In Resume, Mention Personal Accomplishments Only If Relevant to Targeted Job

Beverly writes:
Is it OK to list personal life accomplishments on a resume as well as professional? I was never one to “brag” about anything I’ve accomplished so it’s always hard for me to put the right words or phrases on my resume to sell myself. I have been unemployed for three years. I was in the building trade. I am trying to see if I can fix up my resume to get noticed. I was just thinking I have had a lot of struggles in my life starting from the age of 3 and maybe I could work that into my resume to show that I can overcome many challenges and still thrive. What do you think?

The Career Doctor responds:
The key to deciding on any resume content is: Is this relevant to the kind of job I’m seeking? I think what you’re describing probably doesn’t belong on a resume but it’s possible you could use it in a cover letter and definitely in an interview. Still it’s hard to make blanket statements without seeing your resume and without knowing the wording you might use to describe overcoming challenges. It could work but I think it’s risky.
However it’s possible you have not mined as many accomplishments from your professional life as you can. Check out our Accomplishments Worksheet to see if might help you brainstorm more achievements outcomes and results.
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