’t want to be drawn into allegations of discrimination and may resent the fact that you may be tempting them to do so.

Irrelevant Job Experience

For example, you may have worked as a waitress at a local fast-food chain to pay your way through college and it probably gave you money to spend on necessities, rent, etc. However, this experience won’t be relevant to the jobs you will be applying for after graduation. Thus, keep such details out of your resume.

Gaps Between Work Experiences

You may be the best candidate employers can ask for, but even the best can have times when they were jobless. Maybe you couldn’t find another job after your employer decided to end their business, or it could be that you or a family member was ill.

However, employers won’t be as forgiving when they see such gaps in your resume. They might see it as a sign of incompetence. How do you justify these gaps and increase your chances for an interview? Add a bit of context when the situation calls for it.

If you were ill, mention that on your resume. If you would rather not provide an explanation, skip the months and only include the years in which you were employed.


Shortlisted candidates go through background checks. Everything from falsified employers and academic achievements to wrong dates of employment can cut down your chances of being considered for a position.

Even if you manage to land the job based on lies, it is highly likely that your employer will find out the truth sooner or later. This is especially true if your lies had something to do with your new job responsibilities.

For example, if you list a certification or college degree that you never received, a quick background check will get you fired, or worse, blacklisted. It’s unwise to conduct a job search, give interviews, and land a job only to lose it by making up a past experience or qualification.

Therefore, make sure everything on your resume is true and accurate.

Empty Words

Your professors may have lauded you for being dedicated, intelligent, and hardworking, but such terms won’t have any effect on the person reading your resume. They want to know how your supposed attributes can benefit them.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t include any attributes in your resume at all. All you need to do is back them up with proof. You need to show how you practically applied them during your academic years or previous employment.

Instead of stating that you are a “team player”, you can write, “Worked with a team of 10 and increased the sales up to 50% within 7 months of employment.”

The Bottom Line

A resume displays your professional development and the skills you've developed. If you have just graduated, consider how the experience you have gained as a student and employee can help you in a prospective workplace, and put them on your resume instead of including irrelevant facts.

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