Assuming your goal is increasing the likelihood of your resume making it to the top of the pile, setting an interview, and obtaining the job offer, which “extraneous” information has been shown from study data to make a positive difference when included on your resume? Which is better left off?

People commonly ask about whether to include on resumes additional information about their interests, background, and affinities. For example, should a resume include …

As the conflicting answers to these questions show, folk wisdom, “best practices,” your brother-in-law’s advice, and the like go both directions, generally along lines of

  • For: Including these details conveys who you are with more depth and may help you to “stand out” against the crowd of other applicants.
  • Against: Leave off details that are irrelevant to the job or that may even subject you to conscious or unconscious bias.

It’s a complex question; every industry and culture is different. People are involved, so subjectivity is almost certainly at work. There can be no universal recipe for the “proper” way to write a resume.

Then again, people are people. It is reasonable to think that at least a few anecdotes and nuggets of truthiness concerning what to do and what not to do have some sort of non-anecdotal confirmation. For example, to go along with the suggestions above, we have

The popular press and academic researchers have looked at various facets of this question. Blogger Paul Butler borrowed a technique from analytics to conduct A/B tests in order to make empirical conclusions about how readers responded to the content of his resume.

There are two main things I learned from this experiment. First, I’m going to keep social network links off of my résumé. Although they increased the download rate, they decreased visits to my blog. Since the latter is my priority, I’m not going to start adding social networks to my résumé.

Second, the short résumé did better in every way. However, the improvement in blog views was not statistically significant. For now, I’m keeping my online résumé at two pages, but I will use the one-page version in print.

There are of course other variables, several noted above. So many confident assertions on both sides of the question may create a confusing situation for job seekers.

What scientific conclusions inform what to include and what to leave off resumes?

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Based on sound studies with good methodology, which additional information on a candidate’s resume will increase and decrease the likelihood of landing an interview?

With all due respect I think you are missing the point here.

There is no "absolute recipe" for writing a Resume. Each resume should be tailored to better fit the job you are applying, and what information you include or leave out depends on that and many other things (like the type of Industry, your past experience, your skills, the job offer, etc.).

Also, the scientific study you propose will surely be no simple task. You can try Google-ing for papers of the subject, but I doubt there is a study that has found the universal recipe/algorithm to write the perfect Resume. Such study would have to consider many variables to find meaningful correlation between elements in a resume and all jobs and industries available.

  • 1
    @GregBacon The question itself is clearly opinion based and off topic for this site, I doubt it is really answerable without having to conduct such research before (I also doubt that someone will conduct that research just to answer this post). I provided an answer to the point in question, that is Tailoring a Resume to have better chances, and provided a realistic (you could also say "scientific" because of the several observations gathered in this site and my experience, by trial and error) answer that may be useful for the OP and any other user.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 20:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .