Your resume is your first chance to grab a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention. But you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons.
That happens more often than you might think. In the last month, Donna Svei of Los Angeles-based AvidCareerist says she has seen lots of things that make resumes look outdated: A rotary telephone icon next to an applicant’s phone number, an envelope or stamp icon next to the physical mailing address, and when it comes down to it, the physical mailing address itself. “It’s unlikely that a prospective employer is going to mail you anything,” she says. “It’s irrelevant.”
When your resume looks outdated, you raise concerns about your own professional expertise, Svei says. “Those aren’t good signals to send to prospective employers.”
Even if it’s been only a few years since you last looked for a job, there may be things on your C.V. that you might as well have written on a typewriter. Avoid these five things that can make your resume look outdated.
It’s an epic
Of course you want to include as much relevant information as possible, but the key idea here is “relevant.”
Rambling on and on about every job you’ve ever had, going back to lifeguard during summer vacation in high school, is only going to make it harder for the recruiter to find the information about how you doubled sales every quarter for a year at a software startup.
In most cases, you want to “limit your resume to one page and use sharp keywords that grab a recruiter’s attention,” says Alexa Merschel, U.S. Campus Recruiting Leader at PwC.
It lists an objective
This darling of earlier resume times is now seen as a has-been, experts say. Your objective, current thinking goes, is to get the job you’re applying for—and by applying, you’re stating that objective. And including an objective section on your resume screams desperation, says Brenda Collard-Mills, owner of Robust Resumes and Resources in Wasaga Beach, Ontario.
Today, your resume should be all about marketing yourself, Collard-Mills says.
Focus on a personal statement that brands your experience, talents, accomplishments and value you can bring to a future employer, maybe something like ‘Persistent and aggressive president's club sales hunter’ or an ‘Orchestrator of awesome events and social media campaigns.’ This makes it easier for hirers to see how you might fit in the organization.
It brags about the basics
If you highlight skills and accomplishments that are now considered givens, it may signal to hirers that you haven’t made an effort to learn new things.
For example, listing Microsoft Office may imply that you’re not familiar with Google Docs, says Steve Gibson, director of JotForm, where he’s in charge of staffing at the San Francisco office. Another example might be listing the number of words you type per minute — that’s necessary only for professions where typing documents is literally all you do, he says.
It touts ‘References available upon request’
“This statement is a given and won't be found on any current resumes,” says Adrienne Tom at Calgary-based Career Impressions. If you’re applying for jobs, you should have references at the ready.
It lacks social profile links
In many fields, social media has become the go-to way for establishing expertise. And recruiters and hiring managers are definitely looking to see that you can play that game.
“For many types of job roles, I look up the social media presence of candidates,” says John Boese, founder of EliteHired.com in New York City. “If you don't have a website, LinkedIn or Twitter link in your resume, it tells me that you either don't know social media or don't know how to write a modern resume. Both of these are bad.”
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