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Four things that make your resume look dated

Even if people keep their resume up to date with their latest jobs, they often plug that new information into an old format. Here's how to tell if your resume is dated and what to do about it.

Many people aren't great at keeping their resumes up to date. Even if they remember to add new accomplishments or jobs, they still just plug the new information into the old resume. Here's why your old resume may need tweaking and what you should keep in mind when you're doing that tweaking.

1. You still have an objective statement. Some people swear by the objective statement, and a broad, descriptive statement is good as an introduction. But what you don't want is the old "Seeking a position that utilizes my outstanding project management skills." I hate to break it to you, but hiring managers couldn't possibly care less about what you're looking for. The exercise is all about what you can do for the company you're applying to. Instead, use a profile that outlines what you've accomplished and in what ways you can bring value to the company. 2. Your resume looks like it was typed on a Smith-Corona. Remember back when left-alignment was the only formatting option you had? Now, apps like Microsoft Word let you do everything but make the words dance to music. I'm not suggesting you justify your margins or center-align everything (please don't do that!), but you can let go of the old Company name...tab...Position held...tab.....dates worked mentality. (While we're on the subject, I suggest you put things in order of their importance -- list your title first, add a comma, and then put the company name. If you want to add dates, you can do that and then right-align that portion.)

3. You consider yourself "hard working" or a "good communicator." Two problems with this: One, you're talking about yourself so you're a little subjective. How much weight do you think that will carry? Two, unless you have some way to prove this (for example, "I conducted all end-user training for the company" can replace "good communicator"), there's really no reason to even mention it. 4. You offer references upon request. Honestly, a savvy employer will have googled the heck out of you already, so there may be no need for references. Also, it's understood that if a reference is needed, the employer will ask for it and you'll provide it. Save that part of your resume real estate for something important.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

131 comments
abhishek.banchhor
abhishek.banchhor

Can someone please upload/provide/share an 2013 appealing Resume template? Thanks a million!

razasyedcse
razasyedcse

Completely agree with "PJR1976", internal PR is a must in any good repute firm. just resume is not enough.

Daughter Judy
Daughter Judy

I still have a summary on my resume. Since I have experience in different industries and have essentially changed careers, a summary that points to the kind of job I am looking for is appropriate. Yes, I've done some programming, QA, and classroom instruction, but my primary focus is on technical writing. All of my other experience makes me a good writer, but my summary focuses the reader's attention on the type of job I actually want. Beyond a clean (no errors) resume, you don't want a resume that makes you look too old. If you are 40+, you may not want to include every job you ever had! Remove any dates that may give away your age, such as dates you graduated from high school or college. I taught school for 8 years, but it is not on my resume. That experience is largely irrelevant, anyway. However, it came up in my most recent interview. I don't deny having taught school, I just do not want to be turned away before I have a chance to interview. I got the job! And no, I did not know anyone at the company before I sent them a resume directly, not through a headhunter.

rbillam
rbillam

Sorry viggenboy but this isn't a journalist view of life. I check google, facebook, linkedin and twitter for any applicants that get through to interview.

CrimeDog
CrimeDog

Pretty much nonsense - things you should already know. Resumes are marketing documents - you are selling yourself. The objective statement should be your 'elevator pitch'. In truth, the Objective Statement is entirely dependent on the job sector you are looking in - some expect it some do not. Know your audience. Smith-Corona syndrome - Granted, but again, job-sector dependent. Know your audience. Any HOW-TO-WRITE-YOUR-RESUME information emphasizes spelling (and proofreading). Not to do so is just lazy. One of my war stories involves the "shape and form" of resumes. I was give a 'head's up' by a friend in a company's HR that an entry-level IT job was opening up and I should get my resume in. Being a computer kind of guy, I had one prepared, printed it out and sent it in. Since I had a 'friend in the business' I was expecting some response - and got none. About ten days later I called my friend to check status. She asked if I had printed it on white paper or colored - "white" I answered. She said, "I am really sorry - we had so many requests that the HR Director ordered a clerk to throw away any resumes printed on white paper." So, there is no protection from lazy HR types. The good news is, the $9.00/hr entry-level job went to an electronic engineer with two technical Master's degrees - and I went on to become a computer forensic examiner, which I likely would not have done. There is a "one door closes and another opens" message in there, somewhere. Goggle searches - actually Facebook is more likely - are a fact of life. Used to be checking references (if done) was the accepted method - the drawback being no one ever provides a bad reference list. Google and other online searches are due diligence and HR is reasonable to use them - as a guideline, not a filter...back to lazy, again. The message to job seekers is to do that research FIRST, and do any damage control needed. That, by the way, does not include any of the "Reputation Repair" services that can be found - they are a sucker bet. IRT the "99.9%" factor - much of my work involves searching the Internet for information about people and based on my experiences, pretty much everyone leaves some kind of footprint in the Internet, although not necessarily the Web. (Don't make me explain the difference) So bottomline - my advice is: Don't be lazy - do your homework. Check your work. Know your audience - and what is expected for YOUR segment of the job market. Follow the 'rules'. Check your work. Get your resume reviewed - other eyes help. Do those searches that HR will do - fix any problems. Check your work. ...did I mention "Check your work."? Good hunting.

