You’ve written your résumé and it’s time to add some personal details, but you might be wondering what exactly to include. What is necessary and what is too much information? This is a common dilemma but, as with the rest of your résumé, less is more in most circumstances.
Below, we’ll guide you through what needs to be included, and what is best left off your résumé.
Why you shouldn’t include personal information in your résumé.
Aside from your name and contact information, it isn’t necessary to include personal details on your résumé, in most cases. In fact, including too many personal details may have a negative effect on your job application. Here’s why:
It’s an outdated practice
Adding personal details to a résumé used to be a common practice, but along with adding references, it isn’t necessary anymore. All recruiters need, in most instances, is your name and contact information. Save the space for information that is going to help to sell you as a candidate such us you work experience and skills.
It opens you up to discrimination and bias
Including personal information such as your age, nationality, gender or marital status make it possible for recruiters to discriminate against you.
To ensure that you will be judged solely on your merit, it’s best to stick to adding just your name and contact information. This allows you to demonstrate what you can bring to a role based on your skills and experience.
Even if hiring managers don’t intentionally discriminate against candidates, they may still have unconscious bias and prejudice, which could ultimately affect the success of your application. Adding personal details builds a picture of yourself that the reader of your résumé may or may not identify with. People are hard-wired to look for similarities and differences between themselves and others, and whilst this could work in your favor, it equally may not.
It goes against anti-discrimination laws
In some countries it is against the law for employers to make hiring decisions based on your personal information.
Furthermore, in certain organizations, your personal details including your name and photo are removed from a document before they are reviewed by a hiring manger. This is to ensure that the hiring process remains unbiased.
When it’s okay to include personal information in your résumé
Whilst in general it’s best avoided, there are instances where including personal details is necessary.
You are applying to jobs in certain countries
In some countries, the rules and guidelines around personal information are different. For example, if you are applying for a job in Germany, it is a standard practice to include date and place of birth and your nationality. In France, you will also need to include marital status and a professional photo of yourself.
Meanwhile, when it comes to countries in the Middle East, you may be required to provide a lot more personal information including marital status, gender, date and place of birth, number of children, if any, as well as a photo.
It’s important that you check and follow the data and résume requirements in each country you are applying in to ensure you are following general guidelines.
You have an acting or modelling résumé
If you are applying for a role where your physical appearance is a factor, such as acting or modelling, certain personal details will be important. The recruiter will likely want to see a photo of you, but also know your age, gender, height, weight, eye color and so on.
In these situations, leaving these off will be to your detriment. Make sure you have an excellent headshot or include an additional portfolio of your work. Other personal details such as height and weight may also be required.
You have a website or portfolio
Employers will do a background search on you, so if you have a LinkedIn profile, portfolio or website that add value to your résumé, you should add the link along with your contact details to make it easier for them to find what you want them to see.
Anything that backs up your credentials is great to include in you a résumé. This could be a portfolio of your design work, a personal blog, or a YouTube channel.
You are applying to emergency/armed services
If you are applying for a role in the emergency services, such as fireman or policeman, or to the armed services, certain personal details relating to your physical abilities may be required. This could include your height and weight, any medical conditions or disabilities, as well as age and gender.
Your hobbies and professional experience overlap
Including your hobbies and interests in your résumé is common but isn’t always advised. This depends on your experience level and whether your hobbies actually add value to your résumé.
If something you’ve done in your personal life is relevant to the role you’re applying for, it’s okay to include it on your résumé. For example, if you are applying for a job in a charity that supports parents and you are a parent yourself, you may want to mention this in your résumé.
Types of personal information you can include in your résumé
Personal information on your résumé is best avoided in most situations but depending on where you’re applying to for a role, it may be necessary. Here’s what you may need to include:
- Marital status
- Family status
- Disabilities or medical conditions
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Height and weight
- Personal portfolio or website
- Hobbies and interests
What personal information you should always include in your résumé
Contact details are always necessary. If you are successful at application stage, a recruiter will want to get in touch to invite you to interview. Therefore, it is essential that they know how to contact you. You should include the following:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Full address (optional)
- LinkedIn profile (optional)
Where to include personal information in your résumé
Your contact details should be placed at the top of your résumé along with your name. Add your name at the top of the résumé in large, bold text, with your contact details clearly listed below in a smaller font. You can also include them as a header so that they are visible at the top of each page.
You can alter this if it suits the design of your résumé, but make sure to keep them at the top of the document.
When it comes to contact details, include only the essentials. Anything else can open you up to discrimination and is taking up valuable space that can be used to showcase your skills and achievements.
As a rule of thumb, include only your location or address, phone number and email address. You can include your LinkedIn profile link or link to a website or portfolio if it is relevant.
In certain circumstances, you will be expected to include relevant personal information, but it is important that you obtain guidelines on what to include, rather than including irrelevant, unnecessary information in your résumé.
What personal information have you included in your résumé? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 27 December 2017.