more things that don’t belong on your resume

More things that don’t belong on your resume:

* the name of your junior high school

* the names of your children and their years of birth

* an objective like this: “to obtain a position where I can leverage my skills, knowledge and experience to use proven methodologies for the successful implementation of project goals and corporate vision”

* jargon of any sort (see above)

* for that matter, an objective of any sort

{ 72 comments… read them below }

        1. Josh S*

          Oh, I’ve instructed two of my references to talk about that. They only deserve to know the true skills once you’re far enough into the process.

      1. Julie*

        I’ve got martial arts experience on my CV, under volunteer work, because I was an instructor at my dojo. Makes interesting conversation sometimes when the interviewer also does martial arts.

        1. Anonymous*

          I’ve been wondering about adding a volunteer section on my resume. I also did martial arts instruction at a dojo, as well as volunteered for a local bicyclers group, a local heritage club, will possibly be volunteering at the library soon and I’ll be starting a temporary volunteer position at a local cat shelter this weekend.

          If I add a volunteer section, it will make my resume two pages, which I know isn’t a no-no anymore, but I don’t want to seem like I’m padding my resume for no reason…

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I like to see volunteer work. Just make sure that it doesn’t add, like, 2 lines to the second page. You want the pages a bit more balanced than that (which might mean reformatting).

          2. Anonymous*

            I have volunteer work on my resume for two reasons: 1) It’s actually relevant to what I do as a career (I volunteer as a photographer and writer for a local organization), and 2) Volunteering is something most hiring managers like to see. It shows you care about the world outside of your own little bubble. And it shows some level of initiative, especially if you balance it with other thing, like say, a full-time career and full-time grad school.

  1. KB*

    The objective can be useful, especially when you’re at a campus recruiting fair and you’re handing resumes out to huge companies.

    For example, an aerospace engineer interested in working at Boeing could be interested in any variety of things, from working on aerodynamics to structural dynamics to designing autopilots, even out to becoming a test flight engineer or working with airlines to define their requirements for aircraft. An objective along the lines of “to gain a job in flight dynamics, stability, guidance, control, and related areas” goes a long way to making sure that the resume goes to the right people. It also makes sure that you *don’t* get calls from departments you have no interest in — so you don’t waste their time or yours.

  2. Kat*

    How about certain hobbies? I’m not a fan of hobbies on any resume, but we once had a co-worker who put her resume on our computer system which was available to everyone. She listed her some of hobbies on her resume as knitting, spending time with her children, her religious interests, and the fact that she “was once fluent in Arabic, and intends to learn the language again.”

    0_O Her hobby section was longer than her actual resume and nothing — at all — in her hobbies related to the jobs she applied for. I have no idea how she actually got her job at our company (which lasted 4 months).

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think a few hobbies can be good to include if they’re interesting and appropriate (but certainly it’s not essential to include them). But only a few — not a long list. And religious stuff is risky. And spending time with your kids isn’t a hobby.

    2. Julie*

      I don’t have a “hobbies” section per se, but I do have a “volunteer and extracurricular experience” section, through which you can deduce that my hobbies are medieval reenactment and karate (among a few others). Though I try in that section to mostly include stuff I can use as equivalent to work experience: chairing committees, acting as a minute-taker, volunteer instructor, etc.

    3. Andy Lester*

      If your hobby isn’t going to help encourage the reader to call you in for an interview, then leave it off.

      Everything on your resume needs to pass that test.

  3. Anonymous*

    I reviewed a resume today that listed a “hobbies” section with two hobbies listed – spending time with my kids, and watching tv. I don’t know about you, but I don’t call those things hobbies, I call them “Tuesday.”
    Unless the hobby implies a remarkable skill, relevant talent or experience, it looks unprofessional to me.

    1. Jamie*

      “but I don’t call those things hobbies, I call them “Tuesday.””

      That line was awesome.

