How Personal Should Your Resume Be?

May 14, 2015

RESUMEIt goes without saying that your resume will certainly be somewhat personal in nature because it is about your background and experiences. Your training, accomplishments, and activities will not be the same as anyone else’s; these things are unique to you. But there are different levels of personal. You want the information you include to reflect you in a professional light and not lead to unintentional discrimination. So just how personal should you get?


First versus Third Person


There has been much debate about what tense to use on a resume. Some people are definitively for first person, some for third, and some could go either way. What tends to be mutually agreed upon is that you should leave off the pronouns. Your resume is about you, therefore you don’t need to say “I” – it is implied. Using I statements can also come off as more casual and less professional.


Start your sentences and bullet points off with strong verbs rather than unnecessary pronouns. Using third person, such as spearheads, develops, or orchestrates creates a professional tone and draws attention to what you can do. Some people prefer first person such as manage, operate, or direct because they are talking about themselves and feel that it should read that way. Both are generally acceptable but many people lean toward third.


Personal Details


Limit the amount of personal details you include on your resume because they rarely pertain to your ability to do the job. If hiring managers want to know more about your interests, they can ask during an interview. The goal of your resume is to show that you are a good fit for the job and entice them to want to know more. Details about your hobbies, family, and personal life, as well as photos have no place. Include your name, address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn link on your resume and that should cover it for contact information.


One area where you can show a little bit of personalization is through training, volunteer work, and professional organizations. This can highlight your interests and values as well as showing that you are more well-rounded. It can reflect areas of the industry that interest you or advanced skills that you possess. Volunteering shows that you are active in the community and put your skills to use in diverse ways.


Making an Impact


Your resume will naturally be personalized as you demonstrate your accomplishments and abilities. Focus on specific projects and results that you were an instrumental part of achieving. This is a more effective way of making yourself stand out than disclosing unnecessary information that could unintentionally hurt your chances of landing an interview. Consider what is essential that the employer know and what is just filler. Eliminating filler and developing impactful statements that are attractive to employers will go much further than trying to oversell yourself.

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