Your resume is always going to need to have some personal information. Too much and it could leave a bad impression, but just enough and you’ll have a personal resume that stands out and shows who you really are.
Let’s break down each aspect of a resume and explain how to decide what personal information to include.
Your photo should be a clean headshot, without sunglasses or other people on. The goal is to present yourself as a professional, after all. In Europe, using a photo on a resume is normal and some employers even require it. In some US states, though, overly detailed information is illegal in order to prevent discrimination. That’s why many companies don’t like to see a photo on resumes as it reveals information about your gender, age and in some cases religion.
From our experience, there is no right or wrong when it comes to including a photo on your resume. The answers of hiring managers vary. Decide whether it would add value to your resume based on your research of the company you’re applying for and check your local laws and company policies (you can always email the HR department t ask).
You can find more advice about the perfect photo here.
Your email has to be professional, with the usual format being ”name.lastname”. What it definitely shouldn’t be is the email you came up with in middle school. HotChic1993@aol.com, for example, is a no go. Also, using a modern email (Gmail, for example), means you’re up-to-date with technology. While using AOL means you’re still in the 90s.
In case you already have a job and are planning on quitting, you should NOT use your employer’s email to apply for different jobs. This sounds pretty simple at first glance, but it’s actually a frequent mistake. It will not make you look more important, nor skilled. Chances are that hiring managers might reject you. No one would like someone in their team that could use his current company to get a job in another.
if you’re a student, you can use your student email, especially if you study in a high profile university. firstname.lastname@example.org will seem pretty impressive to anyone, for example.
Write your first and last name on your resume. You can leave out your middle name, as that will just make it unnecessarily long. Also, don’t add any prefix or suffix before or after your name, except if there is some justified reason to do so.
Also, pick one name and stick with it on all of your social profiles, resume and other documents. Nowadays, 92% of recruiters use social media to find high-quality candidates. Can’t really blame them, seeing how you appear on Facebook versus on a resume can be eye-opening for them. Your online persona matters, whether you like it or not.
In his article, Mike Volpe, former CMO at Hubspot, talks about how someone could interpret your online presence as a factor in hiring. While the chances of being rejected because a recruiter didn’t find your Facebook are slim, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
These days, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are a common sight. There’s no point in including these as a title in your resume (B.A John, M.A Dave). If you have a Ph.D., however, it’s a must-have. A rule of thumb when using a title is that the desired reaction from a recruiter should be “Wow” not “Meh.” Include your title especially if you’re applying for certificate-sensitive jobs. Think, MBA, CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), etc.
Including your location in your personal information section is another must-have. These days, most of the big companies use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter out candidates and make their job easier. It helps companies match resumes up to certain criteria and the location is one of them. If a company is looking for a programmer located in Boston, MA, the ATS will automatically discard those that aren’t from that area.
“Exclude your home address” (Brian Brandt)
Having a full address on your resume is not relevant. In the 21st century, no one is going to send you a letter or will find something interesting about your street name. It’s good to include only your city and state, or city and country if you are outside of the USA.
Before hiring managers actually invite you for an interview, they prefer to call you ‘’for a quick chat’’. Even though they name it a ‘’casual chat’’, it is an initial interview. They want to understand how you react to different questions and what your phone manner is.
When adding a phone number to your resume, it’s a good idea to include the country code – especially if you’re applying from a different country or to an international company. Make it easy for a hiring manager to reach you.
This doesn’t have to be your current job title such as ‘’Digital Marketer’’ or ‘’Full Stack Developer’’. It can also be something more creative. You need to make sure, though, that it states clearly what you do or who you are as both a professional and an individual. A short title is a good way to convey your background in a crisp and narrative format.
Here are some examples our team members used:
‘’Devout seeker of simplicity and clarity in code and life itself’’ – Full Stack Developer
‘’Rockin’ a positive attitude, media relations and copywriting’’ – Media Relations Coordinator and Editor
Add it all together and you’ve got a personal resume that stands out
The first part of our guide to resumes finishes here. We hope it will help you craft the best personal information section. Remember that the magic is in the details 🙂
The next guide will focus on a section many job seekers struggle with – the Summary section. If you have some specific questions about it, share them in the comments below.
*note, the original version of this article was posted in May of 2017