What to leave out of your resume
Updated: Sep 20
Fluff should only be found in a childhood lunchbox memory (or is that just me?), and filler should only be found in...well, that is up to you. I digress; back to my point, I don't want to see it on resumes we share with our clients. Consider fluff and filler a waste of their time; we don't want to do that to anyone during the recruiting cycle. If you walk away from this blog with ONE informative nugget, let it be this: Resumes should be scannable, contain matching keywords from the job description for which you are applying, and have metrics of your success. Keep reading to see if your resume is more of a fluffernutter sandwich needing a revamp.
References furnished upon request and "detail-oriented" are things of the past for building a winning resume. If you are not coming from Big 4, highlight the size and scope of the corporate accounting you have been exposed to if you are hoping to move to a large corporate tax department.
Here's what else you can delete to make your resume shine:
Street address: Including your street address on your resume is no longer necessary, as most employers will communicate with you electronically or by phone. In addition, sharing personal information like your address could leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
Lots of fonts: Using multiple fonts on your resume can be distracting and make it look unprofessional. It's best to stick to one clear and easy-to-read font. Two colors, bold font, or italics are okay if used sparingly and consistently.
Objective statement: Objective statements were once a popular way to start a resume but are now considered outdated. Instead, it's better to include a profile section highlighting your software skills and technical experience and how they align with the job you're applying for.
Boilerplate corporate jargon: Using buzzwords and corporate jargon like "results-oriented professional" can make your resume sound generic and impersonal. Instead, try to use a more natural and human voice.
Lots of lines between sections: Horizontal lines can help delineate a busy resume but can also make your resume look cluttered and difficult to read. Instead, use spacing and clear section headings to make your resume easy to navigate.
References: You don't need to include your references on your resume. If a potential employer wants to speak with your references, they will ask for them separately.
College GPA (unless you graduated recently): Unless you are a recent graduate and your GPA is impressive, it's generally unnecessary to include it on your resume.
Irrelevant industry-specific terms: Including industry-specific terms irrelevant to the job you're applying for can be confusing and distract from the important information on your resume. Stick to relevant keywords and phrases that the job description also has.
"References available on request": Including this phrase on your resume is unnecessary, as it's understood that you will provide references if requested.
Excessive bullet points for each job: It's best to highlight your achievements and responsibilities concisely and clearly. Stick to three or four bullet points showcasing your most important accomplishments.
Hobbies and interests: Unless your hobbies and interests are directly relevant to the job you are applying for, it is best to leave them off your resume.
Personal information: You do not need to include personal information such as your age, race, religion, or marital status on your resume.
The Bee In My Bonnet: BUZZWORDS
While some buzzwords can be effective in a resume, others are overused and can hurt your chances of standing out in the stack of other resumes similar to yours (if they aren't, then you are applying for the wrong job). Here are some buzzwords that are not particularly useful and may be best avoided:
"Hard-working" or "dedicated": While these words may seem like positive attributes, they are overused and do not provide any specific information about your skills or experience. Give a bullet point of a result of being hard-working or dedicated.
"Detail-oriented": This term is overused and does not provide specific details about your abilities. Instead, give an example of an error you caught and how much it saved the company.
"Team player": This phrase is also overused and does not provide specific information about your skills or experience working with others. Instead, give an example of a team you led or contributed to.
"Self-starter": While this term may seem positive, it is vague and does not provide specific details about your abilities. Instead, give an example of a project or new skill you took the initiative to take on.
"Results-driven": This term is overused and provides no specific information about your achievements or experience. Just give an example of a deliverable.
As always, PGAA Tax is here to support your journey in the tax profession. Please message us if you'd like fresh eyes on your resume. That is my last tip: always have someone else proofread your resume before submissions.