Nearly everything written about resume design concentrates on what you should put in. But let’s look at what should be left out, or at least minimized.
- Salary history or salary requirements. I’ve never heard one good reason to mention your past, current, or expected salary. If you see a classified ad that says, “Only resumes with salary history will be considered,” don’t believe it. If your resume is strong enough, you’ll be contacted. Once contacted by the company or the recruiter, you should be forthright about your salary and what you’re seeking to make a move.
- References.If you have high-impact or well known professional references, fine. Otherwise, “References: Available Upon Request” will do just fine. Avoid personal references like your neighborhood friend, college chum or parole officer.
- Cover letter and other superfluous materials. Most HR people or hiring managers will not read a cover note. If there’s clearly something that is persuasive and can’t be included in the resume, then a cover note may be called for but most are not necessary. Also avoid sending writing samples, clips and other materials. Bring them to the interview but don’t send them with the resume.
- Personal information.Leave out anything other than the absolute essentials such as, “Married, two children, willing to relocate, excellent health.” By listing your Greenpeace membership, passion for gardening or addiction to golf, you could give the employer a reason to suspect that your outside activities may interfere with your work.
You don’t want someone to form an opinion, beyond your professional expertise, that may give them a reason to reject the resume. Remember, the greater the relevancy between your resume and the needs of the employer, the more seriously your candidacy will be considered. Say what you need to get the job—and nothing more.