Once a year I go through my closet and get rid of the clothing that no longer fits me or is out of style. It's not an easy thing to do because I become attached to certain favorites and old reliables, but I know they're no longer relevant to the way I want to look so I let go and give them away.
Updating your resumé often requires the same "letting go" process. It can be difficult to delete even the oldest, most entry level job from your resume. After all, it's part of your story, a brick in the road that got you where you are today. But too much information makes it harder for hiring managers to focus in on the experience they're interested in, and like a skirt or necktie from a bygone era, obsolete job histories can make you look unnecessarily dated.
Here are six signs your resume is due for a makeover:
- Your resume leads with an objective. These openers communicate what you are looking for, but a hiring manager wants to know what's in it for him. Do you have the skills and experience to help solve the company's business problems? Replace your "objective" with a summary outlining your big picture accomplishments and the value you can bring to an employer.
- Your contact information includes your fax number. Nothing screams the 80s like a fax number. Chances are no employer will need to contact you by fax. Use that space to include the URL for your LinkedIn page or blog.
- Your dates of employment are all left justified. Having dates of employment to the left made sense in the days of the typewriter, when tabs were the only way to indent content. With Microsoft Word, text is much more malleable and you can make better use of your page space. Place employment dates after the company name save room for more important content, like all your accomplishments.
- The font on your resume is Courier 10. Courier 10 was all there was when all documents were created on typewriters. Now we have scores of choices. Pick something else.
- Your resume contains several personal attributes to describe you. If you are using adjectives such as loyal, detail-oriented, good communicator, or hard-working to describe yourself, please stop. These personal attributes are meaningless without tangible proof of them throughout your resume. The new rule is, don't tell me; show me. To do otherwise will suggest that you put your resume together during Clinton's first administration.
- Your resume states that references are available upon request. Well, who needs them? Hiring managers routinely check out candidates via Internet searches before they call them in for an interview. So your references are available online whether you want them to be or not. Ditch the statement about references and make sure your name "Googles" well.
There are fashion trends and there are also resume writing trends. Be hip and stay on top of the latest styles to increase the likelihood of getting a second look from hiring managers.