What should I leave off my resume?

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What should I leave off my resume?

Here’s an important question. One that I think doesn’t get enough attention. “What does NOT belong on my resume / What should I leave off my resume?” I spend so much time telling people what to include on their resume…how to format…what are keywords, anyway (?) that I neglect something really critical in helping a resume to make a great first impression – what to omit from your resume.

Yes, your email address matters on your resume.

No, you should not use Yahoo, MSN, or AOL as your email provider. I also recommend that you stay away from using your internet provider as your email address. All of these say to the recruiter that you are “of a certain age” (even if you aren’t). Back in the day, I had an AOL account, but not now!

The email providers that are viewed the best are Gmail, iCloud, me.com, Outlook, or your own domain. Please, please, please join me in the 21st century.

Here’s another pet peeve – the email address on your resume needs to be professional. It shouldn’t read “iamkrista@yahoo.com” or “bigbooty@aol.com” or “fanofcuriousgeorge@msn.com.” Your email really does need to be some variation of your name. Nothing else. And if you need to create a separate email just for the purposes of job searching, then DO IT. Keep your regular email addy – but don’t use it on your resume.

Confessions do NOT belong on your resume.

If you were fired from your last position, you do have to disclose that on the job application (if it asks) but omit it from your resume. If you were investigated for any type of fraud, omit it. If you have any misdemeanors on your record, omit it. See where I’m going with this? I typically omit the biggest red flags.

Having said all that, there are times when I recommend that folks LEAN IN. If you are applying for a behavioral health position and have overcome addiction, then yes, consider putting rehab on your resume. If you are an experienced professional, I rarely hide age. Most of all, the content needs to make sense.

Your photo does not belong on your resume.

I blogged about this recently, so please go read my thoughts about photos. Most of the time, leave your picture off of your resume. Bottom line, it introduces bias into the hiring process – and bias is something you cannot control. For me, this falls under the category “unacceptable risk.” LEAVE OFF YOUR PHOTO.

Your home phone number does not belong on your resume. (And your full address does not belong on your resume, either.)

Why, oh why, am I having to say this AGAIN? If you actually have a landline, please leave it off your resume. The only number you need on your resume is your cell phone. Period. Any other number implies that you are over the hill and opens the door to age bias.

Related to your address, it has become common practice to simply put the city, state, and zip code. It is no longer necessary to write your full home address on your resume. As this is a trend, it is critical to conform – or again, you risk being perceived as old.

Depending on the profession, you should leave off MS Office as a skill.

Seriously though, if you have Director, VP, or C in front of your title, I think that it is safe to assume that you know Office 365. The exception to this is if you are an executive assistant, paralegal or belong to a profession with lots of writing or spreadsheeting.

For the inevitable question about bypassing ATS software and omitting MS Word from your resume, I advise putting it in if it is a requirement of the job posting. Otherwise, it’s just taking up space. Plus, thank goodness the recruiting industry is veering away from the use of scanning software!


As always, I am here for advice! Reach out to me at krista@virtuosoresumes.com and we’ll figure it out together.

By | 2021-09-27T16:42:14-07:00 September 27th, 2021|Resume Writing|Comments Off on What should I leave off my resume?

About the Author:

I'm a professional resume writer, recruiter, and job search guru who works with clients from every walk of life - CEO to software engineer, advertising executive, teacher, mechanic, doctor or even mortician (true story). My specialty is crafting individualized documents, telling my clients' stories - and making them shine.