When you start updating your resume, of course you need to compile the new information since your last update. The best way to do this is to keep a running “Accomplishment File” in your Career Documents folder. That way, you will log the achievements as they happen.
Unfortunately, that is where some people stop. They compile, but they don’t prioritize or cull. Since a resume isn’t a legal record of every piece of information about you, you need to decide what to omit. Here’s a list of what to leave out and why.
Photos: US companies are still completely and totally anti-photo because of Equal Opportunity liability concerns. Yes, of course, your photo is on your LinkedIn profile for anyone to see anytime; however, your LinkedIn profile is considered a public document. Your resume is a private document, and companies are bound by certain regulations. If you want to be taken seriously and not irritate the HR Department and a potential boss, omit the photo.
Objective: As my colleague Jack Mulcahy so succinctly borrowed, “Ask not what your company can do for you.” An objective states what you want from an employer. The resume is a statement about what the employer you hope to work for wants from you. Focus on the latter with a headline rather than an objective.
Old information: As I mentioned before, a resume isn’t a legal document required to list every detail of your work history. You’re legally bound to make what you list accurate. What you list is a judgment call based on how well it represents you to your target market. This means your job delivering pizzas after school is unlikely to be relevant if you are now Director of Marketing. Employers are most interested in your most recent and most relevant positions.
Irrelevant information: Even if information is recent, it may not be relevant. If you are targeting a VP of Marketing job, the fact that you make ukuleles on the side doesn’t belong on your resume.
Short-term jobs: With the recent recession and accompanying rise in unemployment, employers are less concerned about a gap on your resume than they used to be, so you don’t need to account for every second of your life. Just the relevant seconds. If you’ve taken a short-term administrative assistant job to pay the bills during your job search, you don’t have to put it on your resume.
References: Your references do not belong on your resume. People good enough to agree to speak glowingly of your work do not need their contact information emblazoned across the sky. Additionally, you don’t need to write “References available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. Employers count on your having references available, and when they’re ready for them, they’ll ask.
If you don’t remember your last resume update, it’s time. If, on the other hand, you’ve been trying to update your resume, and it seems a lot harder than last time, contact me today. We’ll get you over the resume hurdle and on to the finish line.
Image courtesy Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net