      I don’t want to see hobbies (again, unless relevant) but maybe a list of favorite TV shows would be helpful so I could hire people who would be able to discuss the plot lines of Hot in Cleveland or Parks and Rec with me…or maybe battle me in Brady trivia.

      J/k – I don’t want to judge your love of retro 70’s sitcoms on the resume – that’s what interviews are for.

  4. mouse*

    “Methodologies”? Seriously? The word is methods. God I hate corporate double speak. To be fair to the bad resume writers, 90% of the job ads I see are written in this kind of gobbledegook.

    1. Jamie*

      Actually – “methods” tends to refer to a procedure or way of doing something and “methodology” is more specific and speaks to rules and postulates – industry standard policies, if you will.

      I’m not saying that people don’t use the latter when they mean methods – but there is a distinction in the vernacular in technical/science fields.

  5. Cube Ninja*

    I’ve seen an objective like that exactly once. I laughed the resume all the way into my circular file. The rest of it wasn’t much better. :)

  6. Z*

    The one with kids’ names and ages could have come from someone from Europe. In Europe, it’s standard to include the number and ages of your kids. (I’m not sure about names.) Of course, Europeans also put their ages on CVs, and include a photo…It’s just a different world.

    1. Stacy*

      When I was living/working in New Zealand I saw all sorts of things on CVs and people totally wanted to justify everything they put on them. As an American, I love the (usually shorter) resume and was more than happy to go back to it when I returned to the U.S. I had a German friend who showed me her CV that she was using in NZ which included her photo. I told her that wasn’t necessary in NZ and she got super-defensive, because as she put it, “What if they are hiring you for a position that works with the public?! They need to know what you look like.” As an American, I was like, “Umm, no.” But it was from then on that I started to see how cultural/country-of-orign really affects how CVs/resumes are written.

        1. Anonymous*

          I also have to say me too! I’m also British, and like to see CVs that are 2 pages max – not interested in kids, whether their names, ages or any related info. Not interested in your age, your marital status (yes, I’ve had one that had that as a category – luckily, it was ‘very happily’). And no photos – I’m not hiring models or actors (actually, I occasionally hire actors, and don’t need photos then either).

          I have seen CVs that had loads of extraneous (to me) information when I worked for an agency that recruited a lot of Australian / NZ teachers, we used to get very long CVs from them, up to ten pages. They started off with details like NI numbers, included primary schools, and tended to leave a lot of clear space on each page. And that was in the days of faxes, not emails, so you can imagine the fun it was receiving or sending those.

          1. Z*

            My apologies. I was totally generalizing from my experiences in Germany, and you guys are absolutely right to say that that’s not appropriate.

      1. Joanna Reichert*

        I know it is extremely common in Italy, for instance. I’ve traveled throughout Europe and seriously have considered moving to Italy, and the practice of including a snapshot and ‘excessive’ personal info is alive and well there. I’ve heard the same of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

    2. Jamie*

      My kids are super cute – the next time I’m looking for a job I’ll make sure to include their pictures…maybe I can get them in coordinated outfits to do a song and dance number – like the Brady kids, and include a video. That could make my resume stand out!

    3. Anonymous*

      I thought this was discussed once as being not entirely right. And you have two people – one from Denmark, another Britain – who are saying otherwise as well!

  7. David O*

    Seriously, you should consider a separate section of AAM for the most ridiculous resumes and cover letters that come your way.

  8. Anonymous*

    Ok so now I’m pancking because I just redid my resume and I have a summary (NOT OBJECTIVE) that sounds a little similar to one of the badies on the list.

    To paraphrase… SUMMARY: Enthusiastic finance professional poised to leverage ten plus years of experience… to continue on career path in finance or accounting. Adept at utilizing blah blah blah skills partnered with excellent blah blah blah knowledge.

    Should I take it out?

    1. Julie*

      I’d say yes. It sounds like all you’re saying here is “I want to continue to do more of what I’ve been doing,” which should be pretty apparent from the rest of your resume and your cover letter.

      If you want to highlight the stuff in the “blah blah blahs,” I’d put in a section called “skills and knowledges” or something, and list the ones you think are important.

