Jobs are scarce these days and competition for every opening is fierce. Employers have reported that for every position advertised, hundreds of people send in applications for the job along with their resumes. The majority of these applicants are rejected, of course, because only one person is needed. Many applicants may be rejected for the job because of what they've put into their resumes. If you've been putting in any of the material cited below, stop! You may be hurting your chances of getting hired. (For other ways to help improve your chances of finding a job, check out 7 Job-Hunting Tips For 2011.)

TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics

Unrelated Part Time or Temporary Work
Whatever job you're applying for, your employer is not interested in your jobs mowing the neighbor's lawn, washing dishes after school in a local restaurant and other simple odd jobs that do not relate to the job advertised.

Unrelated Interests
Your interests or hobbies won't help you nail the job if they're unrelated to the position offered. Collecting rocks, for example, might help you secure a job as a geologist, but it won't help with most other positions. Mention only interests that make you a more attractive candidate for the job and exclude all the rest.

Boring Words and Resume Cliches
Words such as "team player", "detail-oriented" and other similar resume cliches are no longer effective in selling yourself to a prospective employer. Use powerful verbs to say the same thing. Find appropriate words in a thesaurus if necessary. For "team player", write: "cooperates and collaborates easily with other staff" or "scrupulously vigilant about details" instead of "detail oriented". A resume that's different than the usual run-of-the-mill submissions will grab the attention of HR people or whoever does the hiring.

High School Diploma
If you only have a high school education, it may be prudent not to include that fact, unless you are currently a college student in pursuit of a degree.

Vague Objectives
If you list your objectives, make them concrete. For example, something similar to the following can be very effective: Objective: To contribute to the success and profitability of the company through my effort, expertise and experience. A vague objective, such as the following, should not be in your resume. Objective: To help the company through my hard work. (For more help on strengthening your resume, read Revamp Your Resume: The Power Of Positive Spin.)

Your Photo
Don't send your photo along with your application. Your face is unimportant to a potential employer, unless a picture is requested, which is a rare occurrence. Some people who have sent photographs with job applications and have not been hired have brought lawsuits for discrimination against the company which declined to hire them. The employer is likely to ignore all applications with a picture of the applicant attached.

Personal Qualities
Your age, race, religion, medical condition, disability, height, weight and sexual orientation are irrelevant. The law requires employers to disregard these qualities in their hiring decisions. Nevertheless, many of them ignore the law, and base their application rejections on one or all of these factors.

Don't broadcast your weaknesses. For example, don't write something like: "I'm good at word processing, but not quite up to par on Excel and Power Point." Lead from your strengths. Don't give an employer an excuse to reject you. If you're asked, however, after you've applied for a job, don't lie or exaggerate - your weakness will become evident in time, and could lead to your dismissal, if not disclosed initially if asked.

Negative Comments
Don't bad-mouth your previous boss. Don't complain about your financial troubles. If you were fired from your last position for pilfering paper clips, don't mention it. If you were dishonorably discharged from the military, or did a prison stretch, don't mention it. You can be truthful about any of these issues only if asked.

Lies and/or Exaggerations
Don't lie about your experience, education or achievements. Don't inflate your previous salary. Employers in these tough times have been verifying facts on applicants resumes, and almost every lie and exaggeration will be nailed.

Self-Serving Goals
If you're applying for a job in a certain industry, just to learn that business as a stepping stone to another position, don't mention that. Many younger applicants cite their long-term goals in their resumes which result in their rejection. Employers want applicants to focus on the job they're offering, not on some future job.

Politics, Prejudices and Personal Preferences
Whatever your political persuasion, and whatever or whoever you dislike, should not be included in your resume. You may like or dislike the current government administration, but your potential employer will probably not care.

The Bottom Line
Landing a job is tough enough these days without the added disadvantage of a resume with material in it that should've been left out. Leave out the items mentioned above and you'll have a better chance of getting the job you applied for. Good luck. (To help you write a strong resume, see 4 Keyword Tips For A Winning Resume.)

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    How To Create a Winning Elevator Pitch

    Whether you are talking to potential investors, partners, customers or employees, the skill of being able to concisely summarize your business is critical.
  2. Personal Finance

    Top Universities for Getting an MBA Abroad

    Going abroad for an MBA can add cachet when it comes time to get a job.
  3. Personal Finance

    Five Things To Avoid at Your Next Interview

    Do you have an interview coming up? Avoid these five mistakes and leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.
  4. Personal Finance

    6 Reasons To Get Your MBA Abroad

    Given the number of high caliber business schools outside the United States, it may make sense to venture overseas for your MBA. Here's what you can gain.
  5. Personal Finance

    Insider's Guide To The Top U.S. Business Schools

    The best business school for you depends on your skills, career goals and interests. We help future MBA's make a more informed choice.
  6. Personal Finance

    10 Habits of Successful People

    10 of the most-often cited habits of people who have enjoyed success in business and in life.
  7. Savings

    5 Ways To Be Irreplaceable At Work

    Companies most value five certain behaviors, and the employees who exhibit them establish themselves as essential to an organization.
  8. Economics

    What Does a Relationship Manager Do?

    A firm’s relationship manager works to maintain positive relationships with its customers and partner firms.
  9. Personal Finance

    10 Tips for Strategic Networking

    Learn the rules of networking so you can operate like a pro. After all, maintaining a strong network is essential in today's job environment.
  10. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Law

    Learn some of the most important differences between a career in investment banking and law, and figure out which career suits you better.
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!