Ask a Coach

Q: Can I include personal information about myself, my family, or my interests in my resume?

A: You should never include personal information about yourself in your resume, outside information such as name, address, phone number and email address. The resume reviewer strictly wants to know your job-related information, not any personal information about things you like to do in your free time or any information about your family. This information is distracting and is never needed to help make decisions regarding hiring. In fact, although a hiring authority should not consider this information when making their decisions, there's a chance that sharing information about your family or personal interests might make you a less desirable candidate if the authority wonders whether you'll be able to commit to the demands of the position. Leave the possibility that this information is used in the hiring decision off the table and omit this information when you're writing your resume. If you're not sure, leave it out.

Websites for Career Exploration

It can be overwhelming when you're trying to find out more about possible career options and opportunities, especially when you're not quite sure where to start looking. These reliable websites can help jumpstart career exploration.

If you're looking for Federal positions, start with USAJobs.gov, the clearinghouse for Federal jobs. The Help Center of USAJobs offers many avenues for career exploration. You can also visit the website for each individual Federal agency to find out what kinds of positions are available within each agency and what kind of work might be required for those positions. USA.gov has a listing of all Federal agencies.

If you're looking for both Federal and private sector positions, there are various well-regarded and trustworthy websites you can turn to for career exploration. Here are a few of the ones with the most reliable and up-to-date information:

O*Net OnLine

O*Net is a website developed by the US Department of Labor to help job seekers browse occupations and explore various careers. You can search for careers by key words, industry, and even by career interests, or you can browse to see if anything sounds interesting. You can look for careers that have bright outlooks for hiring. There are also opportunities to find out about apprenticeships in various industries.

You can find videos about various careers that cover information about the type of career and what skills and background are needed. You can even search for careers that utilize specific mechanical tools or certain computer technology you have experience with. They also have options for finding careers related to your current career or position. If you're a Veteran, visit "My Next Move for Veterans," which allows you to see how your military skills or occupational specialty translates to civilian positions.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

This Federal website contains the most up-to-date employment numbers and occupational employment statistics by career area. You can go more specific than that, however; you can find national estimates for positions, industry profiles, and even profiles of employment outlooks for certain positions based upon geographic location. You can even find hourly and annual wage estimates. This website can help you determine whether an industry is on the rise in your area or whether the education, training and skills of a position match your background.

Career OneStop

Here you can explore careers, look for training opportunities, and find information about open positions. You can take online self-assessments, learn about careers and compare occupations, plan out your career, and find out about industry information to see if a career or industry is right for you.

Most importantly, it's the place to find where your local American Job Center is located. These job centers, sponsored by the Department of Labor, are located all across the country in every state. At these Centers you can meet with a career counselor, receive job training, look for positions and have access to state job banks. The Centers allow you to use phones and the Internet to conduct job searches and interviews. There are tools available to help you write a resume. They offer job seeker workshops. You can even find out how to apply for unemployment insurance in your state. Best of all, these Centers are completely free.

Engaging in career exploration can be as easy as a few clicks on the Internet. Good luck!