Erasing Resume Blunders

Posted July 3, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Building Your Brand

Sometimes we all wish our life could come equipped with one big eraser – that those things we’re ashamed of or wish hadn’t happened could all but disappear. Unfortunately, though, all of the erasers in our lives are usually equipped more like the one above – a big flash drive, saving our mistakes and blunders for future use….or blackmail.

A common question about this eraser, though, is whether or not it works on resumes. If your resume is putting your best foot forward, explaining your affiliations and accomplishments, is it alright to use a giant eraser to get rid of the parts you’re not proud of? Maybe it’s that first job out of college you were fired from, or perhaps it’s the job you worked for 3 months before deciding you’d rather get paid to watch paint dry. Do you wish you could just say you have a Bachelor’s degree and not a Bachelor’s degree from Coors Light University? As time goes on, and as our careers progress, naturally there are eraser wish lists for us all.

So what can you erase from your resume without ramifications? Here are a few common and acceptable pieces to erase – all the while knowing that with the power of Google, you may be erasing reappearing ink.

  • Age identifiers. Age discrimination exists – both for those on the high end of the age spectrum and those on the low end. It’s perfectly acceptable to erase those college graduation dates. It’s enough that your potential employer knows where you graduated and your degree. If at some time in the process, they ask for transcripts, you can provide them, but there’s no need to scream “I’m 21!” on the top of your resume.
  • Irrelevant experience. If you spent your first two years out of college working in banking before changing careers to focus on public relations, there really isn’t a need to include your banking job on your resume. But be aware that if you remove even an irrelevant job from your resume, an employer might be primed to ask about that potential hole in your resume. Perhaps include another section over “Other Work Experience” where you just list a job title, company, and time frame rather than listing descriptions and accomplishments as well.
  • Months. If you have small gaps on your resume – 4-6 months, for instance, it’s perfectly acceptable to remove months from your resume and instead list only years – Job A, 2009-2010, Job B 2010-Present.

While a giant eraser may not be possible for some parts of your career, you can learn to jazz up those parts to make them less scary and seem like smaller red flags. It’s all about how you present yourself.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."