5 Things NOT to Include in Your Resume

Your resume is often the first impression a potential employer has of you. There is only limited space to impress and make you stand out against other applicants. Since resumes are typically best kept brief and concise, you must strategically use the space available to highlight only the most relevant and necessary information and elevate your application. Some information can work to your disadvantage and may even become a barrier in landing your desired interview. 


Resumes are your foot in the door, so to speak. When you craft a resume that is impressive, comprehensive and professional, you present yourself in the best possible light and give employers a sense of intrigue. The point of difference in your resume will help motivate employers to get to know you better. Like any successful application, your ability to land interviews is imperative, and the only way to secure that highly coveted call is through a well-written and organised resume.

Informative and compelling resumes follow a checklist of compulsory information, but some of us tend to go overboard. Here are some of the things that do not belong in a professional resume in line with best practice and Australian National Employment Standards.

  1. Photo

Apart from taking up valuable space in your resume, a photo is generally not required since it is not in line with any standard national hiring protocol. In fact, some HR practitioners think that including a photo is not at all professional. Furthermore, companies who are expanding into more ethical and socially responsible hiring avoid any reason to be construed as discriminatory, and therefore, remove any factors that could play into their inherent hiring biases.  To be on the safe side, a photo should be excluded as this space can better be used in highlighting key achievements, skills, and professional behaviour. An exemption to the rule is certain jobs such as flight attendants.

  • Date of Birth 

Everything you include in your resume must serve a purpose to your potential employers. Other information such as date of birth, religion, or political leanings must be excluded from your resume in the same reason why adding photos must also be avoided: to avoid unnecessary discrimination. Previously, this was a widely accepted practice but legislation in certain professional circles have made strides in avoiding discriminatory practice that include racism, ageism, etc. Some of this information may even work to your disadvantage and is sometimes considered unprofessional.

  • Marital Status or other personal information  

In the same way that age, race, religion, and politics are commonly avoided discussion points in professional circles, marital status is also deeply personal information that must kept outside of professional discourse. Apart from this irrelevant information being unnecessary in building a pitch for a job, it potentially opens up many doors for discrimination and prejudice. Your prospective employer is only concerned about whether you are right for the position, not whether you are married, single or even divorced. Ideally, you should leave out any personal information that could count against you during any stage in the screening process. 

  • Reason for leaving previous job 

One of the most important aspects of leaving a job and transitioning to a new one is to convey the thought that change and moving on is part of professional growth. It is widely understood that applicants have their own reasons for leaving companies, and this is something that hiring managers usually avoid asking. The merits of any application should only be based on skill and competencies, and any information on reasons why you left your previous company may count against you and prejudice you from getting an interview. Sometimes, the reason for leaving may be circumstances that you had no control whatsoever and may work against your pitch for this job. Do not volunteer this information, especially when it will put you in negative light, however you may be asked to disclose this during the interview stage.

  • Academic results and grades

Lastly, it is no longer necessary to include grades, especially if they are below 70%. Most employers are not concerned with how well you did in school in terms of a numerical grade, but how well you are able to apply concepts and learnings into a professional setting.  If your grades are below the passing rate, including them in your resume may raise questions on performance and competence. On the other hand, if your grades are exceptional, they may improve your chance of modelling excellence and diligence and demonstrate key achievements.

Overall the foundations of a successful job application lie in presenting only the vital information required. Recruiters and employers from all disciplines and fields are looking for an outstanding track record, and there is no better way to demonstrate that by writing a succinct, powerful and impressive resume that is in line with best practices and accepted industry standards.

When in doubt about how to write your resume, as well as what to include and what to exclude from your applications, you can always consult with Darwin Resume. Our expert team of experienced HR professionals can help you in formulating a resume that is compliant with hiring standards and regulatory requirements. Contact us today to find out more.