Job searching is never easy, and while you’re focusing on tailoring your Resume and Cover Letter to each specific job posting, you might not be considering what personal information you should include in both documents. Personal information is anything that can be used to identify an individual, such as contact information (name, phone number, email and home address), sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity, academic and employment information, etc. While it’s standard to include things like academic, employment, and contact information in a Resume and Cover Letter, including too much personal information can not only be irrelevant to potential employers, but it can also open you up to discrimination.
In contrast, without enough personal information, employers might have difficulty contacting you or determining if you are the right candidate for the role.
While there are many different ways to write a Resume and Cover Letter, this post goes through some suggestions on what personal information you should include so you can make an informed decision on what’s right for you and the job you are applying for.
Include: Your Name and Contact Information
When you apply for a job, you’ll want to make it easy for the employer to contact you, so it’s expected that you include basic contact information like your name, phone number, and email address.
As a side note, it’s generally not recommended to include more information that could potentially open you up for discrimination, such as your picture.
For instance, you might want to add a photo of yourself on your resume, but this could lead to discrimination by recruiters and hiring managers who might have prejudices regarding age, ethnicity, or gender.
Include: Your Location
While you can include your home address, it might not be necessary since employers typically prefer to contact a candidate via email or phone, and including your home address is just extra information that an employer likely wouldn’t need or use until after you are hired. Instead, you could simply list the city you live in (typically the same city as the job posting, but not always) to let the employer know where you are located. This is especially important if the job posting indicates that the company is hiring local candidates only.
Generally, if you are willing to relocate for a position, or if you are planning to move to the area where the position is anyway, the appropriate place to indicate that information is in your Cover Letter.
Since the majority of job postings are online and most candidates are applying for them online, it makes sense for companies to receive some applications from candidates outside their local area. For this reason, companies will sometimes mention they are only accepting applications from local candidates.
Although, it’s just as likely companies might also consider remote candidates and will accept applications from essentially anywhere.
When a job posting isn’t clear on whether they’re hiring local or remote candidates, you may choose not to reveal your exact location on your Resume in order to avoid being excluded for consideration. However, if you want to include your location or any related information (like if you are planning to move to the where the position is located), the best place to do so is in your Cover Letter. Your Cover Letter is the ideal place to explain how and why you’d be a good fit for the company you’re applying for.
Usually a job posting will include basic information about when the employer expects you to be available, such as Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a full-time position. These days, however, many workplaces offer varied work options to their employees, like flex time, the ability to work from home, or the option to work a non-traditional schedule (like evenings or weekend hours instead of daytime hours). In addition, most part-time jobs offer at least some flexibility in which the employee can choose their hours.
Usually, the job posting will indicate if specific hours are required or if the employee would be able to adjust their schedule in some way. Regardless, if you have specific requirements for when you will be available for work, be sure to indicate those requirements clearly in your Cover Letter.
Deciding What Personal Information to Include in Your Resume and Cover Letter
When you’re applying for jobs, it might be tempting to include as much information about yourself as you can in order to prove that you are the best candidate for a position. However, it’s best to include only as much personal information as is needed for the position, and avoid including anything that could open you up for discrimination by a potential employer.