What Not to Include on a Resume

If you have recently begun writing or revising your resume, it is likely that you have chosen to take the time to research what pieces of information belong in an effective resume. It is also important to know key items that you should not include so you can increase your chances of landing an interview. In this article, explore a list of some of the things that are best to leave off of your resume.

What not to include on a resume

Here is a comprehensive list of items that should be excluded from your resume:

Former salaries

It can send the wrong message to employers if you add salary information to your resume. It is best to discuss any salary information when the time comes, like during the interview process. They still may not ask you to disclose any former salary figures you received. You should also leave your desired salary off of the resume and wait until it can be discussed once an offer is extending or you are asked about your requirements. 


Most jobs do not require photographs of you on your resume. It is distracting and it also takes up valuable space. It is best to forego adding pictures of yourself, charts and any other images. They are unnecessary and will clutter an otherwise neat and concise resume. 

Your GPA

Leave your GPA off your resume if you are not a recent graduate and your GPA was lower than a 3.7. Once you leave school, your grades are not relevant for finding a job. Employers would rather see the work you completed and your responsibilities. The general rule for GPA is to only include it on your resume for up to three years after graduation if it is a 3.7 or higher. 

High school education

Once you complete a college degree, you should leave out any information about your high school on your resume. You may keep your high school diploma on your resume if it is your highest form of education. 

A job description’s exact wording

You should include some relevant keywords and phrasing from a job description, but it should be modified to you individually. Copying a job description word for word is considered plagiarism, and it might appear that you have fabricated your experience in general. Recruiters might not take your resume seriously if it lacks personal details. 

Confidential information

Personal information like your social security number, age, date of birth, marital status or religious affiliation should always be excluded from your resume. This information is not relevant to your job experiences or qualifications. 

Cliches and buzzwords

There are certain keywords and phrases that have been overused by many job seekers. Do your best to avoid words and phrases such as ‘hard-worker,’ ‘team-player,’ ‘detail-oriented,’ ‘go-getter,’ ‘synergy’ or ‘think outside of the box.’ Instead of using popular buzzwords, hiring managers prefer for you to outline and demonstrate achievements that describe these words and phrases using action verbs. 

Negative phrases

It is best to stay away from any phrases that have a negative connotation even if you are using them in a positive way. For example, ‘fixed many workplace problems regarding aggressive customers.’ Instead, you may try writing ‘enhanced the work environment by using excellent customer service skills.’ 


Employers who are interested in speaking to your references will typically ask for them. It is also better to notify your references that a future employer may be calling so they can be prepared. 

You should also exclude ‘references available upon request’ from your resume. It wastes valuable space that you can use for something else. 

More than two fonts

Your resume should be simple and provide employers with a document that is easy to review. The only fonts you need are the headers and the job description fonts. It is also best not to use fonts that are fancy script or difficult to read. 

Too much text

You should not adjust margins and use smaller font sizes to fit all of your information onto one page. Too much text on a resume can be difficult for recruiters and hiring managers to review quickly and it detracts from the overall purpose of your resume. If your resume is too cluttered, it may be skipped in favor of a resume that is easier to scan with standard margins and a lot of white space. 

Personal pronouns

It is understood that your resume is about you, therefore it is unnecessary to add personal pronouns to describe your experience. The pronouns you should try to leave out specifically are ‘I’ and ‘me.’ 

Unprofessional email address

Employers prefer emails that include your first and last name or initials, rather than an email like ‘partygirl2002@email.com.’ It only takes a few minutes to get a new email address that will represent you in a professional manner. You may also consider using that professional email for one specific purpose like job applications and career-related communication. 

Social media URLs

Social media URLs are unnecessary to add to your resume. If a job requires these URLs for any reason, then there will likely be a place to add that detail in the job application. Use your discretion even when you add a link to your professional networking profile on your resume. Many job application sites have a place for you to add them, which makes it unnecessary for you to place the link on your resume.  

Reasons why you left previous jobs

You should leave out any reasons why you left your last job. This information is irrelevant to your resume and it will only waste useful space. If the employer wants to know why you left a job, they will likely ask you in an interview if the topic arises.