Whether you’re looking for a job or an internship, updating your resume is the most important part of the job seeking process. Your resume is usually the first thing an employer looks at, so you want to make sure it captures your professional persona. It's important to make a positive first impression, but you only have one page to do it. We all know that there comes a time when you'll have to remove your high school achievements from your resume, but there are also some other things you don't need to keep on there. Professional career advisor and author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous, or Naive Job Seeker Tom Dezell weighs in on what things on your resume are just a waste of space.
1. Any school you attended without earning a degree
If you've taken classes at multiple colleges or universities that's great, but you don't have to list them all on your resume. "On the resume, it's only necessary to list the school where you received or are in the process of receiving the degree," says Dezell. "An application may ask you to list all the schools you've attended, but it's not necessary for a resume." You can leave off the school where you took a class and earned transfer credit or the school you attended during study abroad, and just stick with where you plan to graduate from.
2. Multiple addresses
Sure, you need to include your phone number, email or maybe a link to your personal website—but make sure you don't provide so much information that you leave employers scratching their heads. "Rather than a school and home address, just list the one closest to the job you’re applying to," suggests Dezell. You might have to provide a permanent and temporary address in an application, but when it comes to your resume, just stick to one.
3. A GPA below 3.0
When it comes to your GPA, Dezell says that if it's lower than a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, it's not necessary to keep on your resume—and that "even keeping just a 3.0 on there is generous." If you have a great GPA that you are proud of, and your grades are relevant to your job search, then go ahead and include it. Don't worry—leaving your GPA off your resume doesn't automatically indicate to employers that it’s bad; it's just not the thing on your resume that will really help you stand out.
4. List of courses
Having a long list of every course you've taken in college provides a potential employer with more information than they need or want. "Only present coursework titles that include skill topics required for jobs applied to," says Dezell. "If it’s not relevant, leave it off." If you do want to include a course that is relevant to the job, write about the skills it helped you develop rather than simply listing the course name. For example, if you're applying for jobs in advertising, having random elective courses you took (like Ballroom Dancing 101) on your resume won't be of much help.
5. Interests & hobbies
Your resume isn’t really the place to tell someone you enjoy hiking or knitting in your spare time. "Only keep them on a resume if they have relevance to the job you applied to," notes Dezell. There may be an area of the job application where you can provide a little about yourself, but definitely don't have everything you do during your free time listed on your resume. An employer can find out more about you during the interview process.
6. A photo of yourself (or any other images)
Unless you’re an aspiring actor, you don’t need to include a photo of yourself on your resume. Putting a photo of any kind on your resume will just distract from the truly important things, like your experience and education—and can appear unprofessional. Employers can see what you look like when they ask you to come in for an interview, or when they visit your LinkedIn page. Adding any other types of images that show off your creativity are also unnecessary. Instead, just be sure to include a link to your online portfolio.
7. Every job you've ever had
Just like listing every class you’ve taken in college, you also don’t have to list absolutely every job you’ve ever had. This is especially important if the previous jobs are not related to the one you’re applying for. If you're listing your previous experience, also keep in mind that you don’t want to be too repetitive. “If you’ve worked as a server/bartender at multiple restaurants, no need to structure each as its own job then repeat all the same duties,” says Dezell. Even if you take off a few unrelated job experiences, that doesn’t mean you can’t still use the skills you learned to your advantage!
Creating the perfect resume can be stressful, but it's important to cater it to each job you apply for. Make sure to include what is truly essential and ditch the unnecessary things that take up too much of that precious space!