To include or not to include… how to decide what to list on your resume
As the summer draws to a close, our current and former graduate and undergraduate students may be ending summer internships, buckling down for their first major job search, or are even seeking promotions at their current company after graduating with a prestigious NYU degree. Your job history, internships, leadership activities, and education are all important milestones that you will want to include on your resume- but should you? In this blog post we will provide you with some basic guidelines for determining what information is relevant and intriguing to employers, and what experiences should not make the cut!
Your Resume is a Targeted Document
Your resume should be targeted and relevant to the opportunities you are seeking. This should be the guiding point for how you decide what to include on your resume. If you are seeking a position in marketing, is that part-time store clerk position you had 12 years ago going to be relevant? Probably not. Always refer to the job description and highlight your skills and accomplishments according to the job requirements.
What to Include for Education and Academic Information
As a general rule, when you move onto new points in your academic career, former stages of your life will become less relevant. For instance, you should only include high school information for a few years after you graduated from high school. If you are an upperclassman or older, high school information should not be included on your resume. As a graduate student, you should include less information about your undergraduate experiences (clubs, activities, coursework, etc.). If you are a professional with many years of work experience, you could also consider moving the education section down the page and starting your resume with your work experience.
How to Narrow Down Your Work Experience
For professionals with significant work experience, a good rule of thumb is to focus on your work experience from the past 10 years. The technology you used and skills you gained from a position you had over 10 years ago may not be as useful today. Of course, the 10-year guideline may not be applicable to all students, but it is often a good starting point for professionals with many years of work experience.
You can also consider adding headings to your experience section such as “Real Estate Experience” and “Additional Experience”. Highlight your industry-specific experience in the first section, and briefly summarize your other experience in the next section.
Even if you have over 20 years of experience, remember that it is important to focus on your accomplishments and not your years of experience. Focusing on accomplishments will also help you to remove unnecessary information from your resume – rather than focus on duties and responsibilities, describe your accomplishments and skills.
While these are guidelines to get you started, what should or shouldn’t be included on a resume is often dependent on the person’s specific situation. Stop by the Wasserman Center Walk-in Hours or schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to talk about how you should update your resume.