10 Things to Delete from Your Resume Immediately

Don’t let hiring managers misjudge you by giving them a resume that fails to call attention to your skills and experience that matter to them. Your resume is your introduction to a hiring manager, so it must sell you as the best solution to meet their needs.

The first time a hiring manager sees your resume, she is unlikely to look at it for more than 30-seconds. In fact, she’ll probably spend closer to 15-seconds glancing over it and looking for keywords to find experience that matters to her. Most job applicants create a generic resume that fails to make hiring managers notice them. Instead of hyping the key details that will pique a hiring manager’s interest, their resumes are filled with useless information that hides those most important points within a lot of clutter.

The trick to writing a great resume that stands out from the gigantic stack of resumes hiring managers receive from job applicants is to look at it through an unbiased lens. You need to make a conscious effort to delete the clutter, and chances are at least 20% of the content in your resume is useless clutter. By cutting the clutter, your resume will be stronger and more effective.

Following are 10 things you should delete from your resume immediately. By omitting these elements, your resume will have a significantly better chance of resonating with hiring managers.

1. An Objective Statement

There was a time when every resume began with an objective statement. Today, these subjective statements are little more than fluff that steal space from compelling content.

2. Personal Details

Not only do personal details take away valuable space where you could include useful details about your work experience, but they also look unprofessional. In fact, personal details can do more harm than good in terms of landing an interview. If your resume includes details about how many kids you have, where you grew up, your marital status, your religion, your age, or any other extraneous personal details, delete them right now. Keep in mind, hiring managers aren’t allowed to ask you much of this personal information during the interview process because it could be considered discriminatory. Therefore, these personal details have no place on a professional resume.

3. Personal Interests

Personal interests should never appear on a resume. They steal valuable real estate and are unlikely to have any relevance to a hiring manager. In other words, hiring managers shouldn’t care if you like cooking, fishing, basketball, sewing, or any other hobby. A resume should include work-related content, not personal content.

4. Basic Skills and Obvious Information

Unless a job description specifically mentions basic skills like typing, email, and so on, you shouldn’t include them on your resume. Furthermore, leave out obvious information that steals space from important information. For example, the commonly used statement telling hiring managers that references are available upon request is obvious and unnecessary.

5. Your Picture

A resume should never include a picture of yourself. It makes your resume look unprofessional. If your picture is included anywhere on your resume, delete it now.

6. Every Job You’ve Ever Had

Unless that babysitting job you had in high school is extremely relevant to the job you’re applying for now, leave it off of your resume. Always tailor the content of your resume to the specific job you’re applying for. Your goal should be to show the hiring manager that you can do the job. Don’t tell them your life story. No one cares about unrelated jobs that you’ve had throughout your life, but they will care if important details related to the job they need to fill are not on your resume.

7. Extras You Were Not Asked For

Hiring managers are busy people. If they ask you to send a resume and cover letter, send those two documents and nothing additional. You might be tempted to include copies of recommendation letters, performance reports, transcripts, and other documents that support how wonderful you are, but that extra documentation is unlikely to help you. First, sending extraneous documents tells a hiring manager that you cannot follow directions. Second, it shows a hiring manager that you’re incapable of succinctly showing them that you can do the job within your resume. Third, extra documentation is overwhelming and adds more clutter for a hiring manager to dig through. If you take the time to create an amazing resume, you won’t need to include all of that extra documentation. Your resume will pique the hiring manager’s interest so much that she’ll want to meet with you where you can share all of the additional information about yourself.

8. Too Many Contact Options

You’re popular and busy. You want to make sure that a hiring manager can contact you at a moment’s notice. While that’s very understandable, you should never clutter your resume with a list of contact options. Instead, demonstrate to hiring managers that you can make a decision by choosing one phone number and one email address to include at the top of your resume. It only takes a second for a hiring manager to get frustrated and develop a subconscious negative perception of your resume when she is presented with a long list of contact options and can’t figure out which one to use. Don’t annoy hiring managers. Instead, make it as easy as possible for them to contact you. Believe it or not, they know you might not answer your phone and might have to call them back.

9. Long-winded Descriptions

Remember, hiring managers are very busy and typically have stacks of resumes to review when they have a job to fill. They won’t read through long paragraphs of text describing your experience, so keep your content short and sweet. Use bullet points and action words. Don’t include subjective assessments of your work. Instead, show hiring managers what you’ve done with quantifiable examples that demonstrate your abilities.

