Writing the Perfect Resume

Job seekers often make the mistake of providing too many superfluous details.

ByABC News
September 9, 2008, 6:15 PM

Aug. 10, 2010 — -- A recruiter pal was recently grumbling about a resume she'd received: "I don't need to know that the candidate has a pet Schnauzer named Miss Sparkles," my chum said. "Unless she's applying for a job at the Humane Society, it's irrelevant."

This isn't an isolated incident. In the past week, I've collected countless tales from recruiters, hiring managers and resume consultants about North American job seekers who include far too much personal information on their C.V., from their age, height, religion, wedding anniversary and number of years sober to the fact that they enjoy sleeping, goofing off on Facebook and chasing UFOs in their spare time.

"When they say recruiters look at a resume for 10 seconds, that's true," said Kristen Fife, a recruiter in Seattle who wades through hundreds of resumes a week. "If you're looking to hire somebody to do something, you don't really care that their favorite color is green or that they like to go to monster truck rallies on the weekends. And yes, that was on a resume I saw today."

Mentioning your favorite color or your pet's name on a resume may sound harmless enough -- after all, companies want to hire people, not automatons. But oversharing on your C.V. can wind up biting you on the backside. To a rushed recruiter or hurried hiring manager, a resume riddled with TMI is not only wildly impertinent, it's a glaring red flag.

"Job seekers get all kinds of advice to be different and stand out, and for some people, that means adding information that they think will make them unforgettable," said career coach Debra Yergen, author of "Creating Job Security Resource Guide". "They will be unforgettable, but for all the wrong reasons."

So herewith, the most common resume overshares -- and why you should avoid making the same mistakes:

Your resume is not a cocktail party. Thus, those you send it to do not need -- or want -- to know the names, ages, birthdates and special talents of your children. Nor do they want to read a detailed description of your loving marriage and zest for family life. They just want to know what you can do for their company and what employment experience you have to prove it.