Some situations require that additional information be included when an obvious spot isn’t clear. This can include information such as volunteer work, professional memberships, special assignments, expertise that may fall outside traditional categories, and in some cases, hobbies or related information. How to include this type of information can sometimes present a challenge.
When considering how to include this information, keep a few issues in mind. For example, if only a line or two of information is needed, creating a completely new header can make the resume appear unbalanced. This can also draw attention to a small amount of information, when you want the reader to first focus on other points in the resume. Therefore, when reviewing your information, think about what types can be combined into a single heading, such as Volunteer & Memberships. This type of combination can work particularly well if you have both “traditional” volunteer experience and have also served on committees within a professional organization. This creates a natural bridge between the two areas that can then be presented in a cohesive section of the resume while not feeling out of place.
Use an Applicable Header
Feel free to create a header that best meets your needs, even if it is not something you might “normally” see on a resume. Depending on your area of expertise, you may have specialties or information that requires a specific type of header, such as a list of publications, speaking engagements, leadership positions that fall outside the traditional work environment, memberships, and so forth. If the information supports your career goals and positions you for the target position, include it on the resume. When including this type of information, do take care to avoid including information that can potentially work against you, such as noting religious affiliations or information, or any other potentially controversial information. While your rights are protected, certain information can potentially create a bias, even if not done so consciously on the part of the reader. Taking preventative measures can protect against this. To do so, present the required information, while leaving out affiliations. Volunteering for a church can be noted without listing the denomination, for example, as can volunteer work for other types of organizations. Here again, focus on the outcomes, rather than the specific organization.
In contrast, some organizations are large and well known, and in these cases, it can help to include the name, as this can work to your advantage. Earning an Eagle Scout honor, for example, shows that the candidate has seen a complex community project from planning through implementation. Similarly, if you have service experience, this is helpful to include, whether it is your career background or if you are in the reserves. If your service was some time ago, and you have a solid career history to present first, consider including a separate section in which to provide an overview of your previous service.
Depending on the amount of extra information, it may help to summarize some of the main points. For example, if you have a lengthy list of speaking engagements, listing all of them will likely use too much space on the resume (with the exception of a medical or educational CV). Instead, a summary can provide the necessary information, such as noting the total number of engagements over a specified timeframe. A bullet list could be included afterward to highlight a select few of the most impressive presentations.
Hobbies and similar types of information are generally left off, unless they directly support the target position. Before including this type of information, then, consider if it has some type of relationship to the target position, or if it shows a quality or skill that is related to your job target. Health-related hobbies, such as running, might be helpful if the target position is in healthcare or is sports related. However, it is not as useful in showing skills related to finance. However, awards and other recognitions related to a variety of hobbies or interests might help show drive and determination, which are useful skills in a number of positions. Here again, use your discretion.
Avoid Filler for Filler’s Sake
If you come to the end of your resume and have a lot of white space left, avoid the temptation to include unrelated information simply to fill the space. All information on the resume should directly support your job-target goals and work for you. Unnecessary information may inadvertently work against you. Making adjustments to the formatting and tightening the phrasing can typically be the fix to avoid situations where only a little information spills onto a second or third page. In general, each page should have plenty of white space and cover at least half the page.