What we do not want to see on your resume

What we don’t want to see – on your resume, that is!

In our last post we looked at the 20 second resume review and what reviewers want to see on your resume. If you didn’t have a chance to read it yet, you can review it here.

We now look at what we do not want to see and why we don’t want to see it. Each one that you include can raise a red flag with someone, somewhere.

One red flag – not good

Two red flags – you’re in trouble now

Three red flags – resume already gone

My top 10 – what we do not want to see – on your resume, that is!

Your photograph

Common in some countries but frowned on, particularly in the U.S. Canada and parts of Europe.

No address or an address but no zip / postal code

Location is always a factor in the hiring process. Phone area codes can cover vast distances and the reviewer might not want to take the time to find out where exactly you are.

Leaving off the zip or postal code can be seen as a sign of laziness or simply show a “lack of detail” profile.

No employment dates

Instant red flag for a potential lack of job stability

Small font size

Small font sizes can be a problem for some people so why take a chance. Give your resume to a senior to read.. If they squint, the font is too small.

Lack of proper spacing

The visual look of a written page is important. Looking at a page full of print can cause the mind to start to shut down, so why take the chance.

Too many pages

Two pages preferred, three can be OK but four and over is a no-no. We have worked with organizations that program their computer systems not to accept resumes over three pages – period.


Referees should always be advised prior to receiving a call so their contact information should only be given on request.

List of courses taken

Considered to be a filler and who really cares if you took that two week course years ago.


What mental picture do you have of these two people based on the following list of hobbies?

            golf, hockey, darts, soccer, team bowling

            classical music, opera, philately, model trains

Let your work experience speak for itself.

Generic “Career Objective” statement

Example: “A team leader and team player looking to join a dynamic company where I can learn grow and contribute”

Excuse my yawn. Once you have seen 100, or is it 1000 of these, the eyes glaze over and I start thinking about what’s for dinner.

I was going to make SPELLING my #1.  It just seems so obvious but it just continues to be a problem. Spelling mistakes can kill your chances within seconds and it’s also a good idea to make sure that the names of the companies you have worked for are also spelled correctly.

Best advice I have heard is to read your resume backwards. When read forward, the mind can skip over errors but by reading backwards you can see each word on its own. Try it, it works.

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