5 Things Never to Put in Your Job Application

5 Things Never to Put in Your Job Application
Make sure that your job application and resume present you in the best possible light.

At some point in your job search process, you created a résumé. Your résumé is a critical part of the documentation which you furnish an employer when you apply for a job. Any job. Your future employer wants to know that you possess the qualifications necessary to be able to do the job for which they are hiring you. Your future employer also needs to verify your qualifications and credentials. What we are going to do in this article is to examine your résumé with an objective, clinical eye in order to present you and your qualifications in the best possible light. Many job applications are done online. That means that you will have to be very careful as you copy and paste information from your résumé to the online job application fields. More about that later.

This short video offers some helpful advice on how to fill out a job application.

In the meantime here are some items which have no place in your job résumé. You either need to omit them entirely or include them in your curriculum vitae.

Meaningless awards and affiliations

Some awards, medals, and affiliations might be relevant when you apply for certain positions. For example, if you are applying for a job with the Boy Scouts of America, your Eagle Scout status is relevant. On other job applications, the badges you earned while you were a Boy Scout which meant a great deal at the time are probably not relevant in an employment application. Use your good judgment. When in doubt, leave it out.

Peggy McKee explains the realities of looking for a job in today's market.

On the other hand, if you were a National Merit Scholar, that deserves a line in your résumé. Put that right before the entry about your Fulbright Scholarship or Rhodes Scholarship. Ok, you get the point. Anything to do with academic achievement is something to be proud of and relevant. When you are applying for private school employment, academic achievement trumps just about everything else. At a minimum, it should get you an interview. Remember: you will be teaching young people who want to learn. Your strong academic performance can and will inspire your students. Having strong academic credentials provides the best kind of example to your students. Private schools know that and value it highly.

Outlandish hobbies and interests

Everything in your job application should support the impression which you are trying to create in the reader's mind. That impression is "This is somebody we need to interview." You will be teaching young people who have enough off-the-wall influences seeking their attention day in and day out. Most schools would rather hire adults who can be exemplars and role models of steadiness and resolve. Their clientele, i.e., parents, expect that and much more. Mainstream hobbies and interests will not raise red flags. Be sure to include one or two on your application. Since you are being interviewed for a teaching position, it might also be a thought to have a few titles of books you have read recently on the tip of your tongue.

If you have presented at a professional conference, list that. If you just performed at Aspen, list that. Be sure to have copies of the programs for these events in your portfolio just in case somebody asks to see them. Employment applications are designed to create a profile of the applicant. What you say in print translates into a portrait of you. Make sure that your portrait is as flattering as it can be.

Physical Characteristics

Unless you are applying to be the fencing coach or some other athletic position, physical characteristics have no place in an employment application. The fact that you are 4'10" or are bald is irrelevant. What you can do for the school as a teacher is relevant. "Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit." - Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices

Religious and political views

Your religious views may indeed be relevant on some private school job applications. If the school requires a statement of faith and you are comfortable embracing its tenets, then, by all means, refer to your religious views as something which are relevant. However, if you are applying to a non-sectarian school, keep your religious views to yourself. Strictly speaking, religion is not something employers can ask about. It is illegal so to do. According to "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin" in hiring and recruiting, to name just 2 aspects of the employment process in which discrimination is illegal.

The least offensive way to present your religious beliefs when indeed they are relevant to the position for which you are applying is to list your employment at the various faith-based institutions at which you worked. For example, I served as director of music in several Episcopal parishes back in the 70s and 80s. That work history speaks for itself on my résumé.

Fake credentials

Nothing will get you in more trouble than listing credentials you haven't earned. Every credential you list will be verified. So if you state that you graduated from Princeton but actually only attended a seminar there, that will catch up with you sooner or later. Listing credentials which you don't actually have could be a career-limiting event as well. Academic honesty is paramount in any private school. You will find that academic honesty is enshrined in the school's code of conduct and policies. Once again, you are an exemplar for your students of both academic and personal honesty and integrity. Don't imply that you have credentials which you do not have. You may be extremely knowledgeable and well-read in a specific subject area. Be that as it may, you must not imply or hint that you hold credentials in that subject.

This brief video explains the risks of listing fake credentials.


It is important to assume nothing and to imply nothing. Wi when applying for a job. With that warning in mind and since you have so much riding on your job résumé, take the time to have a trusted adviser or mentor review your job application. He will notice things that you may have omitted. He will suggest enhancing the qualifications which you have already listed. One final word of advice: make haste slowly. That's my way of saying that you shouldn't rush through drafting or updating your résumé. Create the first draft. Save it. Then email it to your mentor or trusted advisor to review.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @privateschoolreview

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