Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Minor Items Left Off Your Resume May Cost You A Job

                                                                        resume photo: resume resume.jpg

I am suddenly receiving a large percentage or résumés which are missing essential information –  home address, zip codes, phone numbers, email and even jobs and education.  Each of these missing elements could cost you an interview or a job.

Let’s start with this premise.  A résumé should contain all relevant information.  The reader should have a complete look at the person whose paper they are reading. After someone looks at your résumé, they should be able to obtain a quick picture of who you are and what you might be able to contribute to their company.  A résumé should make it easy for people who are interested in you to be able to find you and contact you. 

Remember, a résumé is an ad for yourself.

But I see a lot of résumés which do not contain home addresses, zip codes, home phone numbers, colleges, degrees and graduation years.  And, of course, people who are over forty or fifty tend to lop off jobs and their graduation dates.  When these items are missing, despite whatever the reasons the résumé writer has, it may communicate negatively about you.  At the least, it may communicate that you are bad on details.

Home Addresses
I fully understand why people, particularly women, are not putting their home addresses on their résumés.  But it may be counterproductive.  What one might save in security, one looses in incompleteness.  If I get a job in New Jersey and there is no NJ address in the résumé, the candidate might lose out on a perfectly appropriate job because I didn’t know to call her.

Every good recruiter or interviewer will ask for this information in an interview, but what if they forget? 

And it isn’t as if a résumé is out floating around on the internet.  The job sites - the Ladders, Monster and the like - require that companies actually have to pay to see your résumés, which, I would think, precludes most people with bad intentions.  (I am sure that I have not read of a single case of identity theft based on a résumé.  Identity theft comes from bank and credit card transactions.)

Zip Codes
Many candidate leave zip codes off their résumé address.  I ask about it and I am often told that it interfered with graphics and the format. This is a case of form over function, but your zip code is an essential element in your address.  Omitting it, may communicate that you are not detail oriented and someone might reject your résumé based on this incomplete information.

Home Phone Numbers
These days most calls are made to one’s cell.  I get it.  But there have been many times when I needed to speak to someone during the weekend and their mobile phone was turned off and either myself or a client needed to reach them.  It isn't vital but it is a good thing to consider.

Office Numbers
Office numbers are rarely on résumés any more; they are not necessary because, if I want to reach someone at their office, I can always get the main number and call the company.

Graduation Years
Every professional interviewer can immediately tell when someone is trying to fudge their graduation year so people can’t tell their age.  It is ridiculous.  Like all recruiters, I can smell it a mile away.  Leaving off that information is, to me, a sign of weakness and possibly insecurity.  Besides, when graduation years are omitted, I automatically assume that early-career jobs are missing as well.

Eliminating Jobs
Lopping off jobs is always evident.  People don’t start their careers as vice presidents!  And, besides, the experienced gained early in a career may be very relevant to current interviewing – and it certainly gives perspective to one’s background.

Depending on one’s level, a catch-all paragraph listing previous experience may or may not be relevant.  However, that experience may contain important information.  Someone who is sales trained, worked on or at a great company like Procter or IBM should make sure that this information shows.  These days, most recruiters use computers which contain all your information; single industry recruiters like myself can always tell when information is left off - sometimes candidates are in my data base for many years before I meet them.  

 Something which happened in the way distant past may make you the perfect candidate for a current job.

Social Media
Putting Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook logos on your resume is superfluous, at least for me.  It is not important to know that someone tweets.

I have observed that many LinkedIn profiles are out of synch with their resumes.  Dates are often misstated on one or the other.  Companies are often on one and not the other.  A word to the wise: be careful.

When you submit a resume to a job board and they do not respond, this could be one of the reasons.

The whole purpose of a résumé to enable people to gain a complete snapshot of you and to make it simple for them to reach you.  The information must be accurate and complete.


  1. Home Address & Zip Code

    I believe there could be other reasons (aside from physical safety) that would cause someone to omit a home address on their resume.

