Your resume is not your Facebook page. You should not be telling a prospective employer all about your hobbies, friends, and life story. Conversely, your resume should not be a dry recitation of where you have worked and attended school.
The following is meant to help you understand how to make your resume stand out without oversharing.
1. Hobbies and Interests
Let us start with one of the more commonly asked questions. Should you include hobbies and interests on your resume?
The short answer is likely yes.
Including hobbies and interests on your resume accomplishes several things. First and foremost, it quickly sets you apart from other potential candidates. Normally a recruiter cannot test your personality until the interview process begins. But you can give the recruiter a glimpse into who you are as a person by sharing interests and hobbies on your resume. Second, your hobbies and interests can serve as additional qualifications. For example, if you play sports and you are applying for an athletic company – put that in. Conversely, if you are applying to an accounting firm, your athletic endeavors may not carry as much weight.
Finally, there is a right and wrong way to go about this. Be mindful of your audience. Some employers are more traditional (think big law firms or accounting firms) and may be less interested in your hobbies. Also, make sure any hobbies or interests you include are not super controversial.
2. Awards and Achievements
Your parents are very proud that you were class president. And maybe you were voted most likely to succeed in college. But generally, you should shy away from including too many awards and achievements on your resume.
Why you might ask? It can be difficult to straddle the line between cocky and confident. The more of these awards and achievements you add, the more you tilt towards the cocky side of the spectrum. Further, while some awards are earned through merit, there are plenty of other awards that are bought and may be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.
It is also important to point out that there are some awards and achievements that are definitely worth sharing in your resume. If you graduated with honors or obtained an industry award directly related to the position you are now applying for, you certainly want to mention that. But all your achievements otherwise unrelated to the position you can save for a shadow box at home.
3. Timeline and History
Another question people often pose is how far back should my work history go? It seems obvious that you should talk about your most recent employment and avoid including the lemonade stand you started as a kid. But where is the line in between?
You are likely starting to notice a trend, but it really does come down to relevancy. The general rule is to list all meaningful employment you have had that shows you are qualified for the job. At times, that may mean including a position you held a while back that is directly relevant and omitting a more recent, less relevant position.
Always remember that your resume should tell a story. Anything that does not fit that narrative is likely oversharing, and whatever improves and supports your story should be included.
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