What NOT to Do on a Resume

Your resume is an important factor in whether or not you will be considered for an interview. It is a potential employer’s first impression of you. A resume should document your experiences, skills and education to determine if you are qualified for a position. Many hiring managers look through resumes quickly as they decide to pass on candidates or consider interviewing them. You want to avoid making mistakes that could leave a bad impression and land your resume in the “no” pile.

Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Typos and errors are common mistakes and can convey the message you lack attention to detail. A potential employer may think you will make the same errors in the workplace or don’t care enough to make a good first impression. It’s important to have your resume reviewed  before you start submitting applications.

Personal Information other than Contact Information

Do not include age, date of birth, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and martial status. It is illegal and discriminatory for employers to make hiring decisions based on these factors. The only personal information you need is your contact information. U.S. resumes do not require a photo.

Long Paragraphs of Text

Employers might miss your achievements if descriptions are long, rambling and too wordy. It can come across as a lack of communication skills. A resume should be concise and easy to read. Don’t include lengthy descriptions of everything you have done at every job. Use bullet points to highlight qualifications and accomplishments.

Starting Phrases with Personal Pronouns

Don’t include “I”, “My”, “Me” and other personal pronouns. Begin statements with action words. An interviewer knows the resume is about you and your experiences. Don’t talk about yourself in the 3rd person.

Inaccuracies about Experience and Skills

Concentrate on the work experience and skills you have to offer rather than making up skill sets you don’t have. Highlight any transferrable skills you may have. Being dishonest can be exposed if the interviewer asks for more detail about something on your resume and you don’t know the answer.

Personal Interests and Hobbies

Use the space on a resume to prioritize your qualifications for a position rather than hobbies and things you are interested in. Personal interests are not relevant to the ability to do the job. You should only list hobbies if they are relevant to the profession.


You don’t have to put ‘references available upon request’ on a resume. Interviewers assume applicants have them. Prepare a separate list of references to furnish upon request. Make sure to ask individuals ahead of time if they will be a reference for you.

If you need help getting started or want more information, visit the Resumes 101: Putting it Together section of our website.


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