Although there is no general consensus on how a resume should look, the overall appearance and content of this important document is more or less the same in every case: personal information, work experience, additional skills, studies, and miscellaneous.
Most people pay the biggest attention to the sections about work experience, skills and studies – and they are 100% right to do so.
However, just like the rest of a CV, the very first section that contains all personal data has to be written in a convincing way but without giving away sensitive information.
What to Include in the Personal Section
There are obligatory and optional parts of the personal details section. The obligatory parts, which are the same for cover letters, are as follows:
- Your name
- Telephone number
- Email address
However, there are some rules to work with. Most importantly, your name has to be emphasized in some way, like using a larger font or bolding it out. As for your phone number and email address, they have to be active, professional (no nicknames and such), and should not be related in any way to your previous or current workplace.
As for the optional info, there’s a much larger selection to choose from:
- Nationality (if applying for a job abroad)
- Date and place of birth
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Health status
- Driving license details
- Current salary
All of the above can be left out partially or entirely, but the list of items to include usually depends on the job you are applying for. However, if you are writing the cover letter, these details are unnecessary since the focus of such a document is to emphasize your achievements and skills in greater details, and extra personal information just occupies valuable space.
Although including only the most necessary personal information is often convincing enough to be invited to an interview – provided your past experience and skills are even more convincing – if other information is required there could be some issues regarding privacy. To avoid this try to stick to the bare minimum (name, address, phone number and email) and only provide extra information when asked for by the company.
Unfortunately, there are still some minefields to overcome that could mean your resume will meet its doom no matter how good it is. Such problematic elements are the date of birth and a photograph: in order to have equal chances when applying for a job, omit these two unless the company wants them to be included. However, keep in mind that companies have to act in accordance with strict equality laws, meaning that they cannot discriminate you for your appearance, age, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religion, and so on.
… and How to Solve Them
Provide only the most necessary and relevant information when applying for a job the regular way, but especially when using a job portal or registering for LinkedIn. Although a LinkedIn profile is essential for helping recruiters find you more easily or for getting only the most relevant job hits, it’s best to use said profile as a base. Think of it as a brief presentation of yourself, or rather a more extensive business card that invites potential employees to get to know you better. In other words, you can keep your complete customized resume when you are actually applying for a job you’re interested in.
And if you are still concerned about unwanted recruiters finding your resume online, the solution is simple: keep your online resume private, and only send it over through a private link or as a PDF file to those companies you feel comfortable sharing your private information with. Online resume builders let you apply privacy settings to make sure that the online version of your resume isn’t discovered by search engines like Google. This way you control whether or not your resume shows up when people search your name or other private information.