Spring Cleaning for Your HR/Payroll Resume: Don’ts

sprngcleanThe weather may not be indicative of the fact, but spring is here – so let’s get down to cleaning up your resume, including what you should remove from your resume. A separate blog article will cover what needs to be included.

In terms of what you should remove from your HR/payroll resume to land a job, consider ditching the following:

  • Objective – Come on now, this is antiquated and silly. And it takes up real estate. Often an Objective boxes you in and impacts whether the reviewer will read on. Use your cover letter to get into your specific “elevator pitch” with regards to how your skills and experience will provide value to the prospective employer. But keep in mind, your cover letter should be very short be brief, customized to the job with bullets on how you are fit.
  • Unprofessional email address – Don’t have an email like cutiepie@hotmail.com or brownsfan@yahoo.com… this makes you look shallow and shows poor judgment. If you don’t have a basic, professional personal email, get one. They are free at Gmail or Yahoo. And while we are talking about email addresses and what they say about you – it is time to move on from AOL. Nothing says you are technologically behind like an AOL email address.
  • Head shot – Really? Stop. No matter your age, nationality, race, etc. including one could inadvertently lead to discrimination. Even if you are model beautiful… some people hate models.
  • Home phone number – Unless you are the only one with access to the messages, pick a number (like your mobile) that will ensure you do not miss messages. Also, make sure you have regular access to this number. Nothing says lack of commitment than not responding for a few days.
  • Personal details – This is everything from your personal social media accounts to hobbies. Coaching junior’s soccer team is not relevant to your job goals. You’re wasting real estate and taking away from the more important elements of you – your experience. You will want to include your LinkedIn account because whether you do or not, a prospective employer will check it out. Make sure it is clean, professional, and thoroughly updated. Professional Twitter account? That can stay, too.
  • Distracting Aesthetics – Don’t use “unique” fonts or colors to set yourself apart. You’re not in marketing; you are in HR/payroll so stick with Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Tahoma, Book Antiqua or Franklin Gothic. And by OR, I do mean OR – don’t use multiple fonts.
  • Pointless Words – Proactive and self-motivated are great buzzwords, but they are so great that they have become cliché and meaningless.
  • Salary history – Showcase your skills, talents, and experience not your salary. If a job listing requests salary requirements, address it in your cover letter.
  • Class of 1983, grocery cashier – It’s awesome that you graduated (Go Cardinals!), but stick to what’s happened in the past fifteen years. If you have had steady employment, it is okay to list other jobs/experience – but lose the details as they are most likely not relevant today.
  • References upon request – Of course they are, you do not need to waste space and say it.

No matter how long you’ve been a part of the workforce, your resume real estate is precious and it should be focused with your talents and accomplishments. We’ll cover these in our next blog but don’t forget the resume’s objective – to secure an interview. If there is anything on it that does not support that goal, it is time to clean it out.


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  1. This is the perfect blog for anybody who hopes to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that’s been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just excellent!

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