Your Resume Is Not a Confession. It's Marketing!

I’m not Catholic, so the idea of making a formal confession is not something I grew up with. But when I started helping people write their resumes, I sometimes felt like a priest in a confession booth.

I found myself gently reminding my clients, “Your resume is a marketing piece, not a confession.” In other words, you don’t have to “tell all.” Stick to what’s relevant and what’s marketable. In fact, before you put any experience on your resume, ask yourself these two questions.

  1. Does this experience support my job objective?
  2. Does it position me ahead of (or at least in line with) my competition as far as age, skill, and personality?

If you can’t answer “yes” to both of those questions, think about leaving that item off your resume.

3 Things Not to Confess on Your Resume

Here are three examples of when to leave something off your resume.

1. Don’t include facts that make you look over-qualified for the job.
For example, if you’re applying for a clerical position, don’t include the fact that you have a Ph.D.

2. Delete info that’s not relevant to your job objective, being careful not to create gaps in your work history.
For example, if you want to be a newspaper reporter, instead of listing your job at Uncle Bob’s Tacos, simply talk about the freelance writing you did on the side.

3. Understate experience when necessary.
Let’s say you’re applying to be the manager of a $40,000 department. Instead of saying you once managed a $100,000 budget, say that you managed a budget that was over $40,000.

See what I’m saying? This is marketing — all within the bounds of truth.

For more resume writing tips, go to my 10 Steps: How to Write a Resume.