Take These Three Things Off of Your Resume


Resumes are Always Evolving

What’s on your resume is largely dictated not only by the industry you’re in, but also exactly the job you are applying for. That’s why it can be so hard to have truly universal things that you “should” do when it comes to your resume. However, in almost all instances there are three things that as a hiring manager, I never liked seeing on resumes, and always felt the real estate on the page could have been better filled up with something else.

1 | Hobbies

I recognize this one might be tough to let go. You think it’s a way to show you’re a whole person, something fun and unique about your personality. But in most fields, it comes off as a bit unfocused and unprofessional. Instead of a “hobbies” section, think about how these might translate into a skills block or even a volunteer section. Do you have green thumb? Instead of gardening under a hobbies header, a well-placed bullet about your volunteer contributions to your community garden, or, teaching a local course reads much better.

Love tinkering with computers? You’re probably detail oriented, and likely have some other strong IT or coding skills. Granted, we don’t need to turn all of our life hobbies into side hustles, but in this instance you are selling skills and a contribution to a new employer so it’s important to find a better way to shape that narrative.

2 | A Mission Statement

Mission statements are strange beasts. It does look visually lovely to have a nice opening mantra that starts off your resume, but it’s really unnecessary. Mission statements are mostly directional, aspirational, and while they might reflect your values they really aren’t a particular proof point for a future employer.

If you have more than 10+ years of relevant experience, you might kick off with a quick summary of your skills and impact to bring your whole career narrative together. Again, if you have less than this amount of professional experience, your resume is likely short enough to not warrant having to spend that extra space on a recap.

3 | Excessive School Details

After about 5 years of professional experience, how you talk about your education should really shift. Earlier on in the job market you’ll want to draw out those academic experiences, maybe discussing leadership roles, associations, work studies abroad, and other opportunities. After a few years, however, it’s important to start slimming that down and focusing again more on outcomes and proof points of academic excellence.

That means that ultimately you might only want to leave things like your GPA, really exceptional awards, and details on any major honors programs or associations. As your experience grows, your historical education references should shrink in relation to your current experience, with the exception of course being more recently experienced training and education opportunities.

Focusing your resume on impact and your professional outcomes gives you a greater chance of catching the eye of the right recruiter.