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TMI: How Much Is Too Much For My Resume?

Do you share too much information on your resume? This is one of the most common mistakes made by job seekers. In fact, 28 percent of executives say the resume is where most candidates make mistakes in the application process. We’ve also done some of our own research on what makes a great resume (hint: size matters).

Hiring managers have to wade through a stack of resumes just to fill one position. Their primary focus is to whittle that stack down to four or five potential candidates for the interview phase. Because of this, they are aggressive in looking for reasons to toss a resume: poor spelling and grammar, excess information, etc. After the initial purging, they are looking for evidence that the candidate has experience and skills that will actually benefit the company.

How can you ensure that your resume provides depth, but is still concise enough to impress a potential employer?

Be careful of sharing unnecessary details about your life. Personal details like your name and contact information is recommended, and often required, but beyond that, personal details should be kept to a minimum. For example, race, age, and political affiliation should be left out of a resume. An exception to this rule is if you are seeking work at an organization strongly tied to a cause, or if you’re in an field where these details are necessary for the hiring process. However, these details can be shared in a cover letter and not on the resume itself.

Extraneous information such as hobbies and irrelevant jobs from years ago should be left off your resume. Don’t include work information that will not contribute to your work goals. Unless you’re an undergraduate student or first-year professional, limit your work history to professional experience in the past 10 years.

Do not volunteer information that was not asked for. Sharing confidential information will raise a red flag with a potential employer. It demonstrates poor judgment, so stick to sharing information that is already public, specifically measurable data such as the number of users, revenue, etc. Another example of this is if you were fired. If you are asked about why you left a job, be straightforward about it, but it is not necessary to include that information on your resume.

Sell yourself, but be careful not to oversell.
There is a fine line between embellishment and fabrication. Be honest about your job responsibilities and accomplishments. Showcase your strengths and demonstrate why you would be an asset to company XYZ. Do not provide false information as an employer will check up on it and it could result in you losing an opportunity.

Don’t include a picture or headshot. While commonplace in some industries, unless you are a model or an actor, photos should not be included on your resume. Not only can it give employers the wrong impression, but it can also put them in an awkward position as it is illegal for employers to discriminate against job candidates based on appearance.

Do not disclose salary expectations on your resume. Unless you have been asked, in which case it is appropriate to provide an expected range (however, this typically goes in your cover letter), all mentions of salary should be saved for an in-person discussion.

Too much detail can be damaging to a job seeker. If your resume is too long, it probably won’t get read. If you share irrelevant information or too many personal details, it can make you look unprofessional. Simplify the process for both yourself and the employer. Let your personality show in your cover letter, but focus your resume on relevant accomplishments specific to the job description.

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