5 things to remove from your resume today

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It's no secret that your resume can make or break your job search. While the vast majority of career coaching and job search guidance is focused (rightfully so) on what should be included in your resume, I’d like to offer some brief tips on what should not.

After reviewing thousands of resumes as both a recruiter and a career coach, I’ve compiled a longggggggg list of resume don’ts. Here are my top 5 things you should remove from your resume today, and some helpful suggestions on what to add in their place!


You don’t need an objective. You do not.

Most objectives sound something like this: “To obtain a position that will enable me to use my strong organizational skills, high-quality educational background, and ability to work well with people” or “Applying for an entry-level position where I can positively contribute to a growing, dynamic organization.”

Yawn. Recruiters and hiring managers already know that you’re applying for the position -- you applied for it!


For most candidates (especially recent grads and/or candidates with less than 5 years of experience), nothing! Seriously! An objective takes up valuable space on the page -- space that can and should be used to highlight your skills within a tailored section and your experience within strong bullet points.

If you're making a career change and would like to provide potential employers with context, or if you're a candidate with 5+ years of experience and would like to include some language to open your resume, here's my advice: rather than sharing what you’re looking for in a position with a vague objective, tell employers what you bring to the table by crafting a summary -- briefly highlight your relevant experience, including key results you’ve achieved, and any additional info that will help recruiters and hiring managers learn who you are and why you’re a strong fit for the position.


Don’t do it. “Responsible for” screams job description (and honestly, not even a good job description). Also, the phrase doesn’t tell recruiters or hiring managers what you really did or accomplished, aside from having some level of ownership over a project or task.

Which sounds better? -- “Responsible for creation of quarterly marketing newsletter shared with public clients” or “Write, edit, and publish original content for quarterly marketing newsletter shared with 500+ global public clients.”


Focus the attention on your actions and results rather than your responsibilities. Generally speaking, the word that comes directly after “responsible for” is most likely the word you should be using to start your bullet point.

If you’re having trouble thinking of action verbs to use throughout your resume, here are 2 of my holy grail resume action verb lists that I share with friends, students, and clients -- I recommend bookmarking them both immediately!


“Strong communication skills” “Diligent work ethic” “Ability to work independently” -- fluff, fluff, and more fluff. While recruiters and hiring managers value soft skills during interviews, and employers value these skills when you’re actually in the position, avoid using these bland, vague “skills” within your resume.


Hard skills that are required for and/or relevant to the positions you’re applying for! For example, if the job description requires experience in using applicant tracking systems and social media platforms to source candidates, don’t simply say “Experienced with applicant tracking systems” -- note your proficiency in systems and platforms such as Greenhouse, Lever, Taleo, or LinkedIn.


We’re so used to just putting resumes together with our full mailing address that we haven't really stopped to think about why. In 2018, a potential employer doesn’t need your full address to get in touch with you -- your email address (a professional one, please!) and your phone number will do just fine. If you'd like to mention where you’re currently located, feel free to share your city and state.


Highlight your digital presence -- share a link to your LinkedIn profile, a personal or business website, or social media accounts (if they’re professional and relevant). Draw attention to other spaces where recruiters and hiring managers can learn more about who you are and why you’re a great fit for the role.


I should’ve put this first, because inconsistent formatting is a no. AN ABSOLUTE NO.

When crafting a resume, you want recruiters and hiring managers to spend time reviewing your content, not flinching at your format. Make formatting choices, and stick with them throughout the resume. If your bullet points end in periods, make sure they ALL do. If you’re writing your months with 3 letters, make sure they’re ALL written with 3 letters.


Select a format that’s clear and displays your skills, experience, and personality. Print and proofread your resume several times on your own. Finally, have a friend, mentor, and/or professional review it and provide you with detailed feedback.

We don’t always have the hours that it takes to fully overhaul a resume -- hopefully these tips will come in handy when you have a few moments to do a quick update!