Does Your Resume Show Your Age?

resumeOnce 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.

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Here are six signs your resume is due for a makeover:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

Filed under: Resume Tips, Resumes
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani


Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

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Susan Mintzer

Re: couldn't care less, could care less...
does it have anything to do with two negatives in one sentence?
English Teachers? Help.

May 31 2010 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NiCE article. I welcome all advice, opinions, or new found facts regarding resume writing in todays competitive job market. I think we should ALL REMEMBER we are ALL intitled to our own opinions and preferences. Being this is the case, both job seekers and employers will all feel differently about how a resume should look or not (which diversity is good...without bad we wouldn't know good); just take notice item #1 of this article is likely #1 for a reason and says it all....

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.

LOOKS LIKE MANY PRIOR COMMENTATERS FORGOT THIS FIRST SIGN, & comment like their a little angry at the world!?!

March 18 2010 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

AOl seems to want to have writers that are far left and haters for sure . It seems they only write about the bad that they do not like . Has anyone seen Aol write a bad artical about the mwssiah Obama. This girl payed for her crimes and thats more than the men in baseball. She deserves a life too

March 11 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ms. Safani, we are attracted to an article/story by it's title or subject. 'Does Your Resume Show YOUR AGE?' implies that one may be showing their age by the way they write and format a resume. In your article it's obvious you are giving helpful information on using current format that will enhance a resume. However, A title: 'Does Your Resume Show It's Age?' pinpoint, bad writing as apposed to one's age. This is my opinion.

March 11 2010 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's really amusing about this article is that the author fails to mention the most common piece of advice I've heard about how not to come across as a dinosaur in your résumé: Get rid of your old AOL e-mail address! It's a dead giveaway that you got your first e-mail account in the '80s and haven't done anything new with computer technology since. (Full disclosure: As a 56-year-old neo-Luddite, I'm one of the offenders.) Gee, I wonder why the author left out that bit...

March 11 2010 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ole Guy

From one oldster to another...Good luck!

March 11 2010 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that although some of these points are ...interesting...
I have and continue to look at more resumes than our expert has ever seen. I'm certain. Here's mine views (for two cents of Internet coinage).
*Have another person that you know who is a professional LOOK at your resume before you send it in. You might get some great feedback, or you can pass. No one is always right or wrong or perfect.
*DO NOT go crazy with Fonts! Use something easy to read, and yes, Courier is fine. Personally I like sans-serif fonts like Arial, Limerick, etc. I repeat use something easy to read.
*DO tell me why you want to work for the company and what you bring to me. Me, not just a vague mess. "A job that let's me..." Bleargh!
*Present the resume as you should be for a job. Clean and bright. Worst ever: a person took old record albums, pasted graphics together in a collage... When I asked him "why" the
"experts said be creative." Not so much really.
*References: couldn't disagree more. In fact, I ask in the interview for ONE person that WOULDN'T give them a good reference and why. Quite a stunner for most people. But, if you have someone that can speak to your strengths that are applicable to me, yes, please. In fact, this is old school, attach a letter to the resume. It's old school, but I like it. Don't? Don't.

So, that's plenty. AOL's not paying me, but heck, it's my day off. So, take it for what it is, an opinion. But, consider.
Good luck job's tough, but keep trying.

March 11 2010 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ole Guy

If you place two subject matter "experts" side by side and ask them the same question, what will you get? Answer: Two entirely different answers.

The "rules" seem to vary, if not completely change, from "expert" to "expert", and while these make a lot of sense, in the end, they are all merely suggestions; not cookbook to what formats work and which ones don't, it's all a crap shoot. These articles accomplish two things: 1) they provide fodder for some "expert" to add publications to his/her resume, 2) they provide a source of guilt for unsuccessful job seekers.

While it's quite easy for those, who have income sources, to suggest to others how to go about the "right ways" of doing things, I would offer that not one of these "how to" articles is authored by one who, through trial by fire, has been there.

Good luck to all in your endeavours.

March 11 2010 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A resume should tell the prospective employer what you've done and how well you've done it, thereby showing them what you can do for them if hired. If the resume is concise, clear, factual, readable, and avoids the cliches of "My objective is...", "can multi-task", and "am organized", it will get noticed.

March 11 2010 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Once again the point is missed. The "experts" who now are telling job seekers that they need to fold their resume's length wise are the smae one who told them that left jsutified was the layout of choice. All that I am thinking is that perhaps reading the resume's insteading of judging them for artisic quality would get them the best canididates for the job.

March 11 2010 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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