Everyone has something to say about what your resume should contain. In reality, there are a lot of things that should be eliminated: oddities, and absurdities. And also some details that you think are important.
The point is this: If you want to have a shot at reaching your audience and showing them what you’re made of, every section of your resume needs to be built with patience, and every single word carefully selected.
So let’s arm ourselves with a red marker and start scribbling like we were children. The following are seven things you absolutely need to get off your resume.
“Unlikely” or limiting interests
Do you read the tarot cards, are you president of the local club of soapy football fans or do you collect beer bottles? Unless you are applying for positions that foresee these specificities, or that these things represent the basis for “chatter” of some usefulness, forget it. Recruiters will be more likely to exclude you if they see something in you that is excessively strange or goes against their personal beliefs.
Instead: Enter those interests that you feel can support the image and the professional message you intend to convey. If you are a fashion buyer who curates a fashion blog, great! If an accountant who likes to photograph people’s feet, definitely not.
Speaking in the third person
The fastest way to seem pompous and outdated in one fell swoop is to write your resume in the third person: “Giovanni Rossi has a degree in Engineering”. Every time I read a CV in which the candidate describes himself in the third person, I think of a “dusty” person who likes to pontificate himself. Don’t do this.
Instead: When you write your resume, your name and information are at the top of the document. All of this is reported below for you. Write in the first person, and don’t mention the name: “I got an engineering degree.”
An email address of the current employer
No one would think to say “I’m looking for a job while I’m at work”. But if you use that address in your CV it is as if you did. Unless you’re the owner, it’s an unfortunate choice.
Instead: Simply use your personal email. And, preferably, your private time.
Too sophisticated words or formulas
Using unconventional words won’t make you seem smarter. It will make you seem like someone who spends too much time going through a dictionary of synonyms. Albert Einstein said that everything should be made as simple as possible. But no less than that.
Instead: Use a language that you would use “in real life”. Make sure this happens in every sentence on your resume. And if you find any words or phrases that you hear don’t belong to you, change them immediately.
Small and insignificant works carried out more than 15 years ago
Your CV is not an autobiography, and any work you have done since you finished your studies must not be mentioned. The resume is a marketing document. So unless what you did over 15 years ago is important to your audience, you don’t need to report it or describe the details. It is absolutely okay to exclude some information from the CV.
Instead: For each experience, think about what you have done or achieved that may be required or have value depending on the role you intend to fill. Just tell those things. And if your first job after graduation doesn’t work in your search, you obviously don’t need to pay attention to it.
If you want, I can tell you the story of a person who was close to the job he wanted, but when the prospective employer went a little further in the investigation, he discovered that she had not graduated as he had claimed. The catch? The employer did not need this person to have a degree. But having lied made him lose the decision not to hire him.
Instead: Use strategy. I would have suggested to this person to enhance the courses and certifications section, to obtain an equal impact at the degree. Whichever choice you make, don’t lie.
Writing a resume can be tough. People tend to be quite “attached” to the things they have done at work and are excited to tell the world about their interests. But the key question is: in your resume you need to include only the things that work for you. Be objective and brutal, cut out unnecessary things, and don’t mention your huge collection of magnets from around the world.