I’m honestly a little upset that I have to write this, but a friend of mine asked me the other day to take a look at his resume and I was pretty baffled by what I saw. After asking a few more people I realized that this may be more common an occurrence that I had previously thought and needed to be addressed. So, if you have been in the working world for at least three years, for the love of God take your coursework and scholastics off your resume.
If you just graduated college or haven’t had any relevant work experience and are applying to an entry level position, by all means put your coursework on your resume. However, if you don’t fit that criteria, leave it off. The purpose of a resume is to convince the person looking at it that you are a viable candidate for the position in less than ten seconds. That makes every inch of your resume prime real estate and shouldn’t include any information that isn’t absolutely relevant to selling you as a candidate. I guarantee you, unless you graduated with a 4.0 from Harvard or MIT, the person looking at your resume doesn’t give two shits about where you went to school, your GPA, or the courses you took while you were there.
The only things they care about are the skill set you bring to the table and the experience you have. If you had some project while you were in school that is relevant, just mention the project in a relevant sills and experience section. There is no need to even mention the school unless you are writing an in depth description, like for example on a computer science resume. But that is the exception, not the rule as those can and are encouraged to be multiple pages. The only thing you are trying to get across is that you fill the requirements, and you want to get that across as quickly and simply as possible. The person looking at you has a whole stack of identical candidates, and if you don’t convince them quickly you go to the burn pile.
I know it sounds intense, but it’s really not. Just reflect on the position you are applying for and think to yourself, “what should they know about me in order to give me an interview”, then only include that information. And it doesn’t just apply to scholastic. If you have been working as an assistant account manager for three years, are applying for an account management position somewhere else, and have that you were a lifeguard when you were fifteen on your resume, you are making the same mistake. Unless you saved two children from a shark which demonstrates your ability to handle yourself in high pressure situations,who cares if you were a lifeguard.
You get my point. Unless you have a connection you are just a name in a stack, and you want to put your best, most relevant foot forward. It can be hard to sum up everything about you, display it on a piece of paper that someone will look at for six seconds, and convince them you’re worth it. But you don’t really have to convince them your the right man for the job. You just have to convince them you may be, they just have to notice you. Its only purpose is to get you an interview, so just think about what great things you bring to the table and then focus on the essentials.