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.

 

Doostang Success — It Took Seconds to Get My Foot in the Door

Chris

Florida State University, 2011
Research Analyst – AEW Capital Management

“I recently graduated from Florida State University’s Master of Science in Finance program. I was looking for a career in which I would play a vital role in research and investment strategies with a large company with international exposure. A friend of mine had referred me to Doostang, and I could not be happier for the advice.

While the job market is still tight, Doostang did a great job of consolidating the job opportunities into an easy application process, where I knew my resume and cover letter were being viewed.

We all know how cut-throat the internet job search can be, but Doostang took out a lot of the heavy lifting in the job search process by allowing me to filter my searches toward the career ventures I deemed relevant, but also ones that I had a decent shot at, being an entry level candidate from a non-target school.

I received three calls back about openings before I found my dream job. I interviewed at all three, and received an offer from a PE firm.

The opportunity wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I continued sending out my cover letter and resume until I got an email from my current employer. After two phone screens, I was flown up to Boston, where I interviewed and got the job.

The firm manages over $47 billion of assets and securities, and was just the international exposure I was looking for! This opportunity has put me in a position to get experience at a high quality investment management firm, and sets me up perfectly to continue my own personal education by offering to pay for the CFA.

I have spent years cold calling and networking, trying to get an opportunity that just took me seconds to get my foot in the door for via Doostang.

You can’t put a price on a website that is so filter-friendly, and ensures you with alert features that your resume is being viewed by potential employers. This website was great to help me narrow down the job function and industry that fit my personality and career aspirations. I will continue to, and have been referring Doostang to friends and family. Thanks Doostang!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Junior Trader – Registered Financial Trading Firm, Greenwich, CT

Consultant/Manager – Top Tier Global Management Consulting Firm, Boston, MA

Associate – Cutting Edge Private Equity Investment & Advisory Group, SF Bay Area, CA

Strategy & Analysis Manager – Leading Digital Marketing & Media Company, Chicago, IL

Analyst – Growing Corporate Finance Advisory Firm, Stamford, CT

Search jobs on Doostang

The Importance of Your Alumni Network in Your Job Search

Summer Associate, New York, NY
Trading Systems Analyst, Boston, MA
Investment Analyst, Stamford, CT
General Manager, Seattle, WA
Associate – Oil & Gas, New York, NY

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You’ve probably heard that your alumni network is an invaluable resource for finding a great job or getting your foot in the door at a great company, but has that really sunken in?  Many people turn to a plethora of other resources before they consider hitting up their alumni networks, when this may be the first place they should start looking.

An alumni network is an ideal source to start your search because this is where you have access to the individuals who came before you, and who had an experience as close to yours as you can probably get.  They lived in the same dorms, were a part of the same organizations, took classes from the same professors – in short, they were in your shoes before you were.  Because of this, even if they can’t get you a job, they can give you very valuable advice on where to start looking, or introduce you to the people that can do more for you.  They can also warn you against making some of the same mistakes that they did.

Don’t feel awkward about reaching out – given your similar background, alums will likely feel a strong personal connection toward you, and most will love an opportunity to give back to their school.  The bottom line is, alums from your school will probably be eager to help you, and you should take advantage of this opportunity.

To track down the appropriate person to speak to, start with your college career center.  They will likely have a directory of individuals who are ready to help out.  Bear in mind, too, that any person you find in a directory is someone who has probably given permission for students to contact them, and so they won’t be surprised when they receive your call or email.

Another strategy is to look online or turn to alumni chapters in your city if you are already out of college.  Again, it’s reasonable to assume that if someone’s contact information is in a directory, then they are fine with you getting in touch with them.

When you finally establish contact with an alum, it’s important to treat them with the respect that anyone else deserves.  Remember to be gracious, send thank you notes, and drop them an occasional line to let them know how you are doing and what progress you have made – alums get excited about helping out because they are interested in hearing about the cool things future classes do with their lives!

So go out there and start networking!

The Doostang Team

How to Handle Resume Gaps


Trading Assistant, New York, NY
Manager, Boulder, CO
Credit/Risk Analyst, Broomfield, CO
Strategy & Operations Extern, Chicago, IL
Analyst, New York, NY

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Job seekers often assume that in order to score the perfect job, one has to be the perfect candidate.  That the right mix of education, titles, and skills is needed in order to land the career of their dreams.  So when faced with resume gaps, an individual may rightly feel disheartened.  But continuous employment is not the be-all, end-all to nabbing a great job, especially in these times.  It is important, however, to know how to treat employment gaps on your resume, in your cover letter, and in your interview.

The Functional Format

One way to gloss over gaps on your CV is to create a functional resume.  This focuses on your skills and achievements, rather than on specific dates.  There are certainly other advantages to formatting your resume this way as well, as it allows you to pinpoint exactly what it is that you bring to the table.  The trick here is to tailor it to the specific job that you are applying for.

List Your Achievements

Another way to downplay a gap in employment is to highlight your accomplishments on your resume.  While you may not have continuous experience, various honors will convey that you have quality experience, and that you have been recognized as having done an outstanding job.

