Top 10 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

Posted: September 27, 2019

Written by Gerald Walsh Associates

Are you a job seeker sending out resume after resume and getting no response? While it may be possible that you don’t have the right background or qualifications, it is equally possible that your resume contains things that may not resonate with the employer.

Remember, employers often receive dozens – if not hundreds – of resumes for job openings. Since they don’t have time to carefully read every one, they sometimes look for reasons to quickly reject an applicant. Typos, grammatical errors and bad formatting are three obvious reasons for putting you in the “don’t interview” pile.

But what else might be contributing to your lack of success in getting interviews? Here are a few tips of what else you should avoid including on your resume:

1. Salary history

Any discussion about salary is best left until much later in the hiring process, ideally after you have interviewed at least once with the employer. Salary is very much a process of negotiation and revealing your salary history could put you at a significant disadvantage in the negotiation process.

2. Reason why you left previous jobs

This will inevitably come up during the interview process and you should be prepared to discuss it only then.

3. References

Providing references in advance opens the door to the possibility that the employer will call one of your references before you even know if you really want the job. This could be embarrassing particularly if your references are linked to your current employer. If an employer is interested in you, they will ask for references later in the process. You can even leave out the standard line “References provided upon request.”

4. Political or religious affiliation

Unless you are applying for a job within a political or religious organization, avoid referencing any involvement you might have with these organizations.

5. Jargon or abbreviations

Don’t write anything that might limit the reader’s understanding of your capabilities. Always use generally-understood descriptions unless you are certain that it will be read by people who are familiar with the terminology.

6. Irritating buzzwords

Words like: “mission-critical,” “traction,” “synergies,” and “foster” are words that do not need to find their way into your resume, cover letter, or interview.

7. Lies, exaggerations and embellishments

Pretty much everything you state on your resume can be checked or at a minimum, you might have to provide proof (such as educational credentials). If you are hired and it is later discovered that you were deliberately untruthful on your resume, you could be fired “for cause,” which usually means you receive no notice or severance pay.

8. Where you live

You no longer need to include your address at the top of your resume. It’s highly unlikely any employer is going to send you anything by mail, and it could introduce the risk of economic profiling or an assumption about the length of your commute. Your preferred email address and the phone number where you can be reached most easily is all that is required.

9. A less than professional email account

If you still use an email address from your younger years, like PartyAnimal123@yahoo.com, it would be time to make a change. Getting a new one only takes a few minutes and is free.

10. Personal information

Unless you are applying for a job as a model, actor or news anchor, you should not include a photo of yourself. Likewise, you should omit your date of birth, gender, marital status, height and weight. They are not required by the employer and human rights legislation prevents employers from discriminating on these bases.


Gerald Walsh Associates and the Halifax Connector Program co-presenting at a workshop for Connectees.


The Halifax Partnership’s Connector team works with Gerald Walsh Associates, an investor in the Partnership, to co-host workshops for Connectees on networking skills, interviews tips, job search strategies and more. The next workshop will take place on October 22.

Keep an eye out on our website and social media channels for more Connector Program Anniversary content like this!

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