Writing a resume can be tough, but editing it down can be more challenging. There is a natural inclination to try to share our full work histories. However, just as it is hard to hear a conversation in a noisy environment, it can be hard for a hiring manager to find relevant experience in an overloaded resume. As you work towards an easily digestible resume that says “I am the right person for this job,” these items need to go:
Companies want to see pertinent information that shows you are the right person for the job they are hiring for. This often means editing out experience that doesn’t help support the narrative. While you may not want to remove jobs that would create employment gaps, you can remove early jobs that are no longer relevant, or reduce what you say about your duties at irrelevant jobs, so that you can focus more space and impact on the relevant jobs. Consider it this way: Hiring Managers speed through resumes, so if they read about an unrelated skill or task from 15 years ago, those are precious seconds they aren’t reading about a job that shows more relevant experience.
Photos and Graphs (With Some Exceptions)
While they may be a popular addition to resumes and cover letters elsewhere in the world, adding photos to your resume is frowned upon in the United States. In fact, studies have shown that nearly 90% of resumes that include photos go immediately into the reject pile.
Because of Applicant Tracking System, graphs should generally be avoided, too. If you are applying online or sending in an email form of your resume, there is at least a 75% chance that you will run into an ATS system, and because most can’t read or recognize graphs, there is a good chance your resume won’t make it into the hands of a Hiring Manager. There may be some exceptions. If you are applying directly to a smaller company or know you will be handing the resume directly to somebody in an interview, a well-chosen graphic could make you stand out if it makes it easier for somebody to understand your experience at a glance and doesn’t seem too unusual.
Unnecessary Education Information
The Education section of your resume should be brief and to the point, containing only pertinent information, like where you went to school, what degree you received, and any certifications that may relate to your desired job. If you have any college experience, leave out your high school information, and unless you are new to the workforce, don’t include the year of your graduation or certification. Legally, businesses can’t take age into account during the hiring process, but it’s still better to leave dates out when possible. If the Hiring Manager is looking for more information on your education, they will ask you during the interview process.