What to remove from your resume right now

Get your finger on the delete button or your eraser in hand. There are some parts of your resume that can be immediately scratched or changed because they are either hurting you or taking up valuable space. Some removals are absolutely essential. Otherwise, applicant tracking system (ATS) software that most organizations use may not generate your resume correctly, which means you'll lose any chances of getting a call. So, what should get the cut?

[See: 10 Items to Banish From Your Resume.]

What to remove from your resume right now
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What to remove from your resume right now

Photo. Unless you are asked for one, do not include a photo. Europeans are even moving away from this practice as more organizations accept American-style resumes.

Full address. You only need your city and state, or city and country if you're outside the United States.

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Objective. If you're using an objective statement at the top of your resume, you are dating yourself. Employers don't care what your goal is – they want to know what you can do to support their goals. Better terms to use here are "career summary" or "career profile." This brief statement should tell the employer, using data from the job posting, that you meet the main required qualifications.

GPA and test scores. If you graduated less than three years ago and have a GPA of 3.5 or above, you can keep it on your resume. Unless you are asked to include them, take out standardized test scores. Once you're beyond three years out of school, take your GPA off (unless of course you're told to include it).

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University you didn't graduate from. The school that matters is the one from which you graduated. If you feel compelled to include a school you transferred from, make sure to not include it separately from the school you graduated from. That is, include it as a bullet indented underneath your alma mater with years attended.

[See: 10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Land a Job.]

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Cliche phrases. Search the internet for "most commonly used words in resumes" to come up with a list of cliche phrases. If you're using these terms, it's likely that you are being too general and not speaking specifically enough about your experience. This doesn't help an employer understand who you are and what you're capable of because you look just like everyone else! Most of us are so entrenched in the day to day of our role and field that we forget those outside it won't understand what we do. Play around with words to find ways to say what you do clearly and concisely.
Acronyms. Many acronyms are industry- or company-specific. That's why you can't use them without first defining them. The best way to do this is to spell out the first instance and put the acronym in parentheses after it; you can use the acronym alone from then on.

Tables. Using tables is a sure way to set your resume up for a failed reading in an ATS. If the system cannot read it correctly, you'll lose your chance to be considered for jobs!

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Irrelevant experience. If you have paid work or volunteer experience that is not relevant to your career goals (i.e., you didn't obtain any transferable skills), you should list those briefly under a headline such as "previous experience." You don't need any details except for your title, organization, location and years.

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Jobs 10 years or older. Remove bullets for jobs over 10 years old, unless any pertain to your career goals, and you haven't demonstrated the same skills or a career progression in your work since. Incorporate any transferable skills that are not apparent elsewhere in your resume into your career summary or under "technical skills," which can fall at the end of most resumes under "additional information." If you're in a technology field, you may want to consider moving those skills underneath your career summary.

[See: The 8 Stages of a Winning Job Search.]

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Use hyperlinks sparingly. Hyperlinks are good when used effectively. Do not hyperlink every company you've worked for and every mention of a project on a website or in an article. Choose only those that you consider a big deal – you may want to check with a colleague or friend to find out if they agree with your choices. If you've written for a publication, been quoted in a major article, or contributed to an article, those are worth hyperlinking. If you have quite a few, you should consider titling the section "select publications" or "select media," and listing and linking to only a few.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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