The workplace is not what it was five years ago. Neither is the job hunt. The most successful candidates are those who are ready and willing to adapt to a changing landscape. But it doesn’t matter how ready you are for the modern workplace if your resume ’s straight out of 1994.
And sometimes, it’s the most minute details that make all the difference. Does your resume speak to the modern hiring manager? Or does it need a serious makeover? Your resume might be passé if …
1. You’ve forced it to fit onto one page.
You’ve reduced your font size to eight, eliminated margins altogether and left out key information about yourself, all to conform to that age-old “one page résumé” rule. Big mistake. After all, would a recent college grad really need the same amount of resume real estate as someone who’s been in the workforce for twenty years? Of course not.
Don’t get me wrong: Your resume should be concise. Recruiters are busy people—they don’t have time or the patience for long-winded career chronologies. But if your experience warrants two pages, by all means, don’t limit yourself to one.
2. You list an objective.
Of course you’re looking to gain more experience in the field/sector/type of company to which you’re applying. Your interest in the job implies that. Do you really need to say it at the very top of your resume? At this point in the selection process, hiring managers are far more interested in what you can do for them than what they can do for you.
If you want to explain why you’re applying for the job, say so in your cover letter. Resume space is far too valuable to waste on information that is both redundant and inconsequential.
3. You write “References available upon request” at the bottom.
Once again, a waste of valuable space. Do you really need to say so? The hiring manager can only assume that if they ask you for references, you’ll provide them. What, are you going to say “no?”
Instead, prepare a list of references with contact details and your relationship to each. Hold onto it until you’re further along in the selection process—you don’t want to annoy your referees with repeated contact by employers who are less than serious about you. Most respectable employers wouldn’t bother to contact a reference until they are fully ready to make you an offer.
4. You attach it to your email as a Word document.
While you’re unlikely to be penalized for emailing a Word document, there’s a lot to be said for converting it to a PDF before sending.
A PDF document just looks neater. And even if you’ve gone crazy with the formatting, it will show up correctly on the hiring manager’s computer no matter what their settings, Word version, or font inventory. Besides, do you really want those squiggly red lines showing up under your former company’s name?
Stick to PDF. It’s the only surefire way to display your resume exactly as you intended it.
5. You list every job you’ve ever had in chronological order.
In the olden days, the person with the most experience got the job. Nowadays, the person who’s most talented, has the most relevant skill set, and has proven to be most valuable to his or her former employers gets the job.
If you want to be that person, make sure your resume says so. Don’t list jobs that are irrelevant to the one you’re applying for just to fill up space. Instead, expand on the jobs that are relevant. Focus on measurable achievements in each role as opposed to a play-by-play of your daily responsibilities.