Last week we reviewed key aspects recruiters look for in a resume.  This week we will focus on what recruiters don’t want to see on a resume and how to avoid getting your resume tossed in the trash.

I’ve had a few resume revamps over the years to reflect my evolving career as a nurse pursuing higher education or seeking out a new position. Over the years I’ve added sections, deleted sections and moved things around, but it was all built upon my original resume written years ago.

Each time I completed a resume revamp, I researched the latest in resume etiquette and found that a few aspects popular when I first started my resume are now considered a no-no, but I still see some people making the same outdated mistakes that may get their resume tossed in the trash before even getting to the hiring manager’s desk.

Here are a few resume don’ts to keep in mind for your revamp:

1. GPA. No one has ever asked me my GPA when interviewing me for a job.  Honestly employers really only care that you have a degree and experience for the job you’re applying.

2. Nursing License number. Placing your license number on your resume is unnecessary and an easy steal for identity thieves. Employers can look up your professional license number on your state’s BON.

3. References available on request. This is a statement that goes without saying and wastes valuable space on your resume. Leave it out and provide references when asked.

4. Photo. Unless you’re applying for a modeling or acting position, a photo is a no-no for your resume.

See also
Do You Know These 5 Preparation Tips for Job Interview Confidence?

5. Unprofessional email address. Don’t apply for a job with an email address like [email protected] or [email protected]. This is unprofessional and an employer is likely to trash your otherwise stellar resume because of something like this. Set-up a new email account for job-hunting if you just so happen to have one of these cutesy email addresses.

6. Not tailoring to a specific job. Each resume you send out should be tailored to the specific job you apply for. This means adding specific keywords (see last post) for each job and changing your objectives section.

7. High school. High school education should be left out if you are not a new grad who completed nursing school right after graduating high school. Employers don’t really care about high school education if you’ve completed a college degree.

8. Hobbies. I have to admit, at one point in time I did include my hobbies and interests on my resume. This information is a bit too personal to include on a resume. What if you love the NFL team your interviewer hates? Or your political preferences don’t align with the interviewer? This is a no-win situation. Leave this section out of your resume.

9. Typos. Proofreading your resume for mistakes before submitting to an employer is critical. First impressions are important and nothing turns off hiring managers more than spotting typos in a resume. Typos make even the most qualified candidate for the job look unprofessional

10. Lie. This is a biggie. Lies on your resume is a no-no. This includes embellishing your title, education or work experience. Don’t leave out dates of employment; this is a red flag for employers who may think you are hiding something.

See also
Inclusion, Part 1: Your Role in an Inclusive Work Environment

What other resume no-no’s have you seen? Leave a comment so we can talk about it! 

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at


Nachole Johnson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
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