Resume Fails: Remove These 5 Items From your Resume Immediately

Creating (or updating a resume) takes time. Don’t let that time go to waste by including irrelevant, outdated or inappropriate information. When recruiters and hiring managers see information that doesn’t help them determine your suitability for the position, it wastes their time and could mean your resume ends up in the trash pile.

Review your resume and immediately remove the following five items if they’re present.

Personal Information

You should include your name and contact information on your resume. For contact information, you can include your phone number, LinkedIn link, email address, city, and state. Beyond that, keep it to yourself.

Do not include your age (or birth date,) marital status, religion, ethnicity, etc. Including this information may go against the employer’s hiring practices. Many companies strive to be equal opportunity employers, and when information that could lead to discrimination is included on a resume, it could interfere with their hiring policies and practices.

Further, do not include your social security number or any financial information on your resume. Not only is it not needed, it could also put your identity security at risk.

Salary Expectations/History

Unless specifically requested, avoid putting your salary history or salary expectations on your resume. Putting your salary history or expectations on your resume immediately puts a price tag on you.

When hiring managers compare resumes they may see that number and will probably think “that’s a lot of money,” or perhaps they see another candidate who they think they could hire for less. Don’t give them an opportunity to dismiss your resume based on salary. Instead focus your resume on how you can help the company succeed and meet their goals within the role of the position. After a successful interview, you can bring salary considerations into the conversation or even better, wait for a hiring manager to address it.


You’ve heard the mantra, “honesty is the best policy.” Now, live by it. Read and re-read your resume. Are there statements that overstate your abilities? Is there a little white lie thrown in here and there? Edit and revise your resume to reflect 100% of the truth.

Misrepresenting yourself, your experience or skills can hurt you in the long run. In most companies, providing false information to gain employment is grounds for termination. If you’re not fully qualified for the position, express instead your ability to learn quickly or demonstrate other skills that make up for any skills you lack.

Primary and Secondary Education

Don’t list your primary education on your resume. It’s not relevant. The only exception might be if you’re applying to work at the school you attended as a 3rd grader, but even then, I would address it in a cover letter versus your resume. Also, unless you’re fresh out of high school, don’t list your secondary education on your resume either.

This information doesn’t mean anything to a recruiter or hiring manager. They’ve likely never heard of your place of education, unless you both grew up and stayed on in a smaller community.

Instead highlight your post-secondary education and up-to-date experience. This information will be more applicable to your application as it’s more recent and can help recruiters match your current abilities with those required by the job.

Experience from More than 10 Years Ago

Don’t list every job you’ve ever held on your resume. In most cases, that would take up too much room. Recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you’ve done most recently that applies to the position you’re looking to secure.

I suggest including the last 10 years of experience on your resume, with the most recent appearing first. An exception might be if a position requires 20 or more years of experience to apply. In those cases, you can include more experience information to meet the qualifications of the position.

Another exception is if you have older experience that is relevant to your next career move. In this case, include a small summary paragraph that covers the relevant experience without dates.

Did you catch any errors when reading through your resume? Take a few minutes and make the needed corrections to help your resume stand the best chance of making it to the next stage of the hiring process.

As a blog author for Built for Teams and elsewhere on the web, Rachel is an expert in providing resume building, interviewing and career building tips. Besides technical writing, Rachel also excels in creative writing. She also enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking and hanging out with friends and family.

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