Many job seekers write their resumes under the belief that they have to “come clean” on everything regarding their careers, from what they have achieved, to the reasons they left previous jobs, to what they want to do well into the future.
But a resume is not a tell-all autobiography of your career triumphs, tragedies, and non-essential trivia. It’s a marketing document that tries to position you as a prime candidate for whatever job you’re applying for. While your long-term goal is to get the job, the resume’s chief goal is short term: Showcase the stuff the employer needs to convince them to call you for an interview.
That’s why you should never include these three things on your resume:
Why you left a job. This doesn’t help when you’re trying to market yourself effectively. The objective of any marketing project is to convince someone to buy a product or service. Rather than saying something like “Position was one of 10 eliminated as part of company-wide cost-cutting measures,” focus only on what the employer is looking for: your skills and experience, and how they can benefit a new employer. You can explain the rest at your interview–if they even ask.
What’s in it for you…rather than what’s in it for the employer. If you open your resume with a statement that says something like “Seeking a position that can utilize my skills in accounting and help position me for an executive-level job in finance,” you’ve stated a clear career objective. There’s just one problem with that: Your next employer doesn’t really care about your aspirations or what you want to be doing in five years. They want someone who can do the job they have open today, and do it effectively. Start your resume instead with a summary of the qualifications that are most likely to grab their attention.
Your college GPA…if it’s been more than three years since you graduated. You may have heard the expression “experience is your best teacher.” Hiring managers want to see what you’ve done in the workplace, and that also goes for new college graduates. Even 10 years after you received your bachelor’s degree, you may still be proud of that 3.7 grade-point average. But that was a decade ago. What have you done since? If you’re a recent college graduate and your GPA was at least a 3.5, go ahead and include it. If it was less than 3.5 but the GPA in courses related to your major was at or above that mark, include it.
Before you send your resume, ask yourself these two questions: (1) Does this resume effectively communicate my skills and experience and how they match the job description? And (2) Does it effectively tell the employer the benefits they would get by hiring me? If you can truthfully answer “yes” to both questions, you’ve given yourself a strong chance at landing an interview.
Rick Saia is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Content Writer for Pongo Resume, a premier, full-service online resource for job seekers. Pongo provides all the resume templates, tools, and support needed to write professional resumes and cover letters, ace tough interviews, and secure a great job. For more information, visit http://www.pongoresume.com or call 866-486-4660.