With advances in technology over the last few decades, humans now receive over five times as much information each day as 20 years ago. On a daily basis, we’re being bombarded by 174 newspapers full of data. With so much to take in, the last place you need superfluous information is your resume.
If your resume is lucky enough to be graced by human eyes, you’ll have less than 20 seconds to make an impact worthy enough to ensure your application avoids the circular file.
Here are 7 things to remove so that your most powerful content shines through.
– An objective describes what YOU (the job seeker) want. Companies have the pick of the litter and are less concerned about what you’re looking for at this point and more interested in how you can solve their problems. If you include a well-crafted Profile and focused resume, your objective should be apparent.
2) Multiple phone numbers
– Most everyone has a personal cell phone and this is the number to include on the resume. When conducting a search, a Recruiter might call any time, including evenings. Avoid putting a home phone that may be answered by your teenager (who forgets to pass on the message) or an outgoing message with your toddler telling the caller you’re not home. If you’re employed, do not put your office phone.
3) Work Experience from 20+ years ago
– While there are exceptions to every rule, it’s unlikely that what you did 20 years ago trumps the skills and experience you’ve gained in the last decade. It’s not worth risking being overlooked due to possible age discrimination just to include a few entry-level roles.
4) Basic Technology Skills
– Most professionals are proficient with e-mail, the Internet and basic Windows applications. If not, it would be challenging to apply for many jobs available today. Listing basic technology skills can backfire and be a red flag indicating that you aren’t comfortable with technology. Instead, include an e-mail address, Linked In URL and potentially a portfolio website (i.e., About.me) in your Header to demonstrate you are tech savvy. Also, anytime you SHOW it vs. tell it, you’ll have greater impact.
5) Redundant or irrelevant information
– This category includes everything from hobbies and interests to redundant skills and jobs that don’t support your candidacy. Save hobbies for the upcoming lunch interview and discuss the part-time job you have at Target for the employee discount only if and when relevant. If you’ve performed similar tasks in several jobs, craft specific accomplishments for each job that SHOW your skills versus listing redundant info.
6) Page 3 or more
– With the exception of Executives with extensive experience or Professors who use Curriculum Vitas, most resumes should be no more than 2 pages. If you can’t condense your accomplishments to fit this maximum, your most powerful content is getting diluted (see # 3 – 5 above). In the words of Queen Gertrude, “More matter, less art.” (Hamlet, Shakespeare)
7) References available upon request
– The Recruiter already knows this. In today’s world, it’s unlikely you’ll be hired without a background check, a Google search, and at least 2 strong references.