While it is true that there is no one correct way to write a résumé, there are a few typical rules of thumb you can go by. We all know what strong points to include to showcase experience and qualifications. However, there are some sections that can be removed altogether.
References – There is no need to list references on a résumé. They take up space, do not match the context of the document and can potentially give the contact information of your friends and co-workers' to strangers. While you do want to have a solid set of references, they should be listed in a separate document available upon request. There is also no need to mention this on the résumé, as it is assumed you will be able to provide references. Each line of space on your résumé is valuable; use it to showcase your experience and skills that you can bring to the organization. Another reason to omit references is that they can be viewed by anybody. Some recruiters may use these as potential applicants. In general, you should not give out anyone's contact info, unless it is a trusted source and you have received their permission.
Personal Interests/Hobbies – While these listings have become rarer on résumés, personal interests and hobbies have no place on a résumé. These sections take up valuable real estate, and don't provide potential employers with relevant hiring information. For example, if you are applying to be an accountant, the fact that you may enjoy gardening is completely irrelevant. Focus on what you can do for the employer, not what you enjoy doing outside of business hours.
Objectives – The Objective section has become redundant over the past few years. Let's be honest, your objective is to get the job you are applying for. Instead, replace this section with a professional summary. This allows you to showcase the experience, qualifications and skills you can bring to a position. Think of your résumé as a persuasive essay, showing an employer why you are qualified and should be considered for a position. The professional summary lays out your initial arguments, and gives the reader an expectation of what they can look forward to reading in the rest of the document.
Old Jobs – While the typical rule of thumb is listing your last five positions or 10 years of employment, it is by no means an unbreakable rule. Use your best judgment, and ask yourself a few important questions. Does listing the positions show value? Do they cover employment gaps? Were they industry related? If your older positions do not answer yes to any of those questions, they can be candidates for removal.
Overall, you want to not only show your interest in a position, but also value to an employer. The better you are able to showcase your qualifications and compatibility for the position, the higher the chances of receiving a call back from an employer.
Brian Solar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and has been a Career Coach with AIU since 2008. He has worked with the Career Services departments of both the Online and Ground Campuses. Brian has experience with recruiting, interview preparation, social media, and personal branding.
Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.
If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.