What to Include in a Resume
Some aspects of resume creation are more obvious than others. It is probably obvious to you, for example, that your resume should include your name and contact information. Otherwise, even if you were the perfect potential employee, nobody would be able to find you to tell you!
There are a couple of other things that you want to tell your potential employer about. These will vary depending on the level of your experience and the type of job, but generally you need to give information about your education, your prior work experience, and the names of several people who can recommend you. That’s the bare necessities. However, that does not have to be the only information you include.
You may also want to have a section that includes recreational activities or awards or a web site…
There are any number of other choices. The key is to make sure that everything that you put on your resume positively supports your resume’s central argument which is that you are the best person for the particular position for which you are applying. If you are trying to get a job as a program director at a Yoga center, then listing your experience as an extracurricular activity coordinator volunteer for the PTA helps to paint that picture. However, in that same circumstance, the fact that you played in the world championship poker tournament isn’t really going to advance your cause.
Everything that you include should be put examined through the following question: How does this help? If it doesn’t, let it go, it is just going to get in the way. Don’t make your potential employer search through a mound of irrelevant information in order to find out why they should hire you, present them with a clear, coherent, and compelling case that they would be fools not to.
If, after asking that question, the answer is yes, then the next step is to ask yourself how it helps. It’s one thing to have an instinctual feeling that something is important and related; it’s another to be able to articulate it. If you can’t fully articulate it you may not understand it yourself. And if you don’t understand why something on your own resume is relevant, what chance does the person looking at it have?
Once you can articulate why a particular experience or event is relevant and should be included, you need to make sure that the person who is reading your resume will be aware of that connection. Don’t make them guess, spell out exactly why that particular piece of information helps to build your argument. However, this is something that you have to do with care. You can’t list an experience and then follow up with: “And I am putting this on my resume because…” In fact, it’s exactly that first part of the phrase that you should skip.
So, with that program management job at the Yoga studio, if you are putting your participation in the Under 20 WorldCup Championship Team for the USA, then you should write something after it that indicates it’s relationship to the position, such as:
Served as team captain. Responsibilities included: schedule practices and individual coaching sessions, liaison between sports therapists and injured players, coordinate promotional appearances…
And so forth.
That’s the long answer to this question. The short answer to this question is that a resume needs to include all of the important information relevant to the position and nothing more. End of story.