Up Close and Too Personal – What to Leave OFF Your Resume

A resume serves as a reflection of who you are:  it contains your education, your illustrious work experience, various ways to contact you…  But then, a resume should never really reflect who you are.  We’re talking about the personal details – the little things that make you the fabulous person you are today, but that should really have no bearing on landing a job.

So whether you’re just starting to apply to jobs for the first time, or are a seasoned job search veteran, here’s a refresher course on things that you should never include on your resume:

Religion

If you’re not applying to a job at a religious institution, keep your views off the page.  It’s irrelevant to the job, and hiring managers are not allowed to take it under consideration anyway, so there’s really no place for it.  If you volunteer at a religious organization and you consider this experience especially relevant to the job you’re applying to, you can mention it briefly.  However, if you must include it, keep the organization anonymous and focus on your role instead.  For example:

Volunteer Instructor – once a week, taught a classroom of thirty children, ages 10-12.

Also, keep in mind that anything you mention in the resume is likely to come up during the interview, so include this information at your own risk.

Politics

Again, if you’re not going into politics, leave it off.  These sorts of matters are controversial in the first place, are irrelevant, and if anything, just take up valuable space.  Like with religion, if you consider your political experience extra valuable and relevant to a particular job – and just can’t bear to take it off the resume – avoid mentioning the organization name, and be prepared to discuss further during an interview.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual preference may be a key component to who you are, but it has nothing to do with how well you can perform on the job.  More than this, even though discrimination in the workplace is illegal, it still exists in some places, so don’t take your chances.

Age

Though you may be the perfect fit for the position, ageism in the workplace certainly exists, and you may be eliminated from the pool prematurely if you are perceived as being too old or too young.  If age is an issue, be cautious with including specific dates on your resume as well (most hiring managers can do the math).  So if your 30-year college reunion is around the corner, you might want to keep that graduation date to yourself and also leave off some of your early, less relevant experience.

Health and Disabilities

The law protects persons with health issues or disabilities, but again, you should leave this information off of your resume.  It’s irrelevant and opportunity for discrimination exists.

Criminal Record

The general rule with a criminal record is to be upfront and honest with a hiring manager, but the resume is not the place for this.  Wait until the interview to bring this up.

While you want to give the hiring manager a good idea of who you are, there’s definitely a point where you can become too personal in what you decide to disclose.  Always aim to flaunt how great you are on your resume – just be a bit discerning while you do it.

 

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Staying Motivated throughout the Job Search

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We all have those days when it’s difficult to stay motivated.  And if you’re looking for a job – a task that can drag on for weeks and weeks with no end in sight – it may become even more difficult to maintain your enthusiasm and stay positive as time goes by.  Obviously, getting discouraged is the last thing anyone wants while trying to get things moving and land the perfect position.  So here are a few tips to help keep you motivated:

Reward Yourself

While the ultimate reward is that great job you’ll eventually snag, it’s important to treat yourself along the way.  There are dozens of ways you can go about this.  Perhaps you reward a great week of job hunting with a Friday night movie or happy hour with friends.  If you need more encouragement along the way, unwinding with a favorite TV show or a bowl of ice cream can help get you through a long day of job applications.  Or maybe you’re the type of person who needs little incentives throughout the day, such as a quick stroll through the park or a flip through your favorite magazine.  It’s imperative to give yourself something to look forward to, if only to clear your head from all of the time and energy you spend looking for a job.  But also try to truly position these indulgences as rewards – things you can enjoy if you reach the goals you have set for yourself.  It’s great to go party with the guys at 5pm, but if you do it every single day regardless of whether or not you have been productive, it is less likely to be a huge motivator.

Find an Accountability Partner

When it comes to getting things done, it can be easy to blow your responsibilities off and procrastinate for a bit, but far more difficult to let someone else down.  So find someone you can trust – a person that you know will hold you to your work – and check in to update them on your progress.  Doing this also keeps things in perspective for you, and it forces you to take a look at your actual progress.  Sometimes it’s helpful to choose an accountability partner who is trying to achieve a goal of their own – a fellow job seeker, perhaps – so that you can build off of each others’ momentum and support each other.