      1. BC*

        Agree with Julie. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever met an “enthusiastic” financial professional. Not that you aren’t one….I just don’t usually see “enthusiasm” and “finance” together too often.

        An enthusiastic zoo keeper………perhaps.

        1. Anonymous*

          Now this might be a UK cultural thing, but can I put an additional plea here about ‘passion’? There is a time and a place for passion, but it’s rarely (ever?) in the workplace. And really, if you are passionate about finance / dentistry / tree surgery – referencing above, can I suggest hobbies?
          Personally, I blame reality TV for it – and for the ‘ I always give 110%’ fibbers.
          Generally, your employer expects commitment, honesty, meeting targets / objectives – and hyberbole doesn’t get the job done. I’ll stop now before this becomes a rant!

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I like passion, but it’s not going to get you the job. Particularly in nonprofits, you see a lot of candidates who think that passion alone qualifies them, and it doesn’t. I would like to drill that into nonprofity types’ minds.

            That said, if I’m choosing between two totally equal candidates and one has passion for the job and the other doesn’t, I’ll take the passionate one.

            1. Anonymous*

              I (anon above) am in a non-profit. That might be why this irritates me so much. I see so many applications with “I’m passionate about…” “I really believe in….” – but without the skills. Often without the capacity to spell passionate /believe (and no, it’s not handwritten!).

          2. Anonymous*

            There are 2 main reasons why I used the word “enthusiastic”.

            For one, I AM really enthusiastic. I like my job and I love the company I work for. I’m so excited and grateful to be here. I’d like to try to make a lateral move because I feel like I’m ready to learn something new but there is nothing wrong with my current job. I don’t think it should matter if it is finance or zoo keeping, enthusiasm is enthusiasm. My manager actually had to say something in my revew about my extreme enthusiasm. Mainly that not everyone has the same level as enthusiasm as me and I should be respectful of that.

            The second reason that I included it on my resume is because I have a co-worker who was turned down for an internal job where we work and one of the reasons they gave him was his seemingly lack of enthusiasm.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Two thoughts on that:

              1. Be cautious of hearing one story and drawing a broad lesson from it for other situations. I mean, you can always find someone who was turned down for one crazy thing or another; doesn’t mean you should redo your resume based on it. Also, your coworker might indeed have an enthusiasm problem, but that’s going to be something that will come out at an interview, not on a resume.

              2. Enthusiasm is a subjective word, and subjective self-assessments don’t belong on resumes, because hiring managers are skeptical of them. We’ve seen too many people claim to be self-starters/great leaders/whatever to believe it anymore — so subjective assessments on resumes are basically ignored.

              1. Andy Lester*

                Anything where you assess yourself should be left out, because anyone can say it. Literally anyone can say he’s enthusiastic, or a hard worker, or a quick learner, or that you work well with others.

                Give just the facts on your resume, which will be evidence to support your self-assessment. Instead of telling the reader you are enthusiastic, give an example of your actions that show you are enthusiastic. Show, don’t tell.

            2. Andy Lester*

              For one, I AM really enthusiastic.

              By whose standards?

              The example I like to use is “hard worker.” Maybe you’re a “hard worker” because you put in 42 hours a week, and there was that time you worked all through a Saturday to finish a project. But to a Silicon Valley startup, that’s being a slacker, and you’d be laughed at when you give that as evidence of being a “hard worker.”

              Give facts, but let the reader draw the conclusions.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Anonymous, I’d say rewrite it to make it less generic. Think about how you’d sum up what makes you a great candidate if you were talking to a friend — that’s what you want in your summary. It should be about what really makes you someone they should hire in a sea of candidates with similar backgrounds. Right now it sounds like it’s not really adding anything to your resume — but it could with a rewrite.

    3. Malissa*

      Enthusiastic is not something I would look for in a finance professional. Smart, nit picky and able to communicate with the masses is is what I would want in a finance professional.
      I’d just kill the objective statement.

