You put <i>what</i> on your resume?

Published March 10, 2016

The purpose of a resume is pretty cut-and-dried: to use your professional background and skills to land a new opportunity. Working for a staffing agency, I have seen some of the best and the worst. In many cases, the bad resumes could have been great, but they contained too much information. Avoid these mistakes to keep your resume from being overlooked.

Using salutations: This happens too often. Candidates introduce themselves in the way that they should for an introduction of a cover letter. This ends up taking space that should have been for skills, experience or education. If you feel like you need to formally present yourself to the company to clarify the type of candidate you are, then create a separate document and write a cover letter. Don't let this interfere with the content on your resume. Write your resume as a summary, not as a conversation with the person reading it.

Adding a selfie: Unless specifically asked to do so, do not add a photo of yourself to your resume. While you could easily make the photo small enough to fit in the contact information portion of the resume, reviewing a resume with a picture of the candidate is uncomfortable. You are trying to sell your professional experience, not your personal appearance. You can focus on that aspect when the company calls you to schedule an interview. Until then, nix the selfie.

Including a full page of references: Most of the time, having a list of professional references is a necessity when going through the hiring process, but including this list as part of your resume is not the way to go. First, if your resume is on a public site and you include your references' contact information, you have just opened the door for them to receive unwelcome solicitations. Second, your potential employer could contact them at any time after you give them the list. If you keep their information private until you're asked to provide this list, you can better estimate when your references might receive a call and give them a heads up.

Creating a 10-page resume: It is extremely rare that an employer will read about your experience past the second page. A definition of resume is a condensed statement, therefore, summarize your experience highlighting major responsibilities and accomplishments. If you feel like it's important for the company to know every project you've worked on, include a note at the end: "Project list available upon request." In most cases, creating an extensive and long resume ends up being a wasted effort.

Remind yourself what the purpose of a resume is. Make sure you know the difference between a cover letter and a resume. It doesn't matter how you look or how well you can write an opening statement, it's your professional experience and what you have accomplished as a professional that ultimately matter. Keep it short and concise, and save your references from unsolicited calls unless you're ready to find yourself new ones.

Jayme Byrd is the sales and marketing assistant of Davron Staffing. The Tampa-based firm recruits technical experts in engineering, architecture and construction. Go to for more information.