We all know that our resume only gets about 5 – 20 seconds of time from recruiters.

How has this knowledge changed your approach to writing your own resume? Have you sat down to go through your resume with a fine tooth comb, thinking about whether or not every single word and section on your resume is a useful one? That every decision you made, is one that is working for you and not against you?

Every person has a unique story which needs to be portrayed differently so ‘perfect’ resumes have a huge degree of variability. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that there really ain’t such thing. There are only ways that you can write your resume that work better than others.

With the abundance of information on the internet telling you exactly how your resume should look and what font to use, it can be confusing as to who to believe and who to trust – especially when it’s mostly conflicting information too.

This post aims to work as a simple reminder of things you should NOT include when you’re writing your own resume (or when a professional resume writer has created one for you). For these are the sorts of reasons HR Managers secretly frown upon your resume for, and may never tell you.


Your Photograph.

In Australia, including your photograph is completely and utterly unnecessary.

The only reason you would do so, is if you’re an actor or model and a certain ‘look’ is required (and even in that case, you probably wouldn’t be submitting your typical CV).

If you are hoping that your professional good looks will get you an interview, they most likely will only get you a few laughs going around the recruiter’s office.

I know, because I’ve seen it happen. Don’t have it happen to you.


Date Of Birth, Marital Status Or Religious Beliefs.

Again, unnecessary.

You don’t want your age or religious dispositions to influence recruiters. You want to ensure that you do not include any information that could have someone discriminate against you.


Irrelevant Experience.

If you’re applying for an IT role and you’ve spent 5 years working in retail while you were in university, leave it off.

If you’re in Public Relations and you’ve helped develop a stock management system years ago another lifetime ago, leave it off. Although a great achievement, it will take up space on your resume that could be devoted to something PR related that matters to the reader, and will have the reader question what the relevancy is.

What you can do instead, is if a question comes up in interview around your greatest achievement unrelated to your job, save it until then.


Achievements That Aren’t Actually Achievements.

You may be proud of the fact that you got a high HSC mark (or the equivalent final year at high school mark) however this is a) no longer relevant and b) not actually an achievement in the way that they’re meant to be used on a resume.

Achievements must be related to the roles you’ve been in i.e. ways in which you’ve positively contributed to the businesses you work in, voluntary work, and you could stretch it to a professional-esque type hobby (for example, you’ve been sprinting professionally for years, and have just won an olympic bronze medal).


An Unprofessional Email Address.

We all have an email address that we created way back when the internet was brand new and we had chat names and nicknames like littlelucy80.

Then you signed up for a hotmail account, and have been using it ever since. Well, it’s time for a new one!

Ensure your new email either originates from your internet service provider or is one that is linked to Google.

An inappropriate email address will have you get the wrong sort of attention – the type that you don’t want!


Delete Your Objective Statement.

Objective statements are so 1990’s.

Now in the 21st century, it works better to use a ‘Professional Profile’ or a ‘Personal Profile’ section.
Employers don’t care much about what it is that you want (but can use it against you if you’ve forgotten to change it from the last role that you applied for). Tell them what you can do for them. Tell them about your experience, qualifications and skills – those which are of interest to them. Explain how you believe you’re a match for the role, and why they should bother to continue reading your resume.

THEN with the rest of your resume, you can launch into using achievements as supporting evidence for your introductory paragraph.


Borders, Creative Fonts And Multi-sized Text.

Although the above points may seem quite obvious and largely common sense, I can’t begin to count the number of times that I’ve seen these sorts of issues come up on the resumes that I critique and have subsequently had to rewrite.

Sometimes a dash of colour (limited and in a quite tasteful manner) is acceptable, but largely bubble writing, shadow text and whacky fonts etc. are out of question.
And if you’re not sure about whether your resume is of a decent standard, why don’t you email it to me for a complimentary resume critique. I’ll let you know what needs to change, if anything at all.


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