What You Should (and Shouldn't) Include in Your Resume

What You Should (and Shouldn't) Include in Your Resume

by Natalie Kobica

Your resume is an advertisement about the most important item that you will ever sell - YOU. Its purpose is to provide the reader - either an employer or recruitment consultant - with so much interesting and positive information about your skills and abilities that they feel they just have to meet you to find out more.

That means your resume should only contain information that will secure you an interview. Any other details are not only irrelevant but also risky - risky because such details take up valuable space and divert attention from what is important.

So what information should you and shouldn’t you include?

There are basically four sections every resume must have - name and contact details (personal details), education, work history, and details regarding any additional skills or experience, training undertaken, computer skills, foreign languages spoken and professional associations you belong to. If you have been out of work recently, any voluntary work done during this time is also a good selling point.

Your resume should contain factual information on the details above. It should not contain your opinion on what you think you are good at. Whoever is reading your resume wants to see proof of these skills. So describe your skills by detailing your qualifications, responsibilities, and achievements - that is what you have actually done and when you did it. You will be asked what you think your strengths are at the interview stage.

Personal interests need not be included as these are mostly irrelevant to your tasks within the job and can also create an inaccurate impression of you.

The only exception would be if your personal interests suit the role that you are applying for. For example if you were applying for a position as a sales assistant in a sports store, your interest or involvement in playing or watching sport is a fact the reader would be interested to see.

In summary, stick to facts (not opinions) and think about what’s relevant and what isn’t for the job you’re seeking.