Resume No Nos

Written by on June 5, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page


Oh, you like to jog? That's great but, leave it off of your resume.

While working as a recruiter, I came across a resume that had a section called Countries Traveled To. In that section, the countries Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, and India were listed. This definitely made me wonder about this applicant: What was he doing in these countries? How did he end up there? How does one travel to Yemen?

This section really made me think twice about this applicant. I wondered how he would fit into the company and would he be comfortable with the company’s culture. In the end, he got the job but, he started out at a deficit in the application process. That one strange section came very close to overshadowing an otherwise impressive resume.

Your resume is often the only thing that a hiring manager sees before he or she decides whether to interview you. As a result, many people have a tendency to overshare on their resumes. Although some information is vital, there are some things that should never go on your resume.

Your Stats

A strange number of resumes contain information that is better left unsaid. Information such as race, marital status, age, and number of children is not appropriate for a resume. It is illegal to discriminate using this information. However, you don’t want to subconsciously prejudice a hiring manager against you with this information.

It’s also best to leave off information such as your social security number and your date of birth. Yes, a company needs these things once you’re hired but, they have no need for them until that time. So, keep these items off of your resume to protect your identity.

Unrelated Hobbies

It seems that a lot of people feel that they must fill up two pages, whether they have useful information or not. What other explanation is there for putting hobbies like jogging, ethnic food, and reading mysteries on resumes for jobs that have nothing to do with these hobbies?

It’s ok to include hobbies however, those hobbies must relate back to the job. Go ahead and talk about that love of ethnic food, if you’re applying for a job at a cookbook publisher. If you’re applying for a job at a financial firm, keep it to yourself.


There are very jobs where it is appropriate to include a photo. If no one else has mentioned including a photo, do not include one. This is not a common practice and could very well lead to allegations of discrimination. So, please leave the photo off of your resume.

Although there are many things that must be included on a successful resume, there are some things that are better left unsaid. If you follow these rules, your resume will be more effective in your job search.

What information do you think should be left off of a resume?

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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.