Four Things to Leave off your Resume

Patrick MurphyBy Patrick Murphy | I have been with Sutherland since September 2013. Prior to that I worked in Agency Recruiting. I was born in England, and moved to the US in 1998. I attended SUNY Brockport and graduated with a bachelors in Business. Two qualities I prefer in leaders (and that I try to emulate myself) are candor and a clear sense of direction.

So often, we hear from career experts on what we should include on our resumes to get picked up by recruiters and computerized systems. However, most of us don’t often consider enough what we should NOT include.

Here are four things to consider leaving OFF the resume:

A generic objective statement (use a profile summary, customized for the position, instead)

For a long time, writing a generic objective statement was an absolute must. It was often the first thing on a person’s resume. Times have changed. Due to the generic nature of these statements, recruiters often skip this section in search of something more specific to what they are looking for. You only have one to two pages to impress and persuade. Use that space you would have used for a bland buzzword-filled sentence to cover your qualifications instead.

Rather than an objective statement, considering putting down

  • a customized link to your LinkedIn profile
  • a list of skills customized to the position to which you’re applying
  • a summary with key words pulled from the job posting, targeted at computerized systems


Another standard but outdated practice is listing references or writing “reference available upon request”. This is no longer necessary since most employers will ask for references before extending a job offer. Leave this section out and free up room to talk about your accomplishments.

Long Sentences

Brevity is always best on a resume. Recruiters read many resumes each day, and candidates that can say more with fewer words will always stand out. To ensure you are choosing and structuring your words and phrases in the most efficient and impactful way possible, consider the following:

  • After you’ve written your first draft, challenge yourself to remove 20% of the words and still make the same point. You’ll be amazed at what you can trim!
  • Format your accomplishments into a bulleted list. Make sure that each bullet fits on one line.

Some sneaky tips to help with fitting bullet points on one line:

  • Adjust line spacing to ensure readability and allow enough space to get all your points in (line spacing of 1.0 is recommended)
  • Adjust page margins to bump out more space (try 0.75 margins all around)

Irrelevant job history

Listing job dates that go way back in time can work against you, especially if that experience is not in the industry or field to which you’re applying. Most employers only find the last 10-15 years of employment relevant for senior roles, and 5-10 years for more junior roles. If you’ve had multiple positions across many industries, customize your resume each time to highlight the experience most pertinent to the position you are applying for.

Remember, while these can be helpful tips, you should always prepare your resume in a manner that you think is best suited for your audience. Put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes and really consider what a recruiter would want to see. Put your most relevant or impressive information first, and make their job as easy as possible!

<< Look for these facts daily! There will be one FALSE fact each month. See if you can spot them. If you do, let us know!

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