  9. Alex*

    Interesting. I work as a recruiter in Japan. From hobbies to qualifications (often times things like a scuba certification or drivers license for some totally unrelated position) to number of children and ages, name of spouse, birthday and age, picture… These are all absolutely necessary on a resume here.

    I still find the random qualifications and hobbies a bit strange, but if a resume doesn’t have it it makes me wonder about a candidate now.

      1. Joey*

        Yeah why? I just can’t comprehend why they’d be “absolutely necessary”? Especially the spouses name. The others I’m assuming you draw stereotypical conclusions?

        1. Alex*

          Various reasons. For one, in Japan everyone has at least two “resumes.” One is called a shokumusho (basically a resume, it talks about your positions, duties, etc.) The other is a keirekisho. That is a very brief resume that details your education (sometimes from elementary school on if you have attended famous schools!), including when you entered/graduated. It also includes when you entered/left companies. Then people have an English resume that usually includes both. Anyway, for the shokumusho and rirekisho, there is a standard format that EVERYONE uses. For these “templates” there is a section for hobbies, jiko PR (basically a few paragraphs talking about your personality) as well as a place for you to list the names/ages of your relatives. I have a friend who is mid-20s and does odd jobs. Her family is very ashamed of her because they have to write this down on their resumes.

          Anyway, one reason hobbies are important is because Japan is what is called a “group” society. That is to say that individuality is generally not considered important. Companies want to hire people that fit in with their company “group.” So knowing about that person’s hobbies seems to help them do that.

          As for other reasons, age discrimination and gender discrimination here are a huge problem. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve disqualified from positions simply because they are above the prescribed desired age range- and companies won’t look at them. As for women, having them write down things about their family- in particular whether or not they have a family yet- helps companies determine whether they want to hire someone who might have kids soon.

          It was shocking when I first came here. Now I’m used to it. I don’t agree with it though.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            That is fascinating! Especially the part about having to indicate your relatives’ jobs. Wow. Any further details you want to share are welcome … I’m totally intrigued.

          2. Joey*

            Ah, so it’s a class thing. Weird that discrimination is accepted and so in your face. Sure makes you think you could corner the market on female and older talent.

  10. Dawn*

    I’ve got to ask: what the heck is a “CV?” I’ve seen it here before when referring to a resume in another country, but what does it stand for? Thanks!

      1. Liz in a Library*

        They are also very common in academia, more so than just a resume. In that field, they tend to put more focus on things like publications than would a traditional resume.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      CVs are also longer and more detailed than resumes. Some people use the terms interchangeably, but they are technically not the same thing (although used for the same purpose).

      1. Kat*

        I find them used a lot by consultants/experts. In law firms when we are seeking an expert to review and report on a specific portion of a case, we ask for their CV which, yes, is more detailed than just a regular resume.

        1. Anonymous*

          CV is the common usage in England, rather than being an different document to a resume. We don’t really use resume here. And hopefully, as a recruiter, they will not be too long and detailed – 2 pages is standard (3 if you are super-experienced).

  11. Riki*

    I have one. When handing in a hard copy of a resume, make sure it doesn’t look like you used it as a place mat. An applicant once sent a resume to my boss via post and it was covered in grease stains. We didn’t want to touch it, much less read it.

    1. Julie*

      Is it possible that the great stains got there during transit? Was the envelope also grease-stained, or just the resume? I’d hate to think that a candidate was discounted because of problems at the post office.

      (That said, if it really was the candidate who sent in a grease-stained resume, they deserve what they got.)

  12. Anonymous*

    Some jargon is essential while posting your resume online. Otherwise, search bots won’t find it.
    Can you explain the difference between relevant keywords and pointless jargon?

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  14. LUIS*

    Here in Holland when it comes to CV’s, they have a section for personal information where they mention even the name of their kids, (in some cases). They add their hobbies and their CV can be up to 6 pages for someone with a 1 to 2 years experience.
    Fortunately that’s starting to change, to one or two pages max.

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