    It's extremely easy now to go online and look up county property records by searching an address. Details about how much you paid for your home and who else is listed on the property deed are readily accessible. Sometimes photos are even included (but if not, just use Google Maps and you can usually get a picture of the home, maybe even with a picture of your car out front).

    Maybe I don't like what my neighborhood or my house conveys about me (lack of status symbols could matter depending on the level of the position). Maybe I don't want the employer to see I have someone else of the same gender listed on the property deed. Or maybe I'm uncomfortable with the cost of my home being known.

    Granted, employers should not do this, but they occasionally do search for this info online. And sometimes it's possible to look this up with just a first and last name, but the physical address certainly makes it a lot easier.

    In an age where privacy is dissipating and complete transparency is closing in, I think it's prudent to be as protective of your information as possible.

    The solution I've arrived at is using a p.o. box on my resume. It allows me to put down my city and zip code, but my street and house information are still private. For $6 or so a month, it's pretty cheap to rent one and it comes in handy for other purposes as well (using the p.o. on checks and at other times when you want to keep your home address private).

    Home Phone

    Not sure too many people have home phones anymore, but even if they did people still go outside and miss calls. I think the "phone turned off" excuse could be a white lie to cover not wanting to be accessible on the weekends and a home phone would go unanswered as well.

    Graduation Years

    I don't list the years I completed my bachelor's or master's degrees on my resume because I don't think it's very relevant. I'm 32, so I'm not too worried about age discrimination just yet. I just don't see how it makes much of a difference. For professional certifications, though, I do list dates active so I can show I am current on my knowledge.

    Eliminating Jobs & Social Media

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on both points!

    1. @Anonymous: Thanks for your well thought out comments.

      To the best of my knowledge, identity theft rarely, if ever, occurs with the amount of work you suggest. Thieves are too busy stealing credit cards to look up county tax records. But your point is well taken and a PO address is a good solution - at least it lets people know approximately where you live.

      For those who have a home number, it should be listed. I know that many people no longer use one.

      Graduation year belongs on a resume; it adds perspective to one's background. And it is nothing to be ashamed of or hide.

  2. As a 50-something professional, I am often competing with younger candidates. I've done my own less-than-scientific test by including my years of graduation and all relevant work experience on one version of my resume, and omitting the years and just summarizing work experience that is more than 20 years old (e.g, "variety of advertising agency experience on accounts/products such as....."

    That second resume has consistently received more action than the one that lists the dates and all of my past jobs. So I've stopped using the one with the dates.

    I hesitate to say age discrimination has anything to do with the response, but I've seen coworkers interviewing older candidates being hesitant to hire them, making comments like "probably too stuck in his/her ways" and "concerned he might not be up to date on the latest technology" and the one that really bothered me: "if he has health problems that's going to increase the cost of our health insurance."

    As for eliminating LinkedIn, I include a QR code to my LinkedIn profile, since I have a number of recommendations there that might give an prospective employer some insight into my areas of strength, prior to calling my formal references. I would never include Twitter and Facebook, as those are more personal.

    Thanks for your perspective Paul. As always, informative and educational. And this one definitely got me thinking....

    1. @Aonymous: Thanks for your thoughts. I have given this subject a lot of thought. I only want people to maximize the response they get to their resumes.

      The issue isn't which resume format got you the most response or interviews. The issue is which got you the most jobs.

      in terms of pure age, the questions you raise are besides the point. Any good interviewer can determine if someone is set in their ways or open to new ideas. It is also easy to determine if someone is up on the latest technology. I am afraid that the bigger issue when older more senior workers interview with younger executives is that you cannot work for someone who should be working for you. It rarely happens and when it does, it rarely works.

      Frankly, I don;t know anyone who can upload the information in a QR Code. I certainly can't and don't. Written recommendations are a nice thing but count for little. When someone wants a reference, they will call.

      But you gave me good food for thought. T hanks.

  3. Replies
    1. Please do not use my post to promote your business


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