What I Do and Do Not Put in My Resume


After I shared some tips on how to get a dream job last week, I received some notes from you regarding how to structure and “write” a CV or resume.

There are heaps of resources available online about “how to write a CV or resume”. But, sometimes, we just cannot shake that feeling off our heads: how we think our CV does not look “special enough”, so boring, does not get us jobs, etc.

What I Put and Do Not Put in My Resume

To start off the week (and welcome the Monday!), I would like to share how I have been writing my resume all these years:

What I Do Not Put in My Resume:

  • Date of birth, gender, photo, religion, weight (???), height (???) — The only “personal data” I put are my name, address, email address and/or website, and phone number. I do not put all of the aforementioned elements because at this day and age, I do not think it is necessary anymore. When we put these on our CV/resume, it might distract the reviewer from what we actually do/excel at/can achieve. However, sometimes the recruiter asks for it. In this case, we do not have any option other than including it.
  • Hobby, or too many skills — I never put my hobby in my CV/resume, especially if I do not have any significant activity related to it. I also do not put “Skills: Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, WordPress CMS, etc…”.
  • Irrelevant “achievements” — Okay, so, I won a colouring competition when I was in elementary school. It was a big achievement for me, and I received a ‘big’ prize for winning (for a 7 year-old, that is!). Nonetheless, it is not relevant with any job or school I was applying to. Hence, I left it out. And many more irrelevant things.
  • Outdated education experience — I do not put my kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and senior high school names.

What I Put in My Resume:

  • Job description! — Sometimes we spend so much time writing this long list of educational degrees obtained, job titles, volunteering activities, etc. etc. etc., we forget to let people know what it is all about. When you say you have been a “business analyst”, what did you exactly do? I always write 2 to 3 sentences about my responsibility, daily tasks, and achievements in the job.
  • “School” description — I also always put a 2 to 3 sentences description about what I had achieved in school (both academically and non-academically) and how the school ranks between others (especially because back in the day, my university has not been as popular as other, bigger private or public universities). I also included the title of my undergraduate thesis, particularly because it is crucial in regards to my career interest/aspiration.

What I Do with My Resume:

  • Constantly update it — 3 years after graduation now, I still update my resume at least quarterly (if not monthly). Not because I have new achievements or new jobs, but simply because overtime, as we grow older, some things might not be relevant anymore.
  • Have a few versions — I have a “primary”, generally-written resume, which includes everything that I would like to be included in the CV. However, I have some different versions on top of it, and usually alter them prior to applying for an opportunity. For example, I have the “corporate job” resume – mainly highlighting my experience in different corporations, the “entrepreneurship” resume – mainly highlighting my work in Sinergi Muda and IndonesianYouth (and schools/fellowships related to it), and the “creative writing” resume – mainly highlighting my writing ‘hobby’. Because maybe, a manufacturing company is not really interested with the fact that I released a romance fiction; but a publisher is not really interested with my work in selling softwares either.
  • Keep it short and simple — My resume is 2 pages. I sometimes use bold, italic, underline, and different colours to highlight some stuff. But that’s it.

Do you have any tips regarding how to write a resume? What do you do with it — that is usually not done by others? Share in the comments box!

2 thoughts on “What I Do and Do Not Put in My Resume

  1. I beg to differ on the DoB part, I still think it’s necessary to be included because some employers actually consider a certain age range to be more suitable for some positions. Agreeing on everything else :)

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