The only question that matters when writing a CV or resume
Does it matter?
Everyone will have an opinion on what to include on a resume, but only one opinion matters … that of the resume reader.
Whether you are writing a new resume or tailoring an existing one, this one question will help you decide whether to include something or not.
Should I include…
At the time of research, if ‘should I include’ is typed into the search box on Google or Bing, most of the suggested searches relate to job search (your specific results may vary)
- Should I include a cover letter
- Should I include hobbies on my resume
- Should I include a photo in my cv
- Should I include photo in resume
Should I include references in my resume
Should I include my inheritance in will
Should I include references on cv [country]
Should I include a profile statement
Should I include a cover letter
Should I include a photo on my resume
Similarly, the answers to these questions vary. For example, when ‘should I include a photo in resume’ is Googled…
Google Results – summary of advice: 1. Why Your Resume Should NEVER Include a Photo – ‘No’ 2. Should you include a photo with your resume? – ‘No’ 3. Should my resume include a photo of myself? – ‘Maybe’ 4. ‘No Photo On Your Resume’ And Other Career Advice You Should Question – ‘Why Not?’ 5. 5 Things You Should Absolutely Never Put on a Resume – ‘No’
So, how can anyone know which opinion to follow?
You need to find your best answer by asking yourself the simple question: ‘does it matter?’, for each content you want to include.
Like many answers to many questions, the broad answer is ‘it depends’. The good news is that it depends on your unique context – your individual circumstance and each specific job – so by doing some research on the company, industry and country, the answer can become a definite answer.
It could matter if…
The following are examples of when you could include content not specifically requested by the job ad:
- Physical appearance is relevant to the job – e.g. acting or modelling
- It is the norm in your country – e.g. some parts of Asia and Europe
- The photo can provide important information that provides you with an advantage – e.g. due to company diversity initiatives, or a person looking for a babysitter might prefer someone ‘motherly’
- You are photogenic or there is high chance of recognition – there is probably only upside, but keep it professional and relevant. If someone has a bias, it is probably better to know sooner rather than later. Also, most hirers will probably do a search on social media, which could reveal more than just a photo.
Career Objective / Profile Statement
- Functionally ordered resume – a profile statement could introduce and tie together the different functions as it relates to the advertised role
- There are specific ‘red flags’ you want to preempt – e.g. explaining an industry switch in a couple of sentences
- The job tends to receive applicants from wide backgrounds with varied motivations
- You have stellar references that the resume reader might know
Hobbies & Interests
- Your hobby is relevant to the job or exceptionally interesting – curiosity is powerful
- If your interests can show alignment to company values or add to their culture
- If they show qualities that you may not have had a chance to demonstrate in a professional setting, e.g. leadership roles in your community
Lastly, remember that your resume is a marketing document that aims to get you an interview. Your application may get as little as 30-45 seconds of consideration when first viewed, so you need to highlight the most important and relevant information.
If it really matters, make it prominent. If it doesn’t matter, leave it out.