Career & Coffee

Resume Writing, Job Search, Industry News and Erin’s weekly musings on all things career.

Keeping it Relevant on your Resume April 10, 2009

It is very important to keep the information on your resume as relevant as possible. Remember, the hiring person is only going to take around 15 seconds to scan your resume, so yours has to be “quick and dirty”. In other words, keep your information current and pertinent to the job you want. If the reader has to weed through loads of extracurricular activities, you may find your resume tossed aside which takes you right out of the running.

 

Many times a client will send me “extra” information to put on their resume. Or, it is already on their existing resume. This “extra” information consists of things like:

 

– Church Involvement

– College Activities / Fraternity/Sorority info

– Sports Teams or Leadership

– Marital Status/# of Children

– Political Affiliations

– Scouts

Now, in certain circumstances you DO want to add college info, i.e. relevant coursework, volunteer activities, intern/externships, etc.  This is good to add if you are fresh out of college and looking for your first “post-college” job. However, when you are in your 40’s, it isn’t necessary to talk about your fraternity. I get this a lot. I know it was a great time for the client and they learned a great deal about life, service to others, and brotherhood. But if you have been in the workforce for 5+ years, you’ve really built up a good amount of experience that will warrant it standing alone on the rez without the aid of your college courses or social clubs. The exception to this rule is, if in this short amount of time after college when you tried your hand at say, sales, but your degree was in finance and now you want a finance job, THEN adding your relevant college courses would work in your favor.

 

In truth, sometimes extracurricular information can work against you. As important as your church or religious affiliation may be to you, it is never a good idea to add it to your resume. Why? Well, many reasons. One is– what if the reader is a different religion… one that doesn’t care for your religion at all (and you know we all have our differences!)? Right there it is a strike against you. Same goes with politics. Not a good idea to say your “volunteer” involvement was to work on so-and-so’s campaign. Now, if you have actually WORKED in a campaign/political environment, of course you would add it. I’ve had many clients who worked in PR or journalism-type fields for certain candidates and it was OK for them, because it was relevant to the PR/journalism job they were trying to land.

 

Obviously here in the States, adding marital status is not a good idea. In fact, people just don’t do it here like they do in some other countries.

 

You may think, “but I’ve heard it is good to add my community involvement, or that I coached soccer”. Really, it’s not relevant to your job search. Yes, you can handle a team of 8-year olds, but does that compare to running the operations of a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility? No.

 

If you are questioning what to add or what not to add, please, ask a certified resume writer. Let us be the ‘reader’ for you. We can help you decide what needs to stay or go. Our goal is that you get put into the “YES” pile, not in the circular file. Just remember that even though it seems important to you, or if it was at the time, if it isn’t going to help you get the job, then leave it off the resume.

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2 Responses to “Keeping it Relevant on your Resume”

  1. […] to “officially” interview a recruiter for a while because of the number of questions I get from my clients about what recruiters look […]

  2. […] thinkers, consistently offering ideas that propel businesses forward—and have crafted résumés to position them as such. Thought leadership isn’t anything new—it’s been around for years […]


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