June 9, 2006, Newsletter Issue #49: What to Leave Out of Your Résumé

Tip of the Week

As important as knowing what to put in your résumé is knowing what to leave out. Just as you want your writing to be concise, the style and content of your résumé should also follow the classic dictum “less is more.”

• The word “résumé.” Putting this at the top of the page is not only unnecessary, but takes up precious space. The same applies to the line “References available upon request,” which is generally understood.
• References. Don’t add these to the résumé (or cover letter) itself. List them on a separate page and hold on to it until references are requested.
• A photo. Even if you’re drop-dead gorgeous, you want to be hired for your mind, experience, and accomplishments—not your looks.
• Your GPA? At some point, usually five years after your graduation, leave off your college accomplishments and your GPA, even if it was a 4.0. Use your own discretion: a forty-year old would seem foolish noting that he served as president of his social fraternity, but a twenty-one-year-old with limited job experience should include such an accomplishment because it demonstrates leadership skills.
• Salary needs. Avoid including salary needs unless the advertisement you’re responding to specifically asks for them. In that case, include them in the cover letter. Your résumé is never the place to broach the subject of salary.

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