By Debra Auerbach
Are you a 5-foot-7 woman who has three dogs, loves skydiving and makes a killer margarita? Unless you’re applying for a job as a dog walker, skydiving instructor or bartender, these details do not belong on your résumé.
Résumés should only include information that is relevant to the position for which you’re applying, was requested by the employer or makes it easy for them to contact you. Anything superfluous — hobbies and personal attributes for example — should not be shared.
Yet it’s not always easy to decide what should stay and what should go. While every situation is unique, and it’s important to take the job and employer requirements into account, there are some general rules for what does and doesn’t have a place on your résumé. Here is some advice on seven common résumé question marks:
1. Home address: While not everyone is comfortable with sharing such private information, career coach Lavie Margolin recommends including your address. “Not listing your address on your résumé will make things more challenging for you,” Margolin says. “It will be an immediate question mark for employers as to why there is no address listed. They may even perceive it as you not living near the position you are applying for.” Margolin says that while you can still get a job without sharing your address, you’re also more likely to be eliminated for not including it. Just make sure that you’ve done your research on the company to ensure its legitimacy before sharing any contact information.
2. Reference information: “Never include reference information; you don’t want your references being bothered by employers, especially if you don’t know that you want the job,” says Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing. “Once there is mutual interest, then provide the references.” And remember: Always speak to your references first before sharing their details with prospective companies.
3. A disability: “There is a common and not unfounded fear that revealing a disability on the résumé may lead to not being selected for a position, which makes the disclosure choice a difficult one,” says Barbara Otto, executive director of Think Beyond the Label, a national collaborative aimed at increasing employment among people with disabilities. “A résumé is a springboard for you to give details about your skills, experience and the unique perspectives you bring to the table. You should not explicitly state your disability, but you can weave in your professional experience and hobbies that may be disability-related, such as volunteer work or awards received. Then in the interview you can use these achievements to break the ice about your disability if you choose to.”
4. Grade point average: It’s great if you graduated from college with a 4.0, but if you did so 10 years ago, it’s probably time to remove your GPA from your résumé. “A person’s GPA would normally only be listed on the résumé if [he] recently graduated from college,” Margolin says. “If the GPA is below a 3.0, it is usually best to leave it off. Feel free to keep on any special academic status or awards you may have achieved such as magna cum laude.” The exception? Some companies may request a GPA, so read the application before removing it. “In certain circumstances, a GPA would remain on longer … some job listings require a certain GPA minimum.”