See All Blog Posts

Top 5 Things Your Resume SHOULDN’T INCLUDE

Posted On11/29/2015

ContributorShirin Miller


Some job seekers include everything but the kitchen sink on their resumes. (Some even add that the kitchen sink is available upon request!) But including information that’s inappropriate or not directly relevant to the job you’re applying for can do more harm than good when it comes to catching a hiring manager’s eye.

So what IS important? Sometimes what goes is even more important than what stays! Here are the top 5 things your resume SHOULDN’T include:

  1. Your gorgeous smile. While you may have been having an exceptionally good hair day when your professional portrait was taken, keep it off your resume (and on your LinkedIn profile). You can impress the hiring manager with your dazzling coiffed ‘do when you’re invited in for an interview. Even if you’ve heard different advice when looking for a job in other countries, this is the absolute standard in the US. Other folks ‘cross the pond have their own set of rules.
  2. Every time a recruiter sees an inappropriate email address on a resume, it’s like another little piece of their heart is crushed. Please stop crushing the hearts of recruiters everywhere and use an email address that wouldn’t make your grandma blush. (This rule also applies for any job-appropriate social media accounts listed on your resume.) It may be funny with your friends, but it damages your reputation as the responsible, capable person that you are before the recruiter even reads one line of your work experience.
  3. Your mad bagpipe skillz. Aside from the fact that not one of your future coworkers wants to be serenaded by bagpipe, all hobbies (and information!) that are not relevant to the job are out. If, however, you founded a local bagpipe club and managed the club’s membership and gigs (yes, bagpipe gigs are a thing), and this management experience would be relevant to your career path, you could include that under a “volunteer experience” section. The same goes for family information. It’s not necessary and could unintentionally skew a hiring manager’s perception of your commitment or availability. Plus, no hiring manager wants to imagine your children suffering through your bagpipe club’s practice sessions.
  4. Or for that matter, the word “skillz.” Abbreviations, informal slang, misspelled words, typos, and even emoji may belong in your texts, but they don’t belong on your resume. Banish them 4evah. [Using YOLO on a resume = pile of poop emoji]. Don’t you have a friend that owes you a favor? You know, the one who always conveniently forgets his wallet when you go out for coffee? Have him read it, too. A fresh set of eyes may catch crucial subtle differences that you, and spellcheck, may overlook. Just one letter sometimes stands between highlighting a key accomplishment and making a cringeworthy “I was tanked top of my class” error.
  5. Dates on your degrees. The hiring manager doesn’t need to know whether Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, Clueless, or High School Musical truly spoke to you in high school. Any information that may imply age unnecessarily should be canned. If it doesn’t speak directly to your skills or experience (where dates can be important to helping a hiring manager understand your work history), it doesn’t belong on your resume (see reason #3).

Still not sure what to include? That’s where we come in! Your friendly Nelson recruiter would love to partner with you to make your resume stellar and help you get your next great gig.

Send your resume to, and we’ll let you know if there’s anything you should remove or if we have any other suggestions to help make your resume rock! Of course, you can always search and apply for jobs directly using our jobs board.