Have you ever passed by a billboard and thought, “Hey, I need to stop my car and read everything that’s on there.” We’re guessing probably not.
That’s because the point of a billboard is to catch your eye without overwhelming you with information. A successful billboard―any advertisement―needs to be straightforward, clever, and memorable to show (not tell) your audience exactly what you’re selling.
This same scenario also applies to the handy tool that can either be your best friend or your worst enemy in the job search world: your résumé. It’s not just your shot at making a great first impression, it’s also the ideal way to show employers how well you present yourself in a professional environment.
So, without any further ado, here are my five things you need to remove from your résumé ASAP!
1. High School Jobs and Unrelated Internships
We all started somewhere, right? We get it. You need work experience to get more work experience. But if you’re a seasoned professional who’s been a part of the workforce for more than 10 years, a short stint at an ice cream shop in high school shouldn’t be included on your résumé. The same goes for any internships that don’t have any relatable, transferable skills to your current career.
2. Unconnected Hobbies
Snowboarding, going to concerts, camping, jumping rope, and burping the alphabet are all cool hobbies, but don’t need to take up any of your precious résumé space. If you happen to be an illustrator who dabbles in Chinese calligraphy, maybe, but chances are that your hobbies don’t relate to the types of positions for which you’re applying.
3. Unprofessional Personal Information
There’s no need to provide more personal information than your name, phone number, email info, and links to your portfolio and professional social media profiles. Maybe your address. But please don’t include a photo, your marital status, or any super inappropriate social media profiles (say the one that includes a photo of you shotgunning a beer).
4. The Third (or Even Second) Page
While there is no cookie-cutter résumé, nor should there be, there is such a thing as too much information. Remember that billboard we talked about? Managers who are hiring have so many résumés to review they’re probably taking no more than 30 seconds to look at each one. Which is why it’s so important to try to get your résumé down to one page (two pages if need be) and remove any unnecessary “fluff”. Speaking of fluff, don’t try to exaggerate or—even worse—lie about any of your work history. It’s going to work against you in the long run.
5. Grammar and Spelling Errors
We saved the best for last! Please, please, please (need we say that again?) proofread and spellcheck your résumé before submitting it to any job application. You only have one shot to make that lasting first impression and be shortlisted for an interview. If a hiring manager spots a spelling or grammar mistake, your résumé could quickly be taken out of consideration. Don’t let this ruin your chances of landing the job of your dreams. If you need to, have a friend or family member look over your résumé as a second set of eyes. Sometimes the smallest things get overlooked.