Your resume is a living, breathing document. Often, when it comes to updating our resume, we may feel tempted to just brush through it as quickly as possible, make our changes, and get on with the job hunt. But we’ve got news for you – your resume is probably in need of a refresh. 

Your resume serves as your first impression. Hiring managers are skimming through massive amounts of resumes, so you need your key message and personal brand to shine through. Every word should be meaningful, less is truly more, and do everyone a favor – just get to the point. 

Let’s look at 15 things you should remove from your resume right away.

1. Personal pronouns

We’re starting with this one as it is a seemingly age-old mistake. Although it has never been appropriate to speak in personal pronouns on your resume, it is an unfortunately common mistake, says Peter Yang, a CEO who read more than 1,000 resumes last year. 

This means you want to avoid speaking in first person (“I,” “me,” or “we,” for example) or third person (“he,” “her,” “they,” or something of that sort). It’s your resume, so this is simply unnecessary to clarify. 

2. Your photo 

Including a professional photo on your resume is just generally a bad-taste move. For starters, many recruiters will find this unprofessional. Further, your appearance has nothing to do with your ability to do your job, and including your photo can just lead to unconscious bias. 

There is, however, one caveat to this. If you’re applying for a job that requires a hiring manager to see you (modeling, acting, etc.), it’s appropriate to include a professional headshot. The rest of us should just save it for LinkedIn. 

3. The fluff

Think of your resume as a sacred place – one where less is more, and everything has a purpose. A guiding principle as you write your resume can be to think in terms of concrete examples. Keep your message on point and stick to the facts.

When listing soft skills, don’t go overboard! Always quantify. Remember, if you list too many skills without evidence, you may lose credibility. 

4. Inconsistent formatting

Pick one format and stick with it – simple as that. Don’t lose sight of the larger and smaller details. This includes how you write things and the visual formatting of your resume. 

5. Your objective statement 

Replace the traditional objective statement with a summary of experience. This includes hard skills and transferable skills. Just stick to the point of what you can do for your employer. 

6. Job history older than 10 years

As we said, the space on your resume is precious. Use this space wisely and go into detail about recent positions and accomplishments relevant to the job you’re applying for. 

The goal should be to have four to five positions that don’t go back more than 10-15 years. 

7. Your address

Gone are the days of including your address on your resume. Although it was standard practice, it is unnecessary and, quite frankly, a security risk. Including your address only provides one more piece of criteria for recruiters to judge you on, and you don’t need to provide it. Some employers may look at your address and, even if the job is remote, they will consider time zone differences. 

Additionally, you should only be listing one primary phone number. 

8. Wrong kind of email

Now that you know it isn’t necessary to include your address on your resume, you will want to make sure that your email address is professional and appropriate. By that, we mean, get rid of the outdated email services (AOL, AIM, Hotmail) and ditch the cutesy email address. 

9. Large blocks of text

On average, recruiters will spend six and a half seconds looking at your resume. If you include too much text, it will likely be skipped. With that in mind, make your resume easy to skim. Use bullet points and keep the formatting clean and simple. Just keep in mind balance is key. 

10. Any possibly discriminating information

Age discrimination can be intentional or unintentional. Removing any possible discriminating information will allow the recruiter to have the most unbiased view of you. 

Here are a few examples of possibly discriminating information:

  • Outdated email address
  • Using a school email address
  • Double spacing after the period
  • Any dates other than work history
  • GPA 
  • Font choice (think, Time New Roman)
  • Embellishing entry-level positions

11. Links to irrelevant social

LinkedIn is always a must, but we urge you to seriously consider if the other links will highlight your skills or your work. You must always ask yourself, “what does this connect to professionally?” Think about the industry and the job you are applying for; is the account relevant? 

12. Technical skills for basic software programs

There is pretty much an unspoken expectation that you should possess at least a basic understanding of how Word, Excel, and PowerPoint work in today’s digital world. When you add software programs to your resume, think about the job you’re applying for and what programs will be necessary for that role or industry. 

13. References

Do not include a reference sheet unless requested with your application or resume submission. References are usually asked for at some point later in the interview process. At that point, you’ll be able to tell your references to prepare for a call ahead of time. Don’t waste prime real estate on your resume with this information. 

14. Time off

Whether you spent time traveling the world, raising children, or some other reason – being out of the workforce for a while shouldn’t make you feel the need to explain it on your resume. While other countries may have different rules, the United States does not require you to fill the gaps with explanations. However, do keep in mind it may come up in an interview.  

15. Irrelevant interests 

While it may seem ‘trendy’ or ‘unique’ of you to share your special interests or hobbies on your resume, once again, ask yourself the “is this relevant to the position I’m applying for?” question. Certain hobbies are better kept to yourself.