Education Career Services

February 1, 2010

What to Leave Out besides the Kitchen Sink….

By Kimberly Sarmiento

As I was reviewing a friend’s career documents recently, it occurred to me that some people wrote their resume for their first job and simply did nothing but update it with every new position.  After a few career transitions, the document was in need of serious trimming!

We put a great deal of emphasis on what should go into your resume – quantifiable achievements, top-line contributions, and cost-saving initiatives for example.  However, we also need to focus on what can come out. 

Collegiate Achievements: Unless you are a recent graduate, there is no need to point out that you lettered in varsity sports, was the captain of the chess team, or served as president of Gamma Beta Kappa.  In fact, even if you are a recent graduate, you can leave those things off your resume unless you can attach an accomplishment with them.

GPAs and Dates: As much as like to infuse figures into career documents, there are a few numbers we can leave out.  Once again, unless you graduated in the last couple of years, the employer doesn’t need to know your GPA or if you graduated with honors.  We also recommend you leave off the date you obtained your degree.  This gives an automatic cue as to your age which can tell your potential employer you are either too old or too young for consideration.

Lists of Duties/Responsibilities: These laundry lists tell the employer nothing about what you have done or what you can do for a company.  Whenever possible, take one of your responsibilities and pair it up with an accomplishment.  But also remember that some things are implicit in your job title.  We expect a Senior Support Specialist to provide support.  You don’t have long to make an impression (30 second at most!) so don’t waste time telling the reader what they can figure out on their own.

References: It is not longer necessary to provide a list of references in your resume or make the statement that references are available upon request.  Hiring authorities expect you can provide them with references.  Prepare a sheet to leave behind during an interview, but don’t worry about in your introductory documents.

Salary Information: Even if a job add requests salary information, it is best not to provide this in your resume or cover letter.  Salary should always be addressed during an interview.

Personal Information/Photos: It was once in vogue to supply a potential employer with a professional photo on your resume along with information about your interest and personal life.  Today, the law protects you from having to reveal this sort of information and it would be best not to open yourself up to unintentional discrimination right from the start with a bad picture or a hobby the hiring executive finds dangerous.

Remember when you craft your resume and cover letter that optimizing space and words is as much about removing needless information as it is about including top accomplishments.  To make an impact, you must make every word count!

Thank you Kimberly; as always, your insight is greatly appreciated.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Comment by Lucy — February 2, 2010 @ 9:26 am

  2. Lucy,
    I am certainly glad you left a comment and visiting our blog. I appreciate your feedback and let me know if there are topics of special interest you would like feedback on.

    Comment by careersi — February 2, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

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