by / Monday, 06 June 2016 / Published in Blog

Your resume is often the first thing a prospective employer sees, so you want to make sure it includes accurate and carefully worded descriptions of your background and skills as a security officer. But writing a resume isn’t just about what to include on the page; what not to include can be equally important. In fact, many resumes contain elements that actually harm a candidate’s potential to get hired – without the candidate even realizing it. So what exactly should you skip? Here are five items that would be better left off a resume when applying for a security officer position:

Long summaries. When describing skills and job responsibilities at past places of employment, avoid writing rambling summaries that add length and clutter to a resume. Instead, discuss work history in a short, concise manner. A brief paragraph outlining a previous security job position not only reads better than a long summary, it looks more professional. Bulleted lists are another effective means to describe skills and responsibilities. Many security employers prefer this style of resume writing because it provides better clarity, readability, and organization.

Irrelevant extracurricular activities. Hobbies, personal interests, and other non-relevant activities should not be included in a resume if they offer no value to your security professional profile. Any extracurricular activities you list on a resume should somehow demonstrate your unique skills or work ethic as a security guard. If a hobby or interest helps show pertinent expertise, you might prefer to discuss it in a cover letter. Memberships to organizations, such as ASIAL on the other hand, can be useful items to include in a resume, especially if they involve professional development, training and security courses.

Short-term, trivial jobs. Security jobs that lasted a few weeks or months can look like filler material on a resume and might give the impression that you are a job hopper. If possible, stick with listing only past security positions that lasted at least six months and that show your commitment, experience, and skill set as a security officer. That said, be prepared to explain any gaps in work history as well as unlisted security jobs that might be discovered through a background check. And don’t omit from a resume relevant contract (freelance) work or volunteer positions, which can offer insight into your unique talents and work dedication.

Embellishments. A personal photograph, or any photograph for that matter, should be left off a resume. Photos can lead to claims of discrimination and are inappropriate for a resume. Fancy designs and fonts are another embellishment that can mar an otherwise good resume. Choose clean, easy-to-read sans-serif fonts for resumes, like Calibri or Arial, in a 12-point font size. When writing a resume, avoid decorative graphics as well, since they draw attention to the appearance rather than the substance of the resume. 

References and other excess information. If and when security employers choose to check references, they will ask for names. Even a statement like “References available upon request” is unnecessary, unprofessional, and outdated. Likewise, don’t list salary requirements unless asked. Doing so can either shortchange you if the figure is too low or ruin your chances of getting an offer if the requirement is too high. Finally, one e-mail address, postal address, and phone number are all that are needed for contact information. Make getting a hold of you a simple, one-step process. And avoid including emails such as bamby69@hotmail.com as it looks very unprofessional and leaves a bad impression when applying for a security position.

Resumes are an important tool for security employers in choosing the right candidate for a security position. Make sure yours excludes information that doesn’t add value to your profile as a security professional – and that might, in the end, hurt your chances of getting hired.