What Should Not Be Put On a Resume? (2023)

From Microsoft Word expertise to your exact location, here are 15 answers to the question, “What are the least helpful things that you should always leave off your resume?”

  • Proficient in Microsoft Word
  • Short-term Employment
  • Irrelevant Social Media Accounts
  • Your GPA
  • Hyperbolizing Key Details
  • Dated Experience
  • Negative Comments About a Previous Employer
  • Exaggerated Experience
  • Too Many Details About Your Experience
  • High School Education
  • Personal Information Such as Religion or Affiliations
  • Too Many Flashy Buzzwords
  • Your Photo
  • Graduation Dates
  • Your Exact Home Address

Proficient in Microsoft Word

So many resumes mention “Microsoft Word” skills. In 2023, if you’re applying for an office job, that’s a given and therefore an unnecessary item to include on your resume.

Plus, if you’re submitting a resume, it’s almost a guarantee you created it on Word, anyway! Save the space and use it to focus on something impactful because “proficient in Microsoft Word” will not help you stand out from other candidates.

Logan Mallory, Vice President of Marketing, Motivosity

Short-term Employment

Very short-term employment or education. It’s one thing if you want to include a section for freelance gigs or other temporary positions. It’s different when you start a new permanent role and leave it quickly. Employers want an overall history of your experience; they don’t need to know if you’ve worked somewhere for two weeks.

Rachel Roff, Founder and CEO, Urban Skin Rx

Irrelevant Social Media Accounts

Though you may want to highlight your personality, it is a good idea not to include irrelevant social media profiles on your resume. You may think of yourself as a fun person, but social media accounts that show behavior that may not be acceptable in a professional environment can leave a poor impression on recruiters who could view you as irresponsible or not possessing the right values.

Therefore, if you are going to provide them with a social media account, ensure that it is more professional, such as LinkedIn. In addition, remove any questionable content from your other accounts, as they may conduct their own search.

It is important to remember that your social media presence works best when it complements a professional image, and refraining from placing irrelevant social media profiles on your resume is a smart way to ensure that you do.

Cody Candee, CEO, Bounce

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Your GPA

There’s no need to put your GPA on your resume. Unless you were in the top five percent of your class, avoid adding it. This is only effective if you’re looking for entry-level work straight from college. If you’re several years removed from school, you definitely can avoid this and focus on work-related experience instead.

Ann McFerran, CEO, Glamnetic

Hyperbolizing Key Details

Providing false information or exaggerating your skills and experiences on a resume can lead to severe consequences. For example, suppose a potential employer discovers that you have lied about your qualifications. In that case, they may dismiss you as a candidate or, if they have already hired you, they may terminate your employment.

In some cases, it could also result in legal action. Additionally, even if you are not caught, exaggerating information on your resume can lead to difficulties in performing your job if you are hired.

If your abilities and experiences don’t match what you claimed, you may struggle to keep up with the role’s demands. Therefore, it’s essential to be honest when creating your resume. Emphasize your true strengths and accomplishments and present yourself in the most accurate and positive light possible. This will help you find a job that is a good fit for you and set you up for long-term success.

Ubaldo Perez, Founder and CEO, Hush

Dated Experience

Do your best to keep the experiences you provide for your resume up to date. As a general rule, omit anything older than a decade for newer experiences if you have them. You should also use this practice with any references in relation to your work experience.

A potential employer may want to contact a former employer of yours who will actually remember your time working there. This is even more important in our current working environment, which sees workers, managers included, moving from job to job more quickly than ever before. Even a reference a few years old doesn’t guarantee that anyone who worked at your former job will still be there.

Keep any experience that you add to a resume as up-to-date as possible. You’ll have a better chance of making that experience work for you if it’s something that can be easily tracked.

Max Schwartzapfel, CMO, Schwartzapfel Lawyers

(Video) 5 Resume Mistakes You MUST Avoid (with real examples)!

Negative Comments About a Previous Employer

Gossiping or leaving critical reviews about a previous employer is one of the worst things you can do when applying for a new job. It makes you look petty and inadequate. Not only will your resume look unprofessional, but putting negative comments about previous workplaces is a waste of space.