10. Mistakes

This might seem like an obvious thing to omit from your resume, but the number of resumes hiring managers look at on a daily basis that include mistakes is very high. Review your resume for spelling, grammar, and formatting mistakes, and then review it again. Use spell check. Read it backwards, and read it out loud. Take a break and read it again. Furthermore, you should never rely solely on proofreading your own work because you won’t catch all of the errors. With that in mind, be sure to give your resume to at least three other people to review, too.

  • LinkZelda88

    “Your popular and busy” – LOL read #10. You need to follow your own advice….

    Good article BTW.

  • Shalina

    Excellent article. In Malaysia they want to know your age, marital status and etc and its a norm. People in Malaysia have no sense of privacy.

  • lili

    Those 10 things are good, but when someone recommend you, your resume is not so important. Am I right….?

    • anon

      Are we talking about internal recommendations or letters of recommendation from external sources. If internal, then the hiring process might be streamlined for you, but the way you present yourself and your qualifications is still very important, otherwise you might not make it through the streamlined process.

      If it is an external recommendation (i.e. a letter of recommendation) I’d save these for when the employer asks for additional qualifications (unless you’re uploading to some company’s career website).

      Think of letters of recommendation like references. You wouldn’t give the employer a list of references until he asks.

  • Useful article.

  • jack

    If you remove the objective, how do you start a resume ?? I mean will it be abrupt to start with your experience ???

    • The Doctor Is In

      Start with a summary statement – not an objective/goal/job type statement, but a one or two sentence statement that summarizes your best (but only most relevant) skills for that position. If you can pull some skill keywords from the job description itself that would fit in your summary without appearing cut and pasted out of place, even better. For me, in biotech, something like “I’m a research scientist with 10 years’ experience with flow cytometry and immunoassays” would do it, assuming the job description specified both flow cytometry and immunoassays.

  • abolfazl

    why should we remove our picture?

  • MightyPen81

    i’ve always been told that you SHOULD include personal interests (nr 3) since employers would be interested to know that you lead a healthy balanced life outside of work as well. It also suggests that you could be an interesting person to work with.

    • Rec

      Personal interests should be left off a CV. They can be used to make quick assumptions about the candidate i.e. if all of your interests are solo activities you could be seen as not a team player.

  • This article is good advice-clearly written and to the

    As principal of Impera Executive Recruiters, I review
    numerous résumés each day. Many of these résumés have, what I call,
    “non-value added content”, which often detracts from the most
    important purpose of a resume; to outline one’s professional experience and

    Candidates often feel that if they don’t include everything, they will not present
    themselves effectively. The truth is that one can write a comprehensive résumé
    and keep it simple at the same time.

    The advice I often give my candidates is to “read your
    resume through the eyes of the hiring manager”. Using this filter, it is easier
    to pare down the verbiage and focus on the details that matter most to the hiring
    manager- mainly, how this candidate can provide value for my company.

    In today’s business environment, where information overload
    is ubiquitous, it is imperative to keep résumés clear, direct and
    uncluttered. It reads easier, highlights
    key skills better and allows an individual’s talent to be showcased successfully.

    Vickie Rotante

  • Mirna K

    Including personal interests can give information on the type of person that you are. if you like basketball versus paining…
    deleting too many personal information would not help the recruiter- it will make all CV seem as black and white. a little bit of personal information is like adding color (stress on the little bit”). this would also save time for you and the recruiter.
    if they are looking for team players and all my interests and hobbies tend towards solo activities, then why bother?

  • Simpson Judge

    This is complete tripe … Have you got a time machine back to 1995 … Have you heard of Linkedin? Do you put a picture on there? Isnt it the first thing people look at? …. I think people writing this sort of tripe need to come into the future. A people focused business looking for best fit should be interested in an individuals personal interests … it is what defines them as a person – to say an employer should not be interested is very short sited and narrow minded. Its 2013 and time to change the status quo.

    There are some valid points here but in the main – tripe.

    • Graeme from Australia

      … but isn’t the extra personal and other info sought and evaluated separately, later, where relevant?
      So I agree wilth the article – keep it out of the resume.

    • anon

      LinkedIn is a good source, but in general I don’t include personal information from my LinkedIn profile on my resume. Having said that, I have one line on my resume for a LinkedIn profile link so that if the hiring manager wants to they can look at all the people that have recommended me for a particular skill-set. I also tend to periodically here from recruiters that see my LinkedIn profile and ask for my resume. Nonetheless, while LinkedIn has most of the stuff that my resume has, LinkedIn is different from what I give to recruiters/hiring managers.

  • Adam Jayme

    When you only include relevant jobs, that makes it look as if you have gaps in employment… Isn’t that worse than including irrelevant jobs? Thx.