Hello, fellow corporate friends! Here are some Tuesday Tips that I hope will help you along your career journey. These are three things that I’ve found are best to remove from your resume as they don’t add much value and can create space for the information that truly matters to employers: your hobbies/interests, references, any fluff/filler information. Let’s dive into each of them and why you probably don’t need them.
Your hobbies and interests are personal to you and honestly shouldn’t have weight on whether or not you’re qualified to do a job. Usually, when you’re applying to larger companies, the first person to see your resume is someone in HR or Recruiting, who then passes it along to the hiring manager. Sometimes these recruiters only have a high-level idea of what’s required for the role and could be looking for keywords related to that field. At the end of the day, they don’t really care what your hobbies are outside of work as long as they’re not going to interfere with your work or tarnish their brand in any way. Don’t give anyone a reason to discount you or your abilities simply because they’re biased against knitters or have a grudge against people who enjoy working out. There are other ways to have your resume stand out through experience and skillset to get you to the interview stage. The interview is where you let your personality shine, anyway.
What to do with the space instead: Go back to the positions where you stood out and can clearly communicate your impact to that company or project. Use the extra line or two to explain why what you did in that role was essential to the company, rather than just adding more lists of tasks you performed.
From my experience, it’s implied that references are available upon request, and most companies will simply ask for them when ready. Since this is usually a given, I find that it just takes up space, and you never just want to have items listed on your resume to take up space. We want to be intentional here.
What to do with the space instead: Make sure that you’re listing any certifications you have. In some cases, it’s beneficial to list any courses you took or certifications that are in progress, as it shows that you took the initiative to get to that next level on your own. I would suggest getting to know some people in the industry you’d like to enter and getting their opinion on whether certifications and courses are the best use of this space. If you’re a career changer, for some industries that involve design or writing, this could be a space to list projects in addition to your portfolio or to bring attention to your extraordinary works and differentiate them from your other ones.
Finally, to go back to a point I mentioned in references, your resume should be intentional. Adding things just because you think they sound good could be hit or miss, which isn’t a very good strategy. It’s common to stretch some of your knowledge or experience, though I don’t recommend it, don’t give yourself an entirely different life or skillset that you don’t have. An extension of this is not adding small tasks that you had in a role that will have absolutely nothing to do with the role you’re applying for. If you can’t relate it to the new role in any way, it’s best to leave it out.
Also, if you’ve been out of high school for four or more years, you can drop that. If you have an undergraduate (two- or four-year) or graduate degree, it would be safe to imply that you’ve graduated from high school or earned the equivalent of a high school diploma. At this stage in the game, your high school is not a factor. If you know that your interviewer went to your high school, find a way to bring it up at the interview, save the space on your resume.
What to do with the space instead: It’s okay to let your resume have some extra space. Give your accomplishments some room to breathe, and don’t let the important things get lost in the shuffle because all of your information is figuratively on top of each other.
Print a copy of your resume. Make sure that it looks okay on paper because some people still like to have paper copies. Undoubtedly there will be one interviewer that has a printed copy of your resume while you’re in front of them for an interview. Don’t make it difficult on them or their eyes by having information unevenly spaced out or all over the page, unlined.
Let me know if this helped at all in the comments. What are some of your resume tips?