A good resume should be clear and concise. As a rule of thumb, hiring managers typically take fewer than 10 seconds to scan an entire resume, so it’s important that yours conveys only the most relevant information to your audience.
And since it’s crucial that your resume be quick and easy to read through, it’s important to know what information should be omitted. So to help make your future job search endeavors go more smoothly, we called on Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio, for advice.
Read ahead for seven things she says you should leave off your resume:
1. “References Available Upon Request”
Unless your list of references includes a recognizable name that holds weight in your industry, omit references or “References Available Upon Request” from the resume altogether. Your references won’t come into play until well into the hiring process, once they’re ready to extend an offer — and only then will they ask for them.
2. Hobbies & Personal Interests
For the same reason as references, listing hobbies and personal interests won’t add much value for a hiring manager who is primarily looking for professionally focused skills critical to the role. The exception here would be if your personal interests directly relate to the company or position — i.e. you are an avid runner or marathoner applying for a role at a sporting goods or athletic apparel company, in which case you understand their core customer.
3. Internships (After a certain experience level)
In most cases, once you’ve hit a certain level in your career, earlier experience like internships and entry-level roles may no longer be relevant. Instead, your recent work experience will hold more weight, and it’s best to focus on your most relevant accomplishments and skill sets. The exception may be if your internship was with a prominent program or organization.
4. Academic Activities (After a certain experience level)
As with internships, the same holds true for certain academic achievements that may no longer hold weight once you’re further into your career. These could include clubs, presentations, papers, etc. Awards and athletic accomplishments may be worth highlighting, as they speak to soft skills like leadership and work ethic.
5. Certain Technical Skills
While you should always refer to the job description to get a sense of what keywords and skill sets a hiring manager will be looking for, it’s not always necessary to include technical skill sets that are not relevant to the job. These can include outdated software versions, databases and programs that don’t fit with your function, or platforms for which it’s assumed one is proficient (i.e. Microsoft Word). The exception here would be including recent software you learned, simply to show your continued learning, or foreign languages.
6. An Objective Statement
An objective statement speaks to your own interests and personal goals, which — while important — doesn’t provide the critical information that a hiring manager needs. A summary statement in comparison, focuses on the relevant skills, experience, and value you can bring to an employer.
7. Personal Explanations
Leavy-Detrick says she’s often seen people include notes on their resume to explain timeline gaps or inconsistencies — such as traveling abroad, family leave, or unemployment. A resume is more about highlighting your accomplishments. Those items are best left to the cover letter, and only then does it make sense to address them if you can spin them positively back to the role. For example, if you took a year off to travel, what did you learn and how might that add value in your professional life?