Writing your resume/CV for the first time? Updating a long-unused existing one? Maybe you’re trying to spice it up to stand out from the crowd.

You know your resume/CV is usually the first impression you make on a potential employer or recruiter. This is your chance to show off what you can do, to convince the reader that you’re worthy of an interview.

Yet you’re not getting a foot in the door and your resume/CV isn’t being taken seriously. Could you be making some serious resume/CV faux pas? Sure, you know you shouldn’t include your date of birth or how many kids you have, but what about links to your social media profiles? They’re important, right?

Give your resume/CV a fighting chance of being read by recruiters. Here are 10 things to remove from your resume/CV right now. Some obvious and some you might not have thought about.

Photos. 98% of recruiters won’t take you seriously if you include a photo. Seriously!

It’s not standard practice to add a photo to a resume/CV in North America unless you’re in a role that demands it, such as an actor or model. Recruiters will often delete resume/CV with photos to avoid accusations of discrimination. Not only that, but according to one survey, 98% of recruiters would take you less seriously if you include a photo.

Resume, CV or Curriculum Vitae

You know it’s a resume/CV. The reader knows it’s a resume/CV. Why waste space by reiterating the point? Putting your first and last name and contact information on the resume/CV will do just fine. If you want to make your name stand out then go ahead. Use colour, larger font size or different font to the rest of the document. Just don’t go overboard.

Personal detail

Yes, you should try to add a hint of personality, but there’s really no need to include a stack of personal detail. Not only does it clutter up your resume/CV but it’s irrelevant thanks to the raft of anti-discrimination legislation. This means specifics such as date of birth, age, gender, marital status or number of children should all be removed. This information shouldn’t matter to an employer or whether you are capable of doing the job.

Negative wording

Refrain from using negatives on your resume/CV. This includes highlighting negative facts or using words such as awful, mistake, or fault. Try to re-frame information in a positive light. If you completed a degree but got a bad grade, just leave the result out. Unless you’re in a specific sector such as legal or medical, it’s not always a requirement to add all your grades anyway. In fact, write as positively as you can at all times!

A fun or kooky email address

I’ve seen many client resume/CV with personal “fun” email addresses such as crazygirl@yahoo or booblicious@hotmail . While great for keeping in touch with your Facebook buddies you should use a professional sounding email for your resume/CV. Free email addresses are easy to come by; pick one and use your given name, it’s not rocket science.

Links to all your social media profiles

There are valid reasons to include a link to particular social media profiles and some believe that links should always be included. If you’re applying for a job in social media or digital marketing, for example, it makes sense to add this information. Plus it’s becoming common practice to add a LinkedIn URL in contact details; make sure your profile is up to date and active first though. My recommendation is unless your profile is professional or of value to your career, then keep the likes of Facebook and Twitter well away from your resume/CV.

Lies, lies and more lies

Your resume/CV needs to show what you’ve achieved and how you can help a prospective employer. By all means make your skills and achievements look good. Just don’t lie about it. Don’t take credit for things you didn’t do. Don’t over-embellish your skills, tell fibs about the jobs you’ve done or suggest you’ve got a qualification when you haven’t.

Salary or salary expectations

Some job ads ask you to note your salary expectations. Even so, you need to remove salaries from your resume/CV. You’re putting yourself at risk of salary mismatch with a potential employer and not being shortlisted. The reader may view you as too expensive or too junior based on previous salaries. You also jeopardize remuneration negotiations and weaken your position if offered the job as the employer already knows your salary expectations.

Reason for leaving

Unnecessary to include and takes up valuable space. This can be discussed at the interview if the recruiter is interested in why you’ve left a job. Many people move on for positive reasons. However, you risk coming across as negative if you word things in a particular way. Best not take that chance so remove this distracting detail from your resume/CV.


Unless a job advert requests this information upfront, you can remove referee details from your resume/CV This prevents your referees from being hassled by time wasters. Also, the phrase “references available on request” is outdated. Don’t waste valuable space on your resume/CV stating something people already know. It’s expected that you’ll furnish an employer with referee details at some point during the recruiting process but at this stage, it’s usually not a requirement.

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