6 Things to Leave off Your Resume

The purpose of your resume is to highlight your past work history and accomplishments. Keep it professional and omit any content of an overly personal nature. Each word and sentence needs to be carefully thought out so that you make a great first impression.[sam id=1 codes=’true’]Most recruiters and hiring managers only peruse your resume for about 15 seconds during a first read-through searching for relevant keywords so don’t distract them with extraneous content.

Here are six items that are best left off your resume:


While this may have been a popular option in the 70s and 80s, those times are long past. Because many recruiters and hiring managers now peruse social media profiles of candidates, you can include a professional photo on each of these sites. Note the word professional: the photo should show you dressed in business attire with no excessive jewelry or tattoos in evidence. Another consideration is that many employers dislike photos on resumes because they may then be accused of hiring discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, etc.

Jobs over 10 years in the past

The basic rule is not to include jobs that you held from 10 to 15 years in the past. Baby Boomers especially need to be careful not to include jobs they may have held 20 or 30 years ago. Why provide employers with a hint of your age before they meet with you in person? If you want to include this information, place it under the heading” Additional Relevant Experience with no dates. Age discrimination may be subtle but does exist. The same can be said of educational history—don’t list dates of college graduation if over 10-15 years in the past.

Irrelevant experience and accomplishments

While you may have been the best burger flipper at the fast food joint near your college campus, think whether this experience will advance your candidacy for a Trust and Estates Paralegal position. Limit all past experience and accomplishments to those which most closely match the needs of the job you are applying for. Even if you are making a career change, you can tailor your resume to highlight your transferable skill set. For example, if you were a teacher and now transitioning into the legal field as a T&E Paralegal you can stress that through teaching you possess highly developed communication skills, detail orientation, ability to explain complex topics to a “lay audience,” work effectively under pressure, and build relationships with a wide range of personalities (e.g. colleagues, administration, parents and students).

Gaps in work history

If you have gaps in your employment, best to take a proactive approach and provide a brief sentence that will explain this situation. For example, under work history you can include the statement “2002-2003 Childcare Sabbatical” or “ 2001-2004 Sabbatical to take care of elderly parent.” Do not elaborate but let the sentence stand alone. Many employers may not even touch this during the interview.

Objective statement

These statements were popular at one time but have gone out of style in recent years, mostly because job seekers used boilerplate phrases rather than tailor the statement to each job and employer. The objective statement has been replaced with a section entitled Summary of Qualifications.

Reference statement

Most resumes end with the statement “References furnished upon request.” Most employers know that references will be furnished if requested so this statement does not add any value to your resume.