During my 20-plus years of recruiting, I have reviewed roughly over 480,000 résumés and LinkedIn profiles. I’m not too handy with numbers (which is why I’m a recruiter rather than an accountant), but making an educated guess based on my meager math skills, I have searched—at the very least—50 LinkedIn profiles and reviewed 50 résumés per day. These numbers are probably less than I actually look at, but 100 per day made my calculations easier. Also, it doesn’t include Saturdays and Sundays (yes, I don’t have a life and work most weekends). A hundred a day, times five days a week, every month, over 20 years, provided me with the opportunity to review an awful lot of résumés and profiles.
This has enabled me to observe what works well and resonates with hiring managers and what doesn’t. One of the more interesting and counterintuitive things I’ve noticed is that even my highly-experienced candidates—attended top universities, hold advanced degrees, such as MBAs and law—tend to sabotage their résumés and LinkedIn profiles with rookie mistakes.
As I previously wrote on Forbes.com, there is a simple art to crafting a résumé. The gist of it is to think of the résumé as a marketing tool. Hiring managers are generally busy executives with little time to spend reading lengthy résumés. To be time-efficient, they need to see the candidate’s qualifications that are required for the job at hand. They have very little patience for fluff and extraneous information that distracts from their core skills and experience. Also, there are certain things listed on a résumé or LinkedIn profile that are deal killers.
Here is a list of 18 items that you should immediately take off your résumé or LinkedIn profile, so as not to waste the hiring manager’s time or incredibly annoy him or her:
- I know that you are enthralled with your extensive work experience, but try to keep your résumé and LinkedIn profile concise and tight. Your job may be exciting to you; however, a future employer doesn’t want to wade through your War and Peace novel. Keep it brief and to the point.
- Try to stick with the last 10 years of experience if possible. There is no need to go way back in time to cite your paper route in middle school.
- Remember to update your résumé and LinkedIn profile before you start interviewing. It makes you look lazy if your past jobs have a large amount of descriptive text, while your most recent job only has about two lines. Clearly, you didn’t put a lot of time into this endeavor. Human resources professionals will feel that you are unmotivated and possibly interviewing begrudgingly.
- Although it may mean the world to you, trust me, hiring managers could not care less about your hobbies like LARPing, cosplay, Netflix and chill, competitive dog grooming, trainspotting, competitive dog pageants, stalking celebrities, getting the most likes of all of your friends on Instagram, practicing witchcraft or playing Harry Potter Quidditch.
- We all love our children, but you need to understand that hiring managers couldn’t care less that little Emma won an award for selling the most Girl Scout cookies and she donated the profits to building homes for displaced llamas and the proceeds supposedly went to building habitats for homeless penguins.
- Leave off the “objectives” from your résumé, as they are only for recent college graduates or others that don’t have any real work experience. Your résumé and LinkedIn profile should be strong enough that anyone reviewing it immediately recognizes what type of job you would be interviewing for next.
- Never, ever have a goofy email address. It’s not cute or memorable to have a “email@example.com” address. Your buddies may be in on the inside joke, but everyone else will cringe.
- Since hardly anyone owns or uses a fax in the context of recruiting, please don’t include your fax number.
- Clichéd, overused, eye-rolling bland corporate buzzwords and anachronisms need to go and be replaced.
- Don’t dedicate the same amount of space for a job that you were at for one year as a position you held for five-to-ten years.
- Leave off any jobs that you held for under six months, but include them when you fill out an internal application at the company.
- You may think your profile or résumé is clever and creative, but think of the reader first. Please use an easy-to-read font and format, especially when interviewing with conservative companies.
- Leave your political volunteer experience and affiliation out of the résumé and LinkedIn profile. You may love the ideas of your favorite candidate, but there is a 50% chance that you will interview with someone who disagrees and backs your politician’s opponent. Why antagonize half of the population? Do you really think your political idol will root for you to get the job?
- If you possess only very basic computer skills and superficial fluency of a foreign language, leave it off the résumé as it could potentially be very embarrassing if the hiring manager decides to dig deeply into your knowledge of these areas.
- Knowing how to post on Facebook and Snap and garner likes from your friends does not mean that you could position yourself as a social media guru.
- Don’t over-exaggerate or lie as you will almost always get caught. It may not be at first and it could be years later, but there will always be someone nosey or an adversary who will gladly find out your over-embellishments and happily tattle on you.
- Unfortunately, we work in an environment where there is discrimination. For example, due to ageism, you might be advised to not broadcast the year you graduated from college (which is a dead give away of how old you are).
- There should be no excuse for having misspellings or grammatical errors.
- These items are just a starting point to help you critically draft, review and enhance your résumé and LinkedIn profile.