Create a Working Environment Conducive to Your Work Style

Since you’re likely going to be sitting in one place for an extended period of time while you’re looking for a job, try to create a working environment that is conducive to work.  For some people, this means removing all distractions.  For others, it means creating a friendly space full of personal touches.  Some individuals may need to select one space and stick to it, so that they can train their minds to go into “work mode” whenever they enter this space.  Others may need to vary their setting in order to avoid becoming too antsy.  The best, most productive working environment is different for everyone, so figure out your style and play to your strengths.

Staying motivated is difficult – just don’t get disheartened when you’re not feeling completely jazzed about the job search.  It’s perfectly fine – and actually advisable – to take breaks every now and then. And while inspiration itself can be difficult, working on ways to inspire yourself is something that’s much easier to manage!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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Establish Personal Brand for Job Search Success!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Many job seekers attempt to use a functional format to emphasize specific skills or to cover up problems with the resume, such as job gaps, brief employment periods, or multiple jobs in a short time period. Or you may be trying to brand yourself, in modern terms, with the functional approach. Personal branding is a great idea, but be aware, the functional resume is not the way to create your brand.

Even though branding is a popular marketing concept for corporations, the transition to personal branding isn’t always as easy to establish. Brainstorm for a minute. Think of a professional you admire, whether someone in the media or in your own company. Analyze what makes their brand so easily identifiable. Now apply that analysis to your career. How do others consistently describe you? What is your specialty niche?

Identify Basic Skills

Make a list of your unique skills, training, or professional experiences to start. Review your career progression to tease out all the basic skills that align with the types of positions you are seeking. These skills form the foundation of your qualifications for positions and most likely equate with the “responsibilities” section in a job posting. These basic skills may not define your passion or your brand, but are important in helping you qualify for a position.

Categorize Unique Talents and Experiences

Next, match skill sets with your current career goals. Do you want to relocate abroad for your career? Mine your job history for global or international experience. Even if you did not travel, you might still have amassed experience in the international arena. Did you have sales accounts in Mexico or Canada? What about Pacific Rim accounts? Have you assisted in business development on the ground? Did you locate factories or suppliers overseas? These unique experiences can help you formulate your brand.

LinkedIn (Branding Profile)

LinkedIn is a great place to begin establishing your personal brand. The profile has specific sections regarding your education, key experiences, and areas of professional emphasis. Think about how you want to use this professional site. Are you trying to connect with others? Gain referrals? Get a job? The goals you have for the use of this professional networking site will reflect your emerging personal brand.

Join Professional Organizations that Mirror Your Desired Direction

Another important resource for broadcasting your brand is professional organizations. Research those organizations that align with your current career goals. You may need to conduct a broad search, such as “business development professional organization,” to discover new groups. Many professional organizations have useful member sections online to post your career interests or job search goals. These resources are a great way to solidify your personal brand.

Branding Strategies in Your Resume

Finally, consider how you will present your personal brand in a resume. Remember, the functional format may seem like the logical way to present a consistent brand, but most hiring managers prefer a chronological approach. In addition, the functional resume can be confusing to readers as they try to place your accomplishments with different companies or create a time frame of your work experience. The chronological approach provides a history of how your personal brand has become more defined over the last 10 to 15 years. A chronological approach is straightforward and provides a clear sense of what you have been doing professionally, an important component of your brand. You don’t want to raise questions in the mind of the reader about potential employment gaps, which is often the case with a functional format. Your personal brand will be clearly highlighted in a work history that describes your career progression in terms of skills and increasing levels of responsibility.

Establishing a personal brand requires complex planning and a clear direction just like any successful marketing campaign! Identify your strengths and align those with your goals for effective personal branding. Then spread the word and watch the opportunities grow!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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