Here’s What to Leave Off Your Resume As You Update It for 2019
Whether you are working on a scholarship application, asking for a letter of recommendation from a teacher, or applying for a job, a resume is a valuable tool to compile all of your achievements on one page. However, it’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to resume writing, longer doesn’t necessary equal better.
It can be beneficial for students as early as 9th grade to begin building up a list of their achievements and experiences, and students should continue to update their resume as their activities and interests change throughout high school. Of course, when compiling a resume you shouldn’t shy away from highlighting the skills you have learned, the work and internship experience you have obtained, and the academic achievements you are most proud of, but there are some words, phrases, and competencies that are better left omitted. Here’s what to edit out to ensure your resume is polished, professional, and something that will set you apart from the rest in 2019!
Resume writers of all ages should focus on more recent experiences that highlight current capabilities and avoid throwing in achievements from the distant past that aren’t aligned with current objectives. For example, if you are currently in high school, avoid including an accomplishment or experience from middle school. Colleges want to know about your four years of high school – not your middle or elementary school experiences. If you’re in college applying for an on or off campus job or internship, remove any points on your resume that date back past high school. If your high school experience is relevant to the job, internship, or scholarship you’re applying to leave it there, but if not – take it off. Similarly, college graduates should avoid keeping achievements from high school on their resumes.
Every component of an application should be tailored to whatever role you are applying for, including the competencies you list on your resume. Avoid listing as many skills as possible and instead strive for quality over quantity. Focus on capabilities that will help you stand out and enable you to excel at the tasks associated with whatever you are applying for. Similarly, leave off “give-ins” or skills that most high school and college students have obtained such as Microsoft Word, typing, or email. Adding in these basic competencies can give off the impression that you are trying to pad your resume and detract from the true knowledge and technical expertise you have obtained.
Avoid long statements like "I was responsible for X, Y, Z." A resume should be a streamlined highlight reel of what you have done during your academic and/or professional career. Think about the skills and abilities you have honed through prior experiences and come up with a handful of keywords that describe the actions you excel at. Some good examples can include “analyzed” “initiated” and “created,” all of which are verbs that also indicate valuable leadership qualities such as problem solving, creativity, and adaptability. Use these keywords throughout your resume to streamline your writing, taking out any "I" references, make your statements more actionable and drive home your greatest strengths.
Leave out words like “interesting” “outstanding” or “unparalleled,” which cannot be proven or backed up in any way. Whoever is reviewing your resume wants to learn what you were responsible for and the skills you obtained; they are less interested in adjectives like these, which do not point to any specific ability or form of expertise. Ideally, your references or teachers writing letters of recommendation will use these kinds of words to describe your work, which is far more impactful than you applying them to yourself.
Not sure when to start working on your resume? At IvyWise we work with students through all phases of the admissions process, including providing guidance on what extracurricular activities and summer programs to participate in, how to craft a resume, and more. Our team of expert admissions counselors can help you pursue impactful interests by helping you identify your passions and chose pursuits that relate to them. Contact us today for more information on our college counseling services.