Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » 4 Items You Can Leave Out of Your Resume

It’s common to find information regarding what should be included in your resume, but there are also items that could very well be left off to create a cleaner, more purposeful document.  In fact, lots of bits and pieces don’t have to be incorporated in your resume.  Here are four that are good to steer clear of:

1. An Objective Statement

For many years, the objective statement was the always-used sentence that was listed near the top of your resume, meant to tell the employer why you should be hired for a position.  But in recent years, this statement has grown less popular, largely because it tells little about who you are and why you’re qualified.

A good replacement for the objective statement is the headline/job target, which tells employers in the form of an advertisement who you are and why you’re an attractive candidate; in addition, the career summary is a great way to list the reasons you are a great candidate.

2. A Photograph

In the United States, there is rarely a need to add a photo to your resume.  The only exception might be if you’re applying for a modeling, acting, or other entertainment-based job.  U.S. employers are not legally permitted to judge candidates based on their physical features, but if you do provide a photo, you have given the hiring manager the ability to show bias while providing a different reason for declining you for a position.  So to make the process fairer and more professional, it’s good to just leave your photo off of the resume.

3. References

Over the years, employers have lost interest in seeing references on resumes, so there’s no need to attach a sheet with references listed or a note at the bottom of the resume that references can be contacted upon request.  Many employers conduct such thorough background checks that they never need to contact references anyway.  But if you really feel like you want to address this issue, you could include a couple of testimonials on your page, then add a link to your LinkedIn page where you have a boatload of recommendations.

4. Unrelated or Short-Term Work History

If you’ve worked a couple of temporary jobs that are completely unrelated to the job you are now applying for—or any other jobs over the years that are either outdated or showcase low-level skills (e.g., working in fast food restaurants as a teen)—there’s no need to include them on your resume.  Employers are interested in seeing how you’ve built the career you’re in now and want to see that you have the qualifications needed to succeed in the position for which they are hiring.  Adding other details just clutters up the resume and leaves the manager feeling that you may not be the right candidate for the job.

There’s no doubt that plenty of information should be included in your resume, such as contact information, a thorough and relevant work and education history, and pertinent skills.  But if you veer too far from the basics, you could lose steam in your job search.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Harry on December 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Great article. With regards to the objective being no longer necessary is this a reflection of globalisation / standardisation?

    In the UK it appears that more and more people are combining the personal profile with the objective.

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