First relevancy. I can see you're oh, so surprised. So why am I being so repetitive? This can't be enforced enough. If it's not relevant to the job ad, don't include it. They don't want to see it and they're making that very, very clear. They don't want to see irrelevant publications, irrelevant courses, irrelevant jobs. This is why you have a master cv/resume from which you are culling materials for when you submit an application. This is also why you have people with a strong interest in furthering your career--even if they don't understand thing one about your career--proof-reading your resume. Occasionally you might include things that to you are very relevant indeed. But that less-informed proofer is your guard against those items that aren't so clearly relevant. You will be asking them to point those out. And when they do, you'll need to do one of two things: remove the entries or clarify the relevance. Either in the cover letter or in the description of the item within the resume. Personally? I love having somebody who I know doesn't really get what I do as a proofer. Because I know when I've written it well enough for them to understand the connect, I've written it well enough for either a computer program or a person visually skimming my app at high speed to pick up the keywords that will get me through the initial requirements screening and potentially through the ranking screening level too. And then if the readers have a little more time to spend with my stuff, it'll still be easy for them to read. Not such a bad goal.
And on we go to the other things said by our panelists.
Under the heading of TMI: Personal information
- marital status (3 counts)
- age (2 counts)
- children (2 counts)
- ages of children
- hobbies (9 counts)
- religious affiliation
- community affiliations (2 counts)
- sexual orientation
- life goals
- family information
Oh, and by the way you know that isn't me classifying knitting as a stupid hobby because I have a lot of friends and family who knit and as such I know better than to publicly insult individuals who have with them long sturdy skinny pointed objects that could be wielded in an offensive manner against my person. Plus they also make me things like shawls and I'm not about to cut off that pipeline.
And since I'm not in a classifying frame of mind today, let me just share some of the other things they said not to do. In order of appearance.
- lengthy lists of publications and classes--can make it seem as if your interests are in yourself or in teaching, not in us or our job
- lengthy descriptions of professional society involvement--can make it appear that you're too outward focused
- institutional training done for compliance (sexual harassment, diversity) though these can be included if related to the job (i.e. HIPAA training if applying for a position with medical collections)
- any mention of a religious affiliation unless volunteer experience that directly relates to the position
- graduation dates
- every single job (I'll get back to this one in a moment)
- any reference to non-professional interests
- listings of undergraduate activities
- too much experience in things other than what the job requires
- listings of basic computer programs and software with which you are familiar (again, unless it's been stated in the requirements)
- huge blocks of text
There's also a part 2 to that and that's how to deal with gaps in your resume. Sometimes those non-relevant jobs are the missing pieces. So where's the balance? Not sure I've got the answer, but hopefully our respondents can make some suggestions in comments. You could consider summing up the gaps in the experiential listings with a statement in the cover letter.
A few more things. Please don't get creative in naming the sections of your resume for which we have some expectations. Calling the experience section of your resume Experience, or Related Experience, or Professional Experience, or similar is okay. Calling it "Challenges" is not. If I saw that as a section title? Even if I was willing to accept that these were jobs you'd held, I'd be hypothesizing about your success in those positions, and that hypothesis would be that you hadn't met the challenge, or hadn't met it well. Again, you don't want my brain to go there because sometimes it doesn't come back.
And last but not least, a couple of respondents pointed this out and I not only agree, but I've heard it verbally from a lot of other people. Don't put in an objectives statement. As one respondent pointed out, these are either silly or obvious. If you have to submit a cover letter? That's effectively your objectives statement and it gives you the opportunity to say it well. Whether or not you've submitted a cover letter, the fact that you're applying for a specific job (and presumably somewhere on some piece of paper or online form the connect will be made), that fact tells us you're applying for the job. Don't repeat it in the resume. Honestly, if I can't tell from the contents of your resume that your objective is the job I've got on offer, you've got vast problems far beyond anything that can be cured by an objectives statement.
Next posting is the broader look--with a few specifics tossed in--at what our respondents think makes a resume good or bad.