What NOT to put on your resume when applying for a hospitality job
When you’re applying for a job in hospitality, you should only include information that pertains to the job for which you’re applying. Of course, we all know to put the basics, like your contact information, relevant experience, and education. However, there are definitely some items you don’t need to share and that may actually work against you in the hiring process.
Here is what you need to avoid when creating that credible and compelling resume that gets you the interview:
- The date you created your resume. There’s no need to share the date your resume was written. The only dates to include are in the section about your education and work experience.
- Any additional personal information beyond your address, email and phone number. There’s no need to include your birth date, affiliations that are not relevant to the job, ethnic background or any physical characteristics such as weight or height, your health, marital status, etc.
- A photo. Most companies prefer that you not include a photo of yourself since it may have consequences for their Equal Employment Opportunity compliance regulations.
- Any GPA information from school, especially if it’s a low GPA. You also have no need to include all the schools you attended all the way back to elementary. Just list your high school and college names and your date of graduation and degree earned. However, only include high school information if you do not have any college experience; once you've attended college, there is no need to list your high school details.
- Unrelated job experience. While many jobs provide general skills that carry forward to your next job, you need only list the jobs that have a direct bearing on this particular application, including non-hospitality positions that demonstrate specific qualifications mentioned in the job description or jobs that you’ve held for a long period of time.
- Personal hobbies that don’t relate to hospitality service. Only list your hobby if it relates to the job you’re applying for. For example, if your hobby is cooking and you’re applying for a food/beverage job, you should list that on your resume and discuss in an interview.
- List of references or stating that “references are available upon request.” It is generally understood that you’ll be able to provide references if needed. Don’t waste valuable resume space by listing names and addresses of your past employers or personal references.
- Career objective. This is a throwback to an earlier time when you listed what you were looking for in a job. Instead, write a brief summary or statement that showcases what you have to offer in this position.
- Anything that’s untrue or exaggerated. Never, never, never put anything on your resume that cannot be verified as true. Don’t list achievements that aren’t really “achievements” – being prom king/queen is not an achievement.
- Anything negative about past jobs or employers. It’s never a good idea to trash a former manager, colleague or company. Along the same lines, avoid listing things you have not yet accomplished, such as “not yet graduated.” Stick with listing the positives and the things you have accomplished or are working toward accomplishing, such as the date you will graduate.
- Bad grammar and poor spelling... And you don’t impress anyone by using big words or obscure acronyms that no one knows about. Keep it simple and easy to understand, highlighting your strengths and experience.
- Weird fonts or attention-getting graphics. This is the hospitality industry, not a graphic design position. These tactics to gain attention have all been done before and make it harder for a potential hiring manager to find the information he/she needs to decide to give you an interview. Spend your time providing as much relevant detail as possible, rather than focusing on how your resume looks. Simple and easy to read is always a best practice.
- Don’t hide any gaps in your employment….that doesn’t fool anyone. You’re better off explaining honestly what you were doing during that period and what skills you’ve picked up that will help you in this job.
- Don’t send extra documents or papers along with your resume that the employer is not asking for. It doesn’t help to send transcripts, awards or letters of recommendation. When you get the interview, you may want to bring these along for a “show-and-tell.”
- Make it easy for the hiring manager to find the skills, education and experience you have to offer and how it applies to this job description. Don't try to make your resume stand out by using bright-colored paper, display fonts or flowery language. That will only give the impression you’re not serious about the job or, worse, that you don't really have anything of substance to put on the resume so you're trying to distract the employer with these unnecessary flourishes. Put your best foot forward and show that you’re someone who knows how to communicate, is professional and can express yourself clearly.