Personal Information and References
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There are very few times when personal information
is appropriate on a resume. Usually such facts only take up valuable
white space, especially details such as age, sex, race, health,
or marital status, and other information that potential employers
are not allowed to ask anyway. There are exceptions to every rule
in the resume business, however! Here are some of them:
- International resumes in almost all cases require date of
birth, place of birth, citizenship, marital status, sex, and
- Students, or those who have recently graduated, often have
a difficult time coming up with enough paid experience to demonstrate
their qualifications. But, if they have held leadership positions
in campus organizations or have supervised groups of people
and organized activities on a volunteer basis, then an "Activities"
section could strengthen those qualifications.
- A list of sporting interests would be helpful for a person
looking for a sports marketing position.
- If you are looking for a job in sales where you would need
to travel a great deal, or overseas where relocating an entire
family becomes expensive, showing that you are unmarried and
willing to travel could be helpful.
- Submitting a resume to a U.S. company doing business in
certain foreign countries could be another example. On such
a resume, an "Interests" section would show a prospective employer
that your hobbies are compatible with the host country.
And the list goes on. It is important to use
your judgment, since only you know best what qualifications are
important in your field. For instance, on the third example in this
section, you will notice that the author was a minister. In his
line of work, it is very important to list a great deal of personal
information that most employers would not need to know or even be
allowed by law to request. In his case, the information he provided
related directly to bonafide occupational qualifications for the
job he was seeking.
Photographs on a resume are required by foreign
companies requesting a curriculum vita. However, in the United States,
photographs are discouraged in all but a few industries. For instance,
if you are trying for a job as an actor, model, newscaster, or in
some other field where your appearance is, again, a bonafide occupational
qualification, then a photograph is appropriate. Remember, there
is an exception to every rule in the resume business, so use your
References are not usually presented on a resume
since most employers will not take the time to check references
until after an interview. By then, they will have your completed
application with a list of references. You also don't want to impose
on your friends, associates, or former employers unnecessarily or
too frequently. There is nothing wrong with taking a nicely printed
list of personal references with you to an interview, however. Here's
one of those exceptions to the rule again. If an advertisement requests
that a list of references be sent with the resume and cover, then
by all means supply the list. You don't want to be accused of not
Another thing: Avoid that needless line at the
bottom of the resume that says, "References available upon request".
It takes up valuable white space that you need to define the sections
of your resume in order to draw the reader's eyes logically down
Pretend you are an interviewer. You ask, "Will
you provide references?" The interviewee replies, "Sorry, no, I
can't do that." Will you even think twice about continuing to consider
this candidate? I think not. It is assumed that you will provide
references when requested.
From Designing the Perfect Resume, by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's
Educational Series, Inc.