Include Extracurricular Experience

Hiring mangers understand that qualified candidates may have gaps in employment.  What they want to avoid, however, is a candidate who is qualified but who lacks work ethic.  What did you do while you were out of a job?  Did you volunteer or become an active member of an organization?  Even though you weren’t necessarily paid for your extracurricular activities, it’s perfectly okay to list them.  Highlight your transferable skills here, and focus on how you can apply them to the position you are currently seeking.

Explain Your Reasons

It also works well to just come out and explain why you have a resume gap and what you did to fill your time.  Don’t be afraid to address the matter in a cover letter or an interview.  Hiring managers will respect your willingness to be forthright about periods of unemployment, and will be interested to learn about the creative, productive ways in which you were able to spend your time instead.

In a time where everyone’s looking for an edge, an employment  gap can seem like a major setback.  But if you know how to strategically position yourself and your experience, a hiring manager will be much more interested in what you have done, rather than what you haven’t.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Outrageous Interview Questions

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Analyst, New York, NY
Real Estate Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Client Associate, Stamford, CT
Paid Search Specialist, SF Bay Area, CA
Vice President, Denver, CO

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Once you land a job interview, you may feel the hard work is done. You might even allow your enthusiasm to melt your inhibitions during the meeting. Don’t let your excitement rob you of a chance for the job you’ve been waiting for. Arm yourself with these key interview strategies that include practicing restraint as well as excellent preparation.

Outrageous

Don’t ask about salary.

  • This question shifts the focus to what you want for yourself as opposed to the value you will provide to the company.

Don’t ask about the timeframe for hiring decisions.

  • Every candidate wants to know the answer to this question but asking it can make you seem desperate or anxious for results. Most companies look for candidates able to separate personal from professional demands.

Don’t ask what the company does.

  • Conducting research on corporate initiatives is easily accomplished online. Do your homework to impress hiring managers.

Don’t ask about typical promotion policies.

  • Rushing ahead to promotions may make the interviewer question your judgment and understanding of appropriate business interactions.

Don’t ask about on-the-job training for basic skills.

  • Emphasize the skills you bring, not the deficits about which you are concerned.

Don’t speak ill of former employers.

  • Talking about how much you hated your former workplace or employer is a top interview “don’t!”

Don’t forget basic manners.

  • Offer a handshake to “seal the deal” when you leave. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your pleasure in meeting him or her.

Acceptable

Do debrief after the interview.

  • Take a few minutes to review on your own what went well and what could be improved. If appropriate, include additional clarification about your skills in a follow-up thank-you note.

Do express interest in the company’s initiatives.

  • Show off what you’ve researched about this company prior to the interview by linking your skills and work history to corporate projects.

Do speak positively about prior workplaces.

  • It can be tempting to bring up negative attributes about employers or co-workers, but this is not the time to identify that as your reason for leaving. Focus on more positive reasons for leaving, which might include a need to reach your full potential or to seek out new opportunities for growth.

Do use every phone or email contact as if it were part of the interview.

  • Essentially every contact is part of the screening process. Practice what you want to say so you are prepared for the unexpected call. For some people, it helps to stand while talking to convey a greater presence or sense of personal power.

Do prepare for the interview.

  • Compile a number of job history anecdotes that exemplify your strengths and help you respond readily to interview questions.

Do end the interview on a positive note.

  • Say something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. My talents and experience represent an asset to your organization and I would be a committed member of your team.”

Solid preparation for the interview will help you avoid asking ridiculous questions. Feeling too comfortable in an interview almost never produces good results. Practice how you want to perform in the job interview just as you would for an important sports event and you will find yourself in the winner’s circle!

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!

Doostang Success — Choosing from Several Job Offers

Linlin

Columbia University, 2010
Market Research Analyst – Enova Financial

Doostang is a great website for people looking for jobs in Finance, Consulting and Marketing.

First, it is very well organized by different categories. You can filter out the type of jobs you want and be very specific about companies and job functions.

Second, it saves you a lot of time to not have to fill out different forms. You can tailor your resume to different positions and upload the different versions to the website.

Third, it provides very updated, high quality job opportunities.

I first used Doostang when I was in school looking for an internship, and I found it very useful.  I recommended it to some of my friends, and they all had great experiences with the site.  Then, after graduation, I signed up for a 3-month membership and kept applying.

I received a lot of phone calls, and finally I chose one job in marketing out of several job offers.

In this tough job market, Doostang is so helpful for recent graduates.  Also I was an international student who needed Visa sponsorship, so I really appreciate all the help!”



Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Investment Banker Analyst – Prominent Emerging Markets Investment Bank, New York, NY

Associate Legal Counsel – One of the Largest Securities Lending Agents, Boston, MA

Research Junior Analyst – Leading Hedge Fund of Funds Manager, Stamford, CT

Jr. Consultant – Top-Level Market Research Firm, Chicago, IL

Fund of Funds Analyst – Premier Global Asset Management Company, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang