Why These 20 Aspects Must Be Avoided In Your Resume

What to not mention in your resume

Getting ‘sustained’ attention is a luxury in this day and age.  And a recruiter’s attention to your resume is a key aspect of a job search. Because your resume is the face of your profile, creating a good first impression of your candidature is pivotal for being called for that awaited interview.

In order to retain the focus on professional aspects of your profile, there are few things that should not be mentioned in your resume. Or at least they must be avoided as much as possible. Any unwanted information could lead to bias trickling in wherever there is scope for it and derail our job search attempts. This article will cover the 20 aspects that you should avoid mentioning in your resume.  

What to avoid mentioning in your resume
  1. Personal information: Sharing your home address, date of birth year, marital status, and religion does not reflect your professional expertise. Some of this information may be required during the interview stage(s) but need not be mentioned in your resume. In a day and age, when safety and security are a major priority, it is best when you don’t want your personal information floating around the web. So, avoid mentioning personal information in your resume.


  1. Unrelated work experiences: Mentioning irrelevant work experience could blur your actual core experience. And since recruiters have limited time and attention, you could risk losing your professional details in excess text. Unrelated work experiences may not contribute to your professional profile and instead could be distracting from your relevant qualifications or experiences.


  1. Irrelevant hobbies or interests: While it’s good to show some personality and originality in your resume, listing hobbies or interests that are not relevant to the job may take up valuable space on your resume. They can certainly be shared during a discussion by adding how they help your well-being or unwinding time. However, if your hobby or interest is in line with your profession, for example, if it is to mentor and coach others, then yes, you may certainly add it in your resume.
resume writing

4. Salary information: This is a big no-no! Salary history and details are confidential information and need not be mentioned on your resume, beforehand. It is important to save those discussions for later stages of the hiring process. You may want to explore the chances of a salary negotiation after your skills and expertise have been interviewed. Who knows, perhaps your profile deserves a much better hike than what could be calculated on paper.

5. References: It is often seen that resumes mention references at the end of a resume. Sometimes, we may mention “references available on request” as well. It’s not necessary to include references on your resume. If the employer wants references, it is an understood practice that they will ask for them separately.

6. Reason for job search or leaving past jobs: While recruiters will be interested to know why you started your job search or why you left your previous job, the resume is not the right place to mention it. Make sure that the reason for leaving past jobs is not mentioned in your resume.

If you have been impacted due to a layoff or headcount correction, it is okay to mention “job displacement” but nothing more than that. Layoffs are a part of the economic trend and many are impacted by it. But you can save the detailed explanations for an interview if asked.

7. Unexplained gaps in employment: If you have gaps in your work history, it’s not necessary to elaborate on them in your resume. You can address them in your cover letter or during an interview if needed.

8. Spelling and grammar mistakes: This could be a deal-breaker. Spelling and grammar mistakes can create a negative impression and suggest a lack of attention to detail. Ensure your resume is error-free. The resume is the first representation that a recruiter will see about you. By writing your profile in a well-designed format with professional English, your chances of getting more attention from the recruiter are higher. You must leave an impression in the few seconds the recruiter scans your profile.

what to not write in a resume

9. Unprofessional email addresses: An email is an extension of yourself. Using a professional email address that includes your name is advisable. Avoid using a casual or quirky email id that you might have used in the past. Email is a frequent mode of communication. And if the email id is something hilarious or too informal, it indirectly reflects a lack of seriousness and could distract the recruiter from your profile.

10. Unrelated certifications: While certifications and professional development are valuable to show that you have invested in yourself, only include those that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Listing unrelated certifications may not add value to your application. It is advisable to use discretion with regard to this.  

11. Social media profiles: Unless your social media accounts are professionally focused and add value to your application (e.g., a personal website or LinkedIn profile), it’s best not to include links to personal social media profiles. We do not want recruiters or employers to form perceptions based on one’s personal social activity and give scope to various biases.

12. High school education: Generally, once you have a college degree or higher, it is understood that you have completed your high school education. There’s no need to include high school education on your resume. However, exceptions might apply for certain entry-level positions or if you’ve accomplished something exceptional during that time. And unless the employer seeks that information, it is typically deemed as ‘an old school’ practice.

13. Long paragraphs: The sign of a good resume is if it is easy to scan and easy to read. Recruiters may not have the time to read several paragraphs of information. So, avoid long paragraphs. While A.I. may do the job of screening resumes, ultimately your resume will land in the hands of humans, who want to find impactful resumes. Your resume must tell a story in fewer words. Write in concise sentences, use bullet points, and if necessary, infographics to make your profile stand out. Long paragraphs can be overwhelming and may cause important information to be overlooked.

14. Photograph: Unless specifically requested by the employer (which is rare in most regions), avoid including a photograph of yourself on your resume. Hiring decisions should be based on qualifications and experience, not appearance. We need to minimize any scope for bias or unnecessary influence. But an important call out is that in some industries there may be differing views on this. For example, in the hospitality industry, presenting one’s best self in well-groomed way is important. Hence, a photograph may be an expectation. All in all, if a photograph does not contribute much to your work, then it is recommended to avoid it.

what to not write in a CV

15. Jargon and acronyms: Avoid using industry-specific jargon or acronyms that might not be familiar to all readers. Your resume should be easily understandable. If using jargons and technical terms is unavoidable, then take time to elaborate on what was accomplished. This will map your technical jargon, skills to expertise.

16.  Personal opinions or political affiliations: Keep your resume focused on your professional qualifications and avoid expressing personal opinions or political affiliations that could create bias. Progressive employers are inclusive and will avoid anything that shows an opinion on politics, or other delicate topics.

17. Generic objectives: Mentioning ‘objectives’ at the beginning of the resume worked well in the past. But now, it is outdated and generic. Instead, it is important to mention how your profile can help prospective employers. Employers are more interested in what you can offer them, not what you want from them. Instead, consider including a professional summary or a career highlights section.

18. Early unrelated coursework or projects: If you’re an experienced professional, there’s no need to include coursework or projects from your early academic years unless they are directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. But yes, if the academic achievements are worth mentioning due to their noteworthiness, then certainly mention them.

19. Generic buzzwords: Avoid using overused buzzwords or cliches like “hardworking,” “team player,” “go-getter,” etc. Instead, use specific examples and accomplishments to demonstrate your skills. Make sure you use suitable adjectives specific to highlight the depth of your professional expertise. While there is nothing wrong with words such as “go-getter” or “team player”, these words have been overused over time and sound very repetitive or cliched. So it’s best to use holistic words that brand you well and tie up to your entire profile.

20. Fancy fonts or excessive formatting: Stick to a professional and easily readable font for your resume. Avoid using too many colors, images, or intricate designs that might distract from your qualifications.

Every resume you create should be suitable for the job you plan to apply. Suitable in such a way that you highlight your existing skills, experience, and background to match the role fitment. Create a focused, professional resume that is tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. Avoid any unnecessary information that doesn’t contribute to your candidacy. Make sure that your resume aligns with the employer’s needs. Let your resume speak for you. Let it reflect your brand.