tarose.trevor
tarose.trevor

... doesn't that make them unworthy of employing you?

Not~SpamR
Not~SpamR

I remember being told by HR that I wasn't allowed to reject the candidates who filled in their form in blue ink and joined up writing despite the instructions clearly saying to use black ink and block capitals. My view was that if they can't follow basic instructions they are no use to me but apparently an inability to read and follow instructions isn't important in a field where being able to follow instructions is critical. I agree with the Chinese professor dmm99 mentioned above - if people don't take enough pride in their CV to get it right it's unlikely they'll take much pride in anything else they do. Sadly what I've found is that people who speak English as a foreign language usually appreciate being corrected while lazy native English speakers who only know one language and can't even get that right tend to just assume everyone can understand their peculiar mangling of the language and so that's good enough. Strangely they seem to be the ones quickest to complain about never being offered a good job. I really struggle to understand the attitude of Googling someone for job references. For all I managed to track down a guy I knew to his home address starting from nothing more than he lived in Canada somewhere, that was only possible because he had a very unusual name. If you Google my real name you'll get so many hits it's not funny and the first one that is anything to do with me is several pages down (yes, I tried it, to find out what potential clients might be reading about me, and the answer was nothing of any great consequence).

mail2ri
mail2ri

Though I had followed all such articles and advise from 'experts' on how to tailor my Resume, despite vast experience, I landed a job ONLY because I knew someone high-up in the company, when the 'interview' was just a formality and the interviewers couldn't care if I had written a few nursery rhymes in my Resume. So, I strongly believe that in these modern days, particularly recessionary times, who you know rather than what you know gets you the job. So, I suggest job-seekers just keep it simple and instead focus on networking, because that's what will get them ahead.

viggenboy
viggenboy

A "good communicator" or someone who is "hard working" then I think you would be pretty dumb NOT to say something about it.

Golfloon
Golfloon

Avoid gaps in your career history. If you took a career break say so, otherwise the recruiter can draw the wrong conclusion. In the UK photo's of yourself and date of birth will get your CV filed in the bin without review for fear of age or race discrimination. A huge list of technologies in the vain hope that the recruitment agencies word finder will match you up. Only list those that you are current and competent in or you look like a jack of all trades and master of none. A seven page resume detailing every job you had going back to your part time job in university waiting tables. Anything more than 10 years ago date and job title will do. Max 3 pages for a resume. If its that important stick it on your Linkedin profile and hyperlink your CV.

clifbean
clifbean

Seems like most people have LinkedIn references nowadays. I know I do. I have a link to my LinkedIn account near the top of my resume suggesting they follow the link to see my references ... in that way, they have the references to review along with my resume. Oh .. and my references are both managers and coworkers, not just friends.

allanmount
allanmount

so tempting to mis-spell it. But thanks for prompting me to google myself...there's more than one of me, aaaaarrrgh. Thought I was the only one in whole world. But there I am, on Linkedin. And you have reminded me to update my profile. Cheers, Toni

lenb
lenb

Would like to disagree about the "Objective" statement. I assisted a new Phd who had never really worked a day in her life and had skills in such an esoteric field that the Objective statement helped focus the reader on where the person could contribute. Of course, if your objective is to have a managerial position with a south-facing corner office, that's different. But if the goal is to help orient the reader quickly, it's a worthwhile way to start. I have lots of experience and mine starts with a "Profile" statement. thanks Len

bosmom
bosmom

Use the real estate to project your brand - put in the links to your linkedin profile, blog, etc.

