5 Tips for Writing Your Resume's 'Additional Information' Section

Published: May 02, 2016

 Education       Grad School       Interviewing       Resumes & Cover Letters       
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When applying to certain jobs, you'll often find it necessary to create an "Additional Information" section on your resume. This happens when you have information that you want to include on your resume that doesn't quite fit into your "Education" or "Work Experience" sections. This type of information might include volunteer work, professional memberships, special assignments, expertise outside traditional categories, hobbies, interests, and/or other related information. How to include this type of information can sometimes be challenging. And so here's some advice to help you determine what to include and how to include it.

1. Include Information Only If It Directly Supports Your Target Job.

In general, you should exclude interests, hobbies, and similar types of information unless they directly support the target position. Before including this type of information, 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. Then again, 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, use your discretion. If you believe the information supports your career goals and will position you for the target position, then by all means include it on your resume.

2. Exclude Potentially Controversial Information.

When including additional information, take care to avoid including anything that can potentially work against you, such as noting religious affiliations or any other potentially controversial information. While your rights are protected, certain information can potentially create a bias, even if not done consciously. 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, focus on the outcomes, rather than the specific organization. That said, 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 you have seen a complex community project from planning through implementation.

3. Customize Your Header.

You don't have to use "Additional Information" as your header. Instead, feel free to create a header that best meets your needs, even if it's 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, etc. Therefore, when reviewing your information, think about what types of information can be combined into a single heading, such as "Volunteer Activities & 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 your resume while not feeling out of place.

4. Summarize, Don't List.

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 your 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.

5. 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. In other words, do not include additional information because you think you have to. All information on your 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. There's no need to fill every last bit of white with type.

This post was adapted from the new The Vault Guide to Resumes and Job-Hunting Skills.

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