Follow these resume tips to keep your outdated resume from landing you in the rejection pile faster than you can say “hire me!”
If you haven’t sought a new employment opportunity for five, 10, 15, or even 20 years, you may be unsure of where to start when creating a resume for today’s marketplace. Has that much changed since you last applied for a new position in 1995 — or even 2005? The answer is yes! Here are some key resume tips you’ll want to implement when updating your outdated resume to ensure your application sees the light of day.
Resume Tip #1 – Lose the objective.
Gone are the days of stating why you want to boost your skills, share your talents, and optimize your career path. The truth is, your objective is clear. If you are sending out your modern resume, your objective is to land an interview. An objective statement serves no purpose and should be eliminated from today’s resumes. Rather than wasting this prime real estate at the top of the resume, be sure to capitalize on it with other valuable information.
Resume Tip #2 – Use a professional summary.
Instead of an objective, utilize that space in your modern resume to provide a high-level overview of your career thus far. This allows you to pinpoint those qualifications and skills that make you different than other candidates, along with discussing a bit of your employment history. This is also a great place to add keywords that are used in job advertisements.
Resume Tip #3 – Identify keywords and use them.
Speaking of keywords, what are they? These are the words that are repeated in a job listing, specifying the technical knowledge, soft skills, and abilities required to be successful in the position. Many companies utilize an applicant tracking software (ATS) system to filter through incoming resumes. If you fail to incorporate these words into your document, your modern resume may be out of contention before an HR professional ever reads it.
Resume Tip #4 – Don’t date your education.
Unless you graduated from college within the past year, there is no reason to include your graduation date on your resume. A recent college graduate may choose to do so (and even place Education prior to Professional History) simply because he or she doesn’t have any relevant professional experience at this point. However, for the rest of us, dating your education can cause age discrimination. Why open yourself to that possibility?
Resume Tip #5 – There is no need to include all jobs.
The most frequent question I receive from clients is how far back to go on their resume. Should they include that first job from 1985? The answer is no. Typically, resume writers will recommend only including the relevant past positions within the last 15 years of employment.
If you really have trouble killing some of your career darlings, you can include your older job positions in a career note at the end of your professional history — just be sure to omit any dates.
Resume Tip #6 – It’s okay to split your job experiences.
Let’s say you’ve been in sales and marketing for awhile, but you also have IT experience. In this case, it is perfectly acceptable to have two sections of professional history. In fact, this works very well if you’re specifically targeting only one of those areas. For example, if you want to focus on sales and marketing in your next role, then your sales and marketing experience belongs at the top of your modern resume’s work history section. If you want to pursue a career in IT, then that information should be presented first in this section. This allows you to adjust the resume as needed for future opportunities.
Resume Tip #7 – Remove personal information.
Many years ago, resumes potentially contained personal information such as marital status, number of children, and hobbies. Today, that type of information could become HR’s worst nightmare. There is no place for personal information on today’s modern resumes. Keep it professional at all times.
When it comes to updating your outdated resume, the bottom line is this: If you are ready to start your job search in the current marketplace, be sure that you are complying with all of the unwritten rules of modern resumes.
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