3 things never to include in your resume

  • Post published:17/11/2021
  • Reading time:6 mins read

ResumeYour resume is for marketing yourself. The purpose of a resume is to get an interview. And the interview to get the job. In that order, please.

You will not be using your resume in a Court of Law. You don’t have to tell us everything about every little detail in your life and career.

Drop details like where you went to high school, your GPA score, that you were an intern for two weeks some 38 years ago, and that you can say hello in Swahili.

The 1-page resume is dead

It is outThe 1-page fad was just as crazy as the idea of tweeting your resume on Twitter.

Common sense prevailed and it’s without a doubt the 2-page resume that is considered best practice these days.

The CV, curriculum vitae, is Latin for Course of Life. It’s typically used for academic or research positions and thus a much longer document than the resume.

The word résumé is French and originally meant a summary. It literally translates to something that has been summed up.

So, think of your resume as a summary of your CV.

Don’t put photo on your resume

TrueTrust me. It’s a trick by the recruitment and HR community to have one more reason to disqualify you because they don’t like your look.

Ask yourself why some companies request a photograph? If it is not to judge if your look lives up to whatever expectation, then what?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which means beauty doesn’t exist on its own but is created by observers.

You will never get a job because of your photo, but you will definitely risk losing the opportunity. The exception is if you are a model and photographed for a living.

  • Some employers will toss it from fear of a discrimination lawsuit.
  • If the photo is not a professional one, it invites lots of negative comments.
  • Recruiters are careful to avoid discrimination (racial, gender, age) and unconscious bias.
  • Some hiring managers may consider resume photos unprofessional.
  • A resume picture could distract from your skills and experience.
  • Images are not ATS-friendly.

References on separate document

You don’t have to tell us that references are available on request. I often, too often, see this line at the end of a resume

Including two or three names for a reference in your resume is not necessary. Instead, use the space to add a few more bullet points of achievements under your work experience.

We all know that the names in your resume are carefully chosen because they are expected to talk about you in glowing terms. We expect to hear that you have been the best employee ever, that the company will re-hire you at any time if given the opportunity. Blah-blah-blah.

No one will call your references before you have been interviewed and selected as the preferred candidate. Just another reason for not using the limited space on your 2-page resume.

Tip: Prepare a separate Word document that you call List of References.

Print out a copy and bring to the job interview. It happens that the interviewer will ask if you can provide references. Voila, you say, and have over the print. Or you convert it to PDF and email when asked later in the process.

Focus on your last 10 and max 15 years

ExecutiveExecutives have typically worked 30, 40 or more years and find it a challenge to include all their employments in the space of a two-page resume.

The good news, you don’t have to detail all your jobs since your first employment.

Recruiters pay special attention to your last 10-15 years only. For these employments use a total of max 20 bullet points (1-2 lines per bullet).

We work in different ways than we did in the past. Who recalls the telex or even the fax? Apps and technology have become a part of normal life and in business.

  • 5G began deploying worldwide in 2019.
  • iPad came to the market in 2010.
  • WhatsApp launched in 2009
  • The iPhone was first released in 2007.
  • Agoda was founded in Singapore in 2005 by two school friends.
  • LinkedIn started commercial operation in 2003.
  • The BlackBerry Smartphone released in 2002.

Tip: Add a header: Previous Employments. Then as an example write:

  • Various management and commercial positions in Asia and Europe within FMCG and Advertising.

Or if you have worked for brand names in your niche, it could look like this (but no years please):

  • Director of Sales at Starbucks Corporation, Michigan, USA
  • Food & Beverage Manager, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.