Leave These Off Your Cleared Resume

Posted by Pat Tovo

bad email addressesDuring your job search you’ll be exposed to many articles, experts or friend feedback that will tell you how to write a good resume. Some of that may be very good advice….and some of it probably won’t be so good. Part of the analysis you’ll need to do with that information is figuring out what not to put on your resume.

It’s an accepted fact that busy recruiters and hiring managers only give a resume about 6-10 seconds to decide if the candidate merits more attention, or if their resume is a pass. Don’t waste that valuable time by including unnecessary details.

Write a better resume by avoiding these common pitfalls.

Personal Info

Your resume should be a snapshot of your relevant professional life – not your personal life. Don’t include your marital status, religious preference, race, or social security number. It’s now illegal for employers to ask about the first three of these references, and with today’s identity theft issues you certainly don’t want your social security number floating around. Leave off your street address as well.

Your Security Clearance Expiration Date

This surprised us. We surveyed cleared recruiters and they prefer that you simply state your clearance level on your resume, and do so up front. The reason is that so many cleared candidates have the wrong information. At the appropriate time, they’ll check JPAS.


Really? Who cares if you have a model train collection or won swimming medals? If it’s not relevant to the position you’re seeking, it’s a waste of valuable space. When is this possibly relevant? When you’re interviewing. If you’ve done your background research about the individuals you’ll be meeting with (Google, LinkedIn, scan of what’s in their office), then a reference to a common hobby can be an ice breaker and common ground to help establish a relationship.

Your Age or Birthday

Age discrimination is against the law, but unconscious age bias is very common. Don’t make it easy for a recruiter to bypass you based on age. Stating that you have 25 years of IT experience only matters if the job description asks for 25 years of experience. How many of those have you seen recently? Review your resume to make sure there are no dates that reveal how old you are – this includes dates of education and training.

Another often overlooked way to give away your age: Using a double space after a period.


Don’t place generic reference information on your resume. When the time comes, if the employer is interested they will request contact details. Your references should be chosen to speak knowingly to specific skills required for the position. You also want to give the reference a heads up if someone will be calling them.

And there is no need to put “references upon request” on your resume. It’s a given and a waste of space.

Using a Non Professional Email Address

If you still use email addresses like MoonDoggie@yahoo or PartyGirl@gmail it’s time to move on to the professional world. New email addresses are a click away and can be directed into your primary email account.

Hint: If you’re still using an AOL account, that’s another way to scream “Yes, I’m old.” Or that you’re out of touch with today’s technology.

Current Job Contact Info

This bypasses stupid and goes right to risky. Do you really want potential employers calling you or emailing you at your current job? These days many companies monitor emails and phone calls so don’t take the chance of getting fired. Also it sends a bad message to a recruiter about your loyalty and professionalism.

Industry or Company Jargon

It’s a given that industries and companies have their own lingo and jargon, but your resume is not the place to use it. Scan your resume carefully and make sure you have removed any reference to terms known only within a specific framework.


Salary does not need to be addressed on a resume which should deal with experience and skills. The money conversation comes later in the interview process.

Busy Fonts

Fancy pants fonts will also be a turn off. Assume that your resume will be scanned or converted at some point. Resumes with colored type or hard-to-read type often get jumbled in that process. Job seekers make the mistake of thinking frills make their resume stand out, but it really just makes you potentially unreachable.

Why You Left Your Job

Again, focus on skills and let the personal explanations wait until asked. Stating reasons for departure upfront are irrelevant on the resume and won’t improve chances for an interview.

College GPA

Unless you are right out of school, your grades aren’t so relevant. And if your GPA was lower than a 3.5, don’t use it at all.

Opinion vs. Facts

Resumes should include quantifiable facts, i.e., Increased sales by 25% during the fiscal year. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to sell yourself with overused phrases like “I’m an excellent team leader” or “highly motivated”. Concentrate on accomplishments.

There’s a great cleared job waiting for you out there. Don’t miss out on a terrific opportunity by making these needless resume mistakes.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling.




This entry was posted on Sunday, February 04, 2018 12:42 pm

3 thoughts on “Leave These Off Your Cleared Resume”

    1. Byron, you should not apply for a cleared job if you don’t have a clearance. However, if the job posting specifically states that they will clear qualified applicants, then it’s fair game.

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