Even the crispest resume with the best qualifications can be worthless if recruiters catch a serious mistake.

Hiring is like a blind date. Both parties have certain expectations of each other, and many inferences are made based on first impressions. Your resume is your first and most important impression in this tricky dance of getting employers to recognize your value.

You can be the most eligible bachelor (or bachelorette) but one social faux pas could eviscerate any interest people may have in you. The job market has the same dynamic.

To help you, here are some useful tips on what not to include your resume.

Your Hobbies

No one in a professional setting is going to care about amateur accomplishments, and this is clutter.  If you are trying to turn your hobby or passion into a career, or if you think your hobbies help make you a more ideal candidate, frame this experience as volunteer experience. However, hobbies are best to exclude if they are not completely relevant.

The one exception would be impressive achievements that would universally communicate values employers would like to see, for example: raising a significant amount of money for charity, going to the Olympics, or National Championships etc.

Statements About Your Objectives

Previously, some professional resume writers and other information on the web would suggest to have a clearly defined “objective” for your application. This is redundant; the fact that you have taken the time to apply makes your intentions obvious. Your application should be about what you can do for your employer, not vice-versa.

Empty or Flowery Language

The main point here: Good writing is not necessarily complex writing, good writing is clear writing. A multi-syllable word may help you show your grasp on complex technicalities related to your field, but it may confuse a recruiter. Unless if your resume and CV are for a graduate school application or a research grant, always keep it simple.

A good rule of thumb: Can this sentence be read by someone without my background knowledge? Is this something that you would see written in a newspaper?

Finally, avoid unnecessary adjectives at all cost. Adjectives should enhance concrete results you are talking about; any ambiguous or flowery language will immediately be taken as fluff that is exaggerating or hiding something because clearer language was not used.

For example,

Ambiguous: I am an excellent typist with superb word processing skills.

Clear: I can type 90 WPM and I have 6+ years experience using the entire Microsoft Office Suite.

Soft Skills in a Skills Section

Soft skills will not make you more competitive, but they are often minimum requirements to be considered. Writing soft skills under “skills” where hard and technical skills would go will make employers think that you really don’t have any hard skills to offer. Make sure you do include soft skills, but do not make them the highlight of your resume as you will often need much more to be competitive.

These are some Do’s and Don’ts. We hope these were helpful and we would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below! Use these tips to de-clutter your resume of red flags for recruiters so that your resume really lets your greatness shine!

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