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Jewish World Review April 4, 2001 / 11 Nissan, 5761

Resumania by Max Messmer

Max Messmer
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Avoid temptation to put personal details on resume -- "PERSONAL: Favorite childhood foods - cookies, potato chips and Jell-O; favorite car - Jaguar (but too expensive for me); favorite jeans maker - Lee; favorite place - Palm Springs; least favorite place - Paris."

Favorite advice to resume writers: Avoid personal information on your resume at all costs.

When reviewing your resume, employers look for evidence that you have the necessary skills and experience for the job. If it looks like you're a good fit on paper, then they will bring you in for an interview to meet you in person. At this stage in the hiring process, you may be asked about hobbies and interests if they relate to the job, but more than likely the employer will focus on your relevant business accomplishments. At no time should the interview become overly personal.

The same should hold true when preparing resumes. Focus on your past achievements and relevant work history, but avoid the temptation to give details about your personal life.

Here are examples from job seekers who could have benefited from this advice:

"PERSONAL: My favorite things are my pets, cut glass, my bicycle, caviar and feather pillows."

Where does work fall on the list?

"PERSONAL: My wife and I get along fine because we really like each other."

"PERSONAL: I will only work for a company that advances the needs of mankind and that does its business in an honest fashion. I live by this personal creed, and ask that you do not misrepresent your company in order to entice me to accept a job with you."

Wouldn't think of it.

"PERSONAL: I am always willing to bring my portable electric piano to parties. Because of this, I receive many invitations."

Could liven up the office break room.

A job seeker from Washington, D.C., listed 10 hobbies in which he is interested, but went on to add, "I don't do any of these things because of a lack of time and money."

"Personal: A scholar of life and mishaps."

And which expertise do you plan to apply here?

Finally, I found this resume writer's personal interest to be especially amusing.

"HOBBIES: Job hunting. I have been very successful at it."

Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc., a specialized staffing firm, and author of Job Hunting for Dummies. Comment by clicking here.


03/29/01: Resume mistakes
03/26/01: No need to say why you left
03/14/01: What not to say when applying for a job
03/05/01: Be smart on the job objective
02/21/01: Corporate warriors
02/14/01: Make sure resume reflects what you actually mean
01/24/01: Don't criticize former boss on resume
01/22/01: Resume bloopers

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