Thursday, February 12, 2015

What Not to Write

By Maura Gergerich, Toppel Peer Advisor

If you ask someone for assistance with your resume you probably get bombarded with lists of things that you need to have on it or that you may have forgotten to include. While what is supposed to be included on your resume is all very important, it is also crucial that some information be left off to make it more effective.

1. Previous salary information
You shouldn't talk money with an employer until after you have been extended a job offer. On your resume, the most important part of your experience to emphasize is what you did and what it accomplished. Having payment information may give employers the wrong idea when they look over your resume so avoid that by simply not talking about it unless it’s specifically asked of you.

2. Why you left previous jobs
Do not put this on your resume! You want to highlight your experiences in a positive light and focus on your accomplishments. You may be asked why you left previous positions in an interview so feel free to discuss it there. Just make sure you don’t talk down upon any employers or co-workers or companies. Be as nice as you can while answering honestly.

3. References
If an employer wants to see your references they will ask you specifically. Be prepared and have them available, but do not list them on your resume. Even including “references available upon request” is not necessary because it is implied that if an employer asks for your references, you will be able to provide them.

4. High School information
Freshman year it's ok to list your high school information and activities because you are still transitioning to a new school and may not have a ton of experiences there yet. However, from your sophomore year on, you should aim to filter that stuff off. Your high school should not be listed in your education section and activities and experiences should only stay on if they were extremely relevant to your field or work history.

5. Your starting year at an institution
You should have your graduating month and year listed by the institution you are attending and that is enough for dates. It’s common for people to want to include things like “2010-2014” or “2012-present”. These things can all be implied by just your grad date. If it’s a year that hasn’t happened yet, employers will know that you are still in school without having to blatantly say so.

6. Jargon 
You don’t want to have any information that won’t be understood by the person reading it. Any sort of abbreviations should be fully spelled out and any jargon from a specific job should be avoided. Even if there is something that is understood in your field, keep in mind that a company may have hiring managers that aren't experts in every field.

7. Lies and exaggerations
This should basically speak for itself. Everything on your resume should be truthful. Don’t try to exaggerate your skills or what you did for a certain position because you may be asked to fill a position based on what you say that you are not qualified for.

8. Personal information
Short of applying to acting or modeling positions, do not include a picture of yourself on your resume. Similarly, things like your date of birth or gender shouldn't be listed. Also along those lines, interpersonal skills such as “leader” or “motivated” should not be listed in a skills section. 

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