Jobs are scarce these days and competition for every opening is
fierce. Employers have reported that for every position advertised,
hundreds of people send in applications for the job along with their
resumes. The majority of these applicants are rejected, of course,
because only one person is needed. Many applicants may be rejected for
the job because of what they’ve put into their resumes. If you’ve been
putting in any of the material cited below, stop! You may be hurting
your chances of getting hired.

Unrelated Part Time or Temporary Work
Whatever
job you’re applying for, your employer is not interested in your jobs
mowing the neighbor’s lawn, washing dishes after school in a local
restaurant and other simple odd jobs that do not relate to the job
advertised.

Unrelated Interests
Your interests or hobbies
won’t help you nail the job if they’re unrelated to the position
offered. Collecting rocks, for example, might help you secure a job as a
geologist, but it won’t help with most other positions. Mention only
interests that make you a more attractive candidate for the job and
exclude all the rest.

Boring Words and Resume Cliches
Words such as
“team player”, “detail-oriented” and other similar resume cliches are no
longer effective in selling yourself to a prospective employer. Use
powerful verbs to say the same thing. Find appropriate words in a
thesaurus if necessary. For “team player”, write: “cooperates and
collaborates easily with other staff” or “scrupulously vigilant about
details” instead of “detail oriented”. A resume that’s different than
the usual run-of-the-mill submissions will grab the attention of HR
people or whoever does the hiring.

High School Diploma
If you only have a high
school education, it may be prudent not to include that fact, unless you
are currently a college student in pursuit of a degree.

Vague Objectives
If you list your objectives,
make them concrete. For example, something similar to the following can
be very effective: Objective: To contribute to the success and
profitability of the company through my effort, expertise and
experience. A vague objective, such as the following, should not be in
your resume. Objective: To help the company through my hard work.

Your Photo
Don’t send your photo along with
your application. Your face is unimportant to a potential employer,
unless a picture is requested, which is a rare occurrence. Some people
who have sent photographs with job applications and have not been hired
have brought lawsuits for discrimination against the company which
declined to hire them. The employer is likely to ignore all applications
with a picture of the applicant attached.

Personal Qualities
Your age, race, religion,
medical condition, disability, height, weight and sexual orientation are
irrelevant. The law requires employers to disregard these qualities in
their hiring decisions. Nevertheless, many of them ignore the law, and
base their application rejections on one or all of these factors.

Weaknesses
Don’t broadcast your weaknesses. For
example, don’t write something like: “I’m good at word processing, but
not quite up to par on Excel and Power Point.” Lead from your strengths.
Don’t give an employer an excuse to reject you. If you’re asked,
however, after you’ve applied for a job, don’t lie or exaggerate – your
weakness will become evident in time, and could lead to your dismissal,
if not disclosed initially if asked.

Negative Comments
Don’t bad-mouth your previous
boss. Don’t complain about your financial troubles. If you were fired
from your last position for pilfering paper clips, don’t mention it. If
you were dishonorably discharged from the military, or did a prison
stretch, don’t mention it. You can be truthful about any of these issues
only if asked.

Lies and/or Exaggerations
Don’t lie about your
experience, education or achievements. Don’t inflate your previous
salary. Employers in these tough times have been verifying facts on
applicants resumes, and almost every lie and exaggeration will be
nailed.

Self-Serving Goals
If you’re applying for a job
in a certain industry, just to learn that business as a stepping stone
to another position, don’t mention that. Many younger applicants cite
their long-term goals in their resumes which result in their rejection.
Employers want applicants to focus on the job they’re offering, not on
some future job.

Politics, Prejudices and Personal Preferences
Whatever
your political persuasion, and whatever or whoever you dislike, should
not be included in your resume. You may like or dislike the current
government administration, but your potential employer will probably not
care.

The Bottom Line
Landing a job is tough enough
these days without the added disadvantage of a resume with material in
it that should’ve been left out. Leave out the items mentioned above and
you’ll have a better chance of getting the job you applied for. Good
luck.