Your résumé is a marketing document – not your autobiography or a list of job responsibilities.

You know you need a résumé in order to get a job. But have you taken the time to step back from the résumé-writing process to ask yourself what a résumé is and isn’t?

Fundamentally, it is important to recognize that your résumé is your marketing document. Its purpose is to garner enough interest in you to get an employer to think: “This person may well have the capacity to do the work associated with the job that needs to be filled.” And once an employer has reviewed your résumé and initiated contact with you for a phone or in-person interview, it has successfully fulfilled its purpose.

When you speak with recruiters or others who regularly review résumés, you’ll learn that the vast majority of people have ill-conceived notions of what makes a résumé compelling.

To help you evaluate your résumé in terms of today’s best practices, bear in mind all the things that a résumé is not:

1. Your résumé is not your autobiography. It is not the story of your whole life. It is a business document that should not include a picture of yourself or personal information about your marital status, children, sexual identity or age. Your political leanings and religious beliefs or affiliations should only be included if they are relevant to the particular job for which you seek consideration.

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