Question: Should I include personal information on my resume?
Answer: I was at the Womenforhire.com career fair yesterday and was a little surprised at the number of people that had intentionally included personal information on their resume. To clarify, personal information is not contact information but rather information that is added to a resume about the job seekers personal life. Although it is common and even expected in many other countries, in the United States we keep our resumes focused on the job seekers professional skills and talents.
Now, there are exceptions to every rule and if there is a hobby, talent, or interest that can be related to or has relevance on the position you are applying for, than it might be valuable to include on your resume. Marital information and information regarding your children or any family members should not be included in your resume. Again, the exception might be to mention a personal sabbatical to fill in time gaps.
When I read the “Interests” area of resumes I often think of “…I enjoy long walks on the beach, a gentle rain in the spring and reading historical biographies…” This type of information can and should be saved for the interview; and only if specifically asked. Joking aside, sometimes this is tough because the job seeker’s interests are a big part of their life and feel it might be valuable to share these interests in hope that someone will read it and “connect” to his interests.
Best to keep your resume addressing the professional needs of the reader and what benefits and value you can bring professional to the company and leave the personal information for the interview or an after-hire water cooler conversation.