As young professionals, we want to blow away employers with our credentials. That means we often pack everything we can into a résumé with little regard for the reader’s time and attention.
Well, we live in a hectic world, and employers don’t have time to sift through our autobiographies for the information that matters.
Open your résumé and cut out these nine items. They are unnecessary, and won’t help your job search.
1. Anything from high school-and a lot from college (Part I)
You’re an adult in the real world. After college, nothing from high school matters. If you’re a recent college graduate and need to lean on college credentials, only list the most impressive extracurriculars—not every club you joined.
You will never hear this: “Treasurer of your freshman dorm? Wow! When can you start?”
2. Your résumé bullet points 5-10
The difference between you jobless and you with a job is the ability to quickly explain yourself.
- People don’t have time to read about everything you’ve done.
- Decide what matters and what needs to go.
- Only include four bullet points.
- After four bullet points, the reader wanders off and … Hey! Come back here. I’m not done yet!
3. A lot from college (Part II): A list of your college classes
Which matters more: a course you took on business management, or the company you created for a class project? Employers don’t care that you took Supply Chain Management 357, but they do care about the skills you gained from it.
Again, if you must rely on your time in college, spare the course titles and focus on the experience.
4. Vague descriptions
Don’t write: “Maintained a large database and assisted with organization’s fundraising efforts.”
That’s the worst way to put it. Where are the specifics? The sizzle?
Do write: “Maintained a database of 42,000 donors and helped the organization raise $11.4 million during the 2013 capital campaign.”
See? Details make all the difference.
5. The third page of your résumé
A two-page résumé from a 20-something is questionable, which means three is out of the question.
Give employers a tight, shrewdly worded one-page résumé. Don’t make it longer to impress them. It won’t. Less is always more.
6. The words “such as” and “utilize”
“Such as” and “utilize” scream, “I want to come off as smart! Please hire me!”
Exchange “such as” for “like” and “utilize” for “use.”
Oh, and don’t use “amazing.” It’s overdone.
7. Microsoft Word as a skill
Of course you know how to use Word. So does your grandmother. Leave this “skill” off the list.
8. The phrase “responsible for”
How many times does this phrase appear on your résumé? “Responsible for” is flat and uninteresting. Use words like “oversee” and “managed,” which demonstrate leadership.
9. A selfish mission statement
“I am an energetic marketing professional who enjoys social media management and developing branding strategies.”
Stop talking about what you like to do, and start talking about what the company needs:
“I am an energetic marketing professional who wants to help your company build its brand and grow business.”
The difference in tone is striking.
What other parts of a résumé need to go? Share your suggestions below.
Danny Rubin writes News To Live By, a blog for millennials that highlights the career and leadership lessons hidden in the day’s top stories. A former TV journalist, Danny uses current events to demonstrate how we can improve our writing, networking, public speaking and all the other real world skills. Follow Danny at @NewsToLiveBy. A version of this article originally appeared on News To Live By.