Writing about yourself isn’t easy. After more than 15 years weaving in and out of academia, professional writing, and career services, I can tell you that this is almost always true – even for the most seasoned professionals and the most accomplished writers. In fact, I’ve written thousands of resumes, but when I had to put mine together a few weeks ago to bid on a consulting opportunity, I too asked someone else to be an objective third party. One of the biggest benefits of working with a resume writer is having a professional third party to help you analyze your professional accomplishments and determine which are most relevant to your current opportunity or goal. However, there are some elements that it’s almost always better to leave off your resume.
This is one of the major differences between CVs used outside of the United States and US-based resumes. In many countries, including a professional photo on your CV is standard practice. In the United States, however, you should only do this if you are specifically asked or are applying for a position in which your appearance is part of the qualifications – such as a model or an actor. Including a photo on your resume can lead to automatic disqualification in many situations – either because this is company policy or because the company’s applicant tracking system cannot read files with embedded photos.
While more people stay in the workforce longer (or reenter it after retirement), professionals still need to be cautious when disclosing their age. Never list basic statistics about yourself, such as your birthday. (This is another characteristic of international CVs that does not carry over into the US.) Instead, highlight how many years of quality experience you can bring to the table. Additionally, a common misconception is that a resume is a legal document and you must list all positions you’ve ever held. Working with a resume writer can help you identify whether it is more beneficial or detrimental to include older positions that hint at your age.
Special Interests or Activities
About 15 years ago, including a concise list of activities or interests at the bottom of your resume was trendy. According to the advice at the time, this helped candidates stand out and appear more well-rounded. Because employers receive far more resumes per job opening in recent years, it is important to keep the focus on work if you are planning to “cold apply” (or submit your resume online without an internal contact or recruiter endorsement). However, if these interests or activities are relevant or if you are applying through a connection, it could still be a good idea to include them. Of course, LinkedIn profiles now allow far more space for including these details.
Unnecessary or Cliché Skills
It’s perfectly natural to want to showcase all of your skills on your resume. However, some skills have become so common that most employers will just expect you to be able to do them. For example, if you already wrote that you can use Microsoft Office Suite, an employer can safely assume that you can use a computer.
Make every word count on your resume! Your unique combination of skills and abilities perfectly aligns with just the right opportunity for you! Carefully crafting a resume that demonstrates those skills can help you achieve your goals. If you’re not sure whether your resume effectively portrays your unique skillset, book a free call here: http://www.morleycareersolutions.com/contact