March 14, 2024

I was chatting with a jobseeker a few days ago who was concerned about his resume.  He thought he might be inadvertently disclosing too much confidential information, so he asked me where we draw the line on what to reveal on a resume.

I can’t draw a line, as there are just too many variables. It really comes down to personal level of comfort and organizational guidelines.  Some individuals aren’t comfortable putting too much personal information on a resume, and some organizations have strict rules about company secrets spelled out in employment contracts or employee manuals.

However, here are a few guidelines I can offer, along with a disclaimer that these are my own opinions, not legal advice, so I’m trying to keep these guidelines fairly broad.

Personal information, including address and links to social media, is up to your own level of comfort. However, both a phone number and e-mail address are an absolute must.  Otherwise the recruiter will not be able to reach you!  This may seem like common sense, but about 2% of resumes I receive do not include a phone number.  Most jobseekers include their complete home address, but if this makes you uncomfortable, you should at least include your city.  Location is often used as one way of filtering candidates, so it’s important to include this detail.

As for company information (your employers), you should include company names, and I would suggest including a little blurb about the company and what they do.  If you’re nervous about disclosing the name of your employer, it may be acceptable to keep the name of your current employer confidential, but you should include the industry and a few relevant details about the company.

Disclosing financial information about the company would likely be crossing a line. Likewise including budgets and specific KPI targets on a resume could be confidential, so if you do include this, just be careful and use your best judgement. It’s safer to show % improvements than $ savings on a resume if you’re being extra cautious.

If you’re in sales or account management, client names should be excluded from the resume.  However, you should mention the industries in which you operate, and providing broad hints about your customer base is generally acceptable.

Software you use on the job should be included on the resume, with a breakdown of when and where you used that software.  This information helps recruiters to determine your level of competency with those systems – you’re probably not as proficient with software you worked with briefly 15 years ago, as one you’ve been using every day for the last 10 years.

Confidential information is a pretty complex topic, but hopefully this gives you a few ideas of what to consider when it comes to including confidential information on a resume.

What are your thoughts on this?  Did I miss anything really important?  I probably did!  Please let me know in the comments.

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