A resume is usually the first point of official contact between you and a prospective employer. While you may have been networking before, handing in your resume is a formal document that outlines your skills and qualifications that employers can keep on hand with them. They’ll be looking at it and scanning it for pieces of information, using certain sections and words to tick off boxes that they’re looking for. Although some parts of the resume, like your contact information and job history, are the same, there are some things that should just plain be left off.
Photo or Physical Attributes
The only exception to this is if you’re looking for a job where appearance matters, such as acting or modeling. For everyone else, though, leave it off. Why would an employer need to know how tall you are, how much you weigh, and what your hair and eye colors are? They don’t, and it’s not going to win you extra brownie points to include that information.
Political or Religious Affiliation
Again, there is one exception to including this information and that’s if you’re specifically applying for a job that’s politically or religious based, such as a governor’s office or church. However, most of us aren’t applying to those sorts of jobs — and this is just based on numbers — so we don’t need to include that on our resumes. It tells the employer nothing about how qualified you are about the position, and only takes up valuable space for actually selling yourself. You’ll have plenty of lunch hours to chat about politics and religion once you get the job.
Marital Status and Sexuality
Being married or single, gay or straight, or anything else has no bearing on your ability to follow a task and carry it out efficiently. And in many states, including this information can actually block you from getting the job before you even get a chance to interview. For example, in Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and others, employers aren’t legally bound to not discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation.
High School or College Clubs
As you get older and more experienced, what you do academically means less and less. Employers want to see that you have your degree, of course, but they don’t care that you were part of the chess or debating team, or joined the Friends with Fishies club. If it’s not directly tied to the job you’re applying for, leave it off.
Again, employers don’t care that you have a passion for jam and belong to the Jelly of the Month club, or that you’re a self-taught expert on musicology. These are great interests to have and definitely contribute to you being a well-rounded individual, but it has no direct bearing on your ability to perform. You need to use this space on your resume to highlight what you’re good at that matters to the job, and listing your world-class comic book collection just doesn’t do that. Of course, if you’re applying to a comic book store or jam company, you can include this information. But if you’re not, leave it off. There may be time in the interview if you’re asked (and only if you’re directly asked), but this usually falls under “lunch hour topics of conversation” than something that should be included in your resume.