Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Does Not Belong on your Resume?

In a previous blog entry, I addressed the five most important elements that belong on your resume. Today, I would like to address the taboo items – those things that should not be listed. When it comes to resumes, there really are no hard and fast rules. However, there are items that can negatively effect how you are perceived by potential employers. Here are a few.

The question of salary should not be addressed on the resume. Ultimately, the only time you want to discuss salary is when they are making you a job offer. However, if the employer requests a salary history, list this on a separate sheet of paper – not on the resume itself.

Personal Information
Consider that you have very limited, very valuable real estate on a resume. Filling this space with irrelevant and inappropriate information such as your hobbies, personal interests, health, height and weight, age, race, marital status, or number of children is a waste of space. Most of this information is illegal for an employer to ask you in an interview, so why provide it on your resume? This list also includes your photograph, which is almost never acceptable to include.

Of course, there are exceptions to listing hobbies or volunteer experience. An example would be when this information is relevant to the job or demonstrates an affinity for the industry – such as sports or a specific charity – for which you are applying.

Supervisor Names and References
References and supervisor names, unless requested along with your resume, should not be submitted until the interview. Most employers will not take the time to check references until they have had a chance to speak with you in person. Also, avoid the line “references available upon request” at the bottom of the resume. It is a given assumption you will provide them as requested. Once again, this is nothing more than a waste of valuable space.

High School Education
Very seldom do we list high school education on a resume. If you have any college degrees or courses toward a college degree, you can leave the high school education off the resume. However, there are a few exceptions. If the job posting specifically requires a high school education, then you should list you diploma and the school you attended. Don’t list the date of education, as you don’t want to make your age an issue in the screening process.

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