1. Space is precious – delete your references
Reference checking is a stage in the application process reserved for those times when you have made it through to one of the final contenders. This is often after multiple rounds of resume reviews and telephone or personal interviews. Finally, employers and job seekers alike are catching up with this and it is now the norm for referees to be offered on request rather than included when writing your resume.
As well as freeing up valuable space on what is often limited resume real estate, holding off on listing your references until they're requested by the employer has an added benefit – you can ensure that the referees you supply are the best possible fit for the role, the employer or the business that you are applying with
Tip: Instead of listing your references write 'Referees available on request'.
Supplying your referees later down the track means you will be able to choose referees that better suit the role you're going for (you'll now know more about what the job entails and what referees will best celebrate your skills in that area), or even the interviewer (you may have met or talked to the employer or interviewer and can choose referees that compliment their personality or working style thus giving a better rapport or response when they call to discuss you).
2. Ditch the mugshot – delete your profile photo
The three main reasons why you should delete your profile photo from your resume are:
- Photo's can place an employer in an uneasy position where there's a possibility of opening up discrimination cases.
- People will generally look at your LinkedIn where you should have a profile picture.
- How you look shouldn't be apart of your job application unless you're modelling. If you really, really want to, no-one is stopping you.
A picture says a thousand words. Too young? Too hipster? Not hipster enough? Your appearance, your age, your personal style and your ethnicity will be the first thing that people see, shaping an impression of you before they've even read a word of your resume which includes the incredible wealth of experience and skills you have that make you perfect for the role. Wow them with your passion and suitability for the role and save the photo for your LinkedIn profile when they are already hooked from your resume / CV and want to know more, and hopefully contact you.
3. You wouldn't ask a stranger their age, don't supply yours to one – delete your D.O.B
In the same way your photo can typecast you, adding your date of birth when you're writing a resume or cover letter can open you up to discrimination before you've even had a chance to impress. Not limited to older applicants, a D.O.B (Date of Birth) on your resume / CV advertising that you were born in the nineties could have recruiters and employers labelling you a 'Millennium', instantly discounting you from particular roles as inexperienced or unmotivated.
If it is illegal for employers to ask your age in an interview, it is an unnecessary inclusion on a resume. Leave a little mystery and delete it from yours.
4. This is one for you creatives and devs – delete the skill indicator graphics
You know what these are – the little graphic circles or bar charts partially filled in to show whether you're competent or incompetent at a software or skillset. You're creative. The ability to use Photoshop is assumed. Putting it on your resume with a skill level indicator is like saying you can do your job. Moderately.
Loved by creatives and developers because they add a visual 'pop' to a resume, these totally pointless and space consuming icons actually do the opposite of expressing your skill level. Unless you have every one of your piechart / dot matrix / wheel of skill icons completely filled in they only serve to highlight where you are lacking. A 75% filled in Photoshop icon shows the employer you have a 25% LESS than their ideal candidate, less than some other applicants are offering.
5. It's time to move on – Delete your first job
When I was 17 I worked at Charcoal Chicken. I loved it. I was there for two years and, as well as getting great free lunches, I acquired a whole set of skills in customer service, food preparation, register operations and chicken turning. All great skills at the time, none of them relevant in any way to my current senior digital designer role.
As you're writing your resume and cover letter for your job hunt make sure you are not carrying around long gone job references that don't reflect, support or relate to either your current role or the exciting new position you are applying for. If you have more than five previous positions on your resume delete outdated or professionally disconnected ones and use the valuable space on your 1 page or 2 page resume (especially on your executive resume) to flesh out the most recent and relevant jobs you have held. If you are a new job seeker and only have one or two positions in your working history re-read and re-work the bullet points. Make sure unrelated skills from your previous jobs are downplayed, and hero the skills that match or compliment the position you are applying for, fleshing them out and bringing them front and centre in your resume / CV.
In case you missed it:
Part 1 of 3: What you should delete on your resume
Part 2 of 3: What you should add to your resume
Part 3 of 3: What you should change on your resume
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