lastminute.com
lastminute.com

I liked how this article was going (and I know it only stipulated four items in the title) but this is just the tip of the iceberg for things to do/not do with your resume if you want to stay up to speed with curent trends. BUT a piece of advice I was given that has held true for many years now is "don't forget, just as much as you want the job, the employer wants a suitable employee, therefore you both come from a position of strength" - stay true to yourself, don't be afraid to ask those questions that show you are interested in your development i.e. whats in it for you, and know that you can give a lot to each company that interviews you. This confidence will come across in the interview. Good luck!

famulla
famulla

Please do not tell me all you have achieved, tell me what you can do for me and my sinking ship then I hire or look for the job somewhere else. Please also use English, English I am British. I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

chalicemedia
chalicemedia

Saying "I won't lie for my boss, or to my customers." - Which indicates you went to college before they stopped teaching ethics.... B^)

jcollatz
jcollatz

Having none of those in my resume didn't help me other than having interviews. I was always the runner-up....

stone-cutter
stone-cutter

you kind of suggested that when (and more important how long) you worked in a position or for a company isn't important. As a hiring manager, if you don't give me month and year, I assume you worked one day in that position (before being terminated). Ends up looking like resume padding. Position, company, MM/YY to MM/YY with some detail about job duties. Other than that, I agree with what you said. Talk about what you have done, not what you want to do...I want you to do what I am posting for.

blitzwing76
blitzwing76

"hiring managers couldn???t possibly care less about what you???re looking for" Totally wrong. The should and do care. If your target position doesn't match to what the hiring company is needing, then the fit is bad and the hire won't last. The could result in thousands of dollars in lost productivity, training, and time.

csammann
csammann

1. A generic objective statement which suggests that the writer is unfocused/lazy, lacks perspective of the position/company, or is hoping that the recipient will be proactive and deduce what the candidate is marketing him/herself to will fail. I know of employers who will abandon any consideration of a resume which leads with an objective offering the meaningless and trite, "A challenging position..." An insightful and targeted objective will provide focus for the reader and will provide an implicit message that the resume narrative following is generated to support the objective. 2. A resume encumbered by amateurish formatting, stylized and random font shifts, and illogically placed categories demonstrates dysfunction and a disorganized candidate. Research the corporate website... acquire a sense of the company's existing motif and respond with a resume created with a font roughly paralleling the corporate style, IE conservative = times roman or similar; progressive = arial or similar. Don't permit the resume to become an experiment for your presumed word processing skills. Even if you're pursuing a graphics/media position which presumes some latitude in stylization, the resume may not be the place to demonstrate your "risk taking". Someone in the company has already made an investment in the company's presentation/motif - perhaps the person who will intercept your resume - and you may run a risk of being perceived as arrogant or presumptive if you ignore the culture/mores the company is currently exhibiting. 3. Don't be afraid to portray yourself as energized, driven and willing to invest yourself... but use describers/adjectives that offer some substance. Subjective self-describers will have little/no value for the employer. Give some heft to your describers with a brief summary providing objective/quantified integrals... "Excellent sales record - achieved 'First Place' for generating new accounts totaling $2M+ for 4 consecutive years". If you're going to use numbers, though, make sure the numbers that you choose will be interpreted positively by the new company and its particular platforms for measuring achievement. Numbers suggesting worthy accomplishment in one company may be perceived as average or mediocre in another company with different value scales. 4. Agreed. 5. Don't be absolutist in defining for yourself what will work in your unique resume. Give yourself some flexibility, but don't veer too far from what may be standards in your industry. However, don't use standard MS Word boilerplate resumes... too often, your resume may be overlooked if it appears as just another rendition of another Word template.

kmbrezina
kmbrezina

Reading this was enough for me to cancel my subscription.

kitekrazy
kitekrazy

It's rare for two companies to have the same procedures. In this age there's a lot of luck and who you know. If the job market was better I think some institutions would drop their strange strategies of find the right person. In some fields you have to take surveys as part of the application process.

ScottyCat
ScottyCat

You will be surprised how many people are on linkedin, facebook and other social media. Spelling and grammar are very important. I have seen many resumes that have 'excellent communication skill' and with that phrase, I know that they are not. For those who have not spotted it yet, 'skill' should be plural. Take note viggenboy, Google should have a 'd' to make it past tense.

Marc Jellinek
Marc Jellinek

Let's face it, almost no one reasons a resume until it gets in front of a hiring manager. HR is surfing resumes from the major job boards or using systems like Taleo. They do keywork searches to get the first cut. If you want to get past HR, make sure your resume is parