Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Workin’ It: What to Never Include in Your Resume

Last time, we talked about what should always be included in your resume. This time, we’ll take a look at what you should never include in it.

Keep It Professional

Your resume should be designed to present the details about your professional self. The key word here is professional. Your resume is not the place for personal information, other than your address, phone number, and email address. Never include your birth date, marital status, or hobbies on your resume. You should also omit any references to religious or political affiliations. These things are not relevant to the prospective employer’s evaluation of you. Also, be very careful about including your blog. If it is strictly personal, it’s probably not a good idea to include the link on your resume.

Keep It Relevant
A resume is not an autobiography. You do not need to include every job you’ve ever had or every school you’ve ever attended. Only include the information that will promote your skills in the best possible light. This includes employment dates. If you have had gaps in your employment for one reason or another, consider choosing a resume format that omits dates. Make sure that everything on your resume is relevant to the position you are seeking.

Keep References In Their Place
It’s great that you’ve got enthusiastic references, but you don’t need to list them on your resume. Create a separate reference sheet you can take with you to the interview. That old line “references available upon request” is not needed. Instead, use that space to sell your skills.

Keep Your Photo Off
In most cases, a resume should not include your photograph. There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you’re applying for a position in the hospitality or performing arts fields, the job posting may include a request for your photo. A good rule of thumb is don’t supply a photograph unless you’ve been asked for one. Save your smiling face for presentation at the interview. It is fine, however, to put your photo on your LinkedIn profile and include your LinkedIn URL on your resume.

Keep It Clean
I can’t stress this enough: Your resume must be error-free! No typos, no grammatical mistakes, no misspellings. It pays to have at least two other people proofread your resume before you send it out.

By paying careful attention to what you put in your resume and what you leave out, you’ll have a much better chance of creating a hard-working resume that’ll help you land your desired job!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Workin’ It: What to Always Include in Your Resume

When it comes to writing a resume, the most basic considerations are what to put in it and what to leave out. Obviously, you’ll include your name, address, and phone number. And you’ll probably remember to add your email address to your contact info. But if you have a website or blog, you may also want to include those URLs. (This will depend on what the content is. If your blog is highly personal and not relevant to your professional life, you’ll probably want to skip it.)

Recently, I’ve noticed that some job seekers are including the URL of their LinkedIn profile. Depending on what your profile looks like and how relevant it is to the position you’re applying for, it may not be a bad idea to include your LinkedIn info at the top of your resume. This is especially true if you’ve carefully crafted your profile and have received glowing recommendations from those who know your work.

Some other basics for every resume include the names of the companies where you’ve worked and your job titles there, along with the organizations’ addresses. I believe you really only need the city and state for each employer’s address. By omitting the street address, you end up with a cleaner-looking document.

Now on to the heart of your resume: skills and accomplishments. This is the area where you sell your talents and convince prospective employers that they should interview you. It’s not enough to list what you do – you really need to expand your job description to include the results of your hard work. You want to clearly show the kind of positive results employers can expect if they hire you. Including results can make the difference between a good resume and a great one.

Speaking of results, I strongly urge you to use numbers when describing your accomplishments. Numbers are powerful indicators of your talents. For instance, perhaps as an account executive, you effortlessly juggled 35 accounts at a time. Maybe as a non-profit manager, you wrote grant proposals which generated more than $500,000 in annual support. Reread these sentences without the numbers, and I think you’ll see for yourself the huge difference that numbers can make. You can also include the numbers of years you worked for a company or in a particular type of job. This might look something like, “For more than 20 years, designed innovative brochures, flyers, advertisements, and direct mail pieces for advertising agencies and in-house marketing departments.”

Include your education in a separate section of your resume. If you attended college but did not graduate, you can indicate this by including the total number of college credits you’ve received.

By including these basic resume components, you’ll be one step closer to getting those all-important interviews. Next time, we’ll take a look at what you should never include in your resume.