Instead, make the most out of your resume by showing how you worked through problems or issues. By emphasizing the positive parts of a negative experience, you’ll be able to showcase your ability to navigate through challenges-which is what most employers look for.

Diana Royanto, Writer, Milkwhale

Exaggerated Experience

As a people leader, I know one thing: first impressions matter! To make the best impression possible, avoid exaggerating qualifications or experience on your resume.

I often see people attempt to use this trick to stand out among their peers, but it should be avoided, as employers often verify and check qualifications. If they discover any false information on your resume, it could put the company off and cost you an opportunity-even legal action, depending on the severity of the lies being told!

Therefore, your focus should be on relevant experience that will gain attention quickly through concise bullet points highlighting why HR managers should bring you into their team, considering all other candidates vying for their attention! So, make sure everything you include in your resume is wholly accurate and up-to-date-no exaggerations necessary!

Maria Harutyunyan, Co-Founder, Loopex Digital

Too Many Details About Your Experience

If there’s one thing you need to stay away from while crafting your resume, it’s over-explanation. While a resume is a great place to talk about your accomplishments, it’s crucial to keep it concise. Recruiters have limited time on their hands to skim through your resume; so, it can be very helpful if you can stick to mentioning relevant points concisely.

Guy Sharp, Relocation Advisor, Andorra Guides

High School Education

Whether or not you went to college, do not put your high school education on your resume. Unless you have an undergraduate degree or a Master’s, your high school education is irrelevant to your future employer.

(Video) Write an Incredible Resume: 5 Golden Rules!

Most will assume you have at least a high school degree, and it is redundant to put this on your resume. If you don’t have a college degree, consider putting down your certifications that apply to the job you are applying to. Employers like to see these types of certifications. Focus on your higher education and work experience for your resume.

Marshall Weber, CMO, Stor-It

Personal Information Such as Religion or Affiliations

One thing that should not be included on a resume is personal information such as your age, religion, or political affiliations. This information is irrelevant to the job and can even be discriminatory sometimes.

Additionally, it is important to avoid listing personal hobbies or interests unless they are directly related to the job or industry. Including irrelevant information can make your resume appear cluttered and unprofessional.

Instead, focus on highlighting your relevant skills and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the job. Also, avoid providing personal references or contact information for your references, as this information can be obtained later in the hiring process. Remember to keep your resume concise and focused on the most important information for the employer.

Isabella Meyer, Editor, Art in Context

Too Many Flashy Buzzwords

Candidates think buzzwords will help them get through ATS filters, which is true to a degree. But too many buzzwords or acronyms can confuse the filtering software and negatively impact you.

If the ATS can’t accurately interpret your skills or work experience, it won’t recognize that you’re a fantastic fit and will toss your resume in the proverbial reject pile. Avoid using buzzwords other than those directly listed in the job description. Omit acronyms and spell out the full terms in your descriptions.

Use clear, concise language everywhere, natural keywords that make sense, and preview your skills. Even if an overabundance of buzzwords gets through the ATS filters, they’ll still annoy recruiters and make them question your honesty.

Maximilian Wühr, CGO and Co-Founder, FINN

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Your Photo

There’s been a resume trend that needs some clarification. Including your photo on your resume is unnecessary. It takes up valuable space that should showcase your professional experience. Especially now, companies are trying to use non-biased recruiting practices, and having your photo doesn’t help.

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

Graduation Dates

One thing not to put on a resume is your graduation dates. Do not include your high school or college graduation dates. Providing date information that could determine your age could lead to age bias from an applicant tracking system (ATS) or the hiring manager. Your resume could be overlooked because they feel you are too young or too old for the position.

Lindsey Hight, HR Professional, Renue Commercial

Your Exact Home Address

Many people still choose to include their home addresses on their resumes. This used to be common practice, but it is no longer necessary. This is especially true if you are applying to a remote job or one that is outside of your city, but for which you’d be willing to move.

On that note, you probably shouldn’t include too much personal information since this is a document for a job application; it should only focus on your skills, career history, and achievements.

Roksana Bielecka, Community Manager, ResumeHelp

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