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Friday, February 03, 2006
Nothing Personal
About one in every five resumes that are submitted to us for review includes information that should automatically kill it’s viability with employers. That information is Personal Data such as marital status, children, religious affiliation, age or date of birth, health details, ethnicity, or even sexual orientation. Many job seekers still include this section or information not realizing they are cutting their own hamstrings in the process as far as job search is concerned.

U.S. hiring laws prohibit employers from discriminating based on these issues. Employers are prohibited by law from asking about the following during an interview (FindLaw):
Whether the applicant has children or intends to have children.
Marital status of applicant.
Applicant's race.
Applicant's religion.
Applicant's sexual preference.
Applicant's age (other than inquiring whether over age of 18).
Whether applicant suffers from a disability.
Applicant's citizenship status.
Questions concerning drug or alcohol use by the applicant.
Since none of these can be legally discussed during an interview, they waste space on the resume. The resume should serve as some sort of agenda for the initial interview so everything on it must contribute to that interview in some way. Many employers, fearful of future accusations of discrimination in hiring, will automatically reject any resume that contains this information simply in an effort to protect themselves from the appearance of discrimination. Including personal information on the resume is a foolproof way of making sure the resume is not considered at all and will be rejected completely by employers.

The question arises, then, why do people continue to include this information? Part of it is because it is an old tradition. Thirty years ago, prior to changes in the law, most resumes included personal information. The fact that some job seekers still include it demonstrates lack of astuteness concerning the job search and hiring process. While that is not so disturbing or uncommon considering that most job seekers don’t make job search an every day activity and thus, aren’t expected to be experts in hiring laws, it IS disturbing when a job seeker is applying for a position in which he/she would be responsible for hiring others. Ignorance of basic hiring laws, demonstrated through inclusion of a personal section, can position a candidate as potentially leading a future employer into litigation as a result of this ignorance.

Bottom line: keep the personal info out of the resume. Include only information that directly contributes to your candidacy for the job. Employers don’t want to know about your marital status nor do your hobbies and interests concern them. They only want to know if you will do a great job for their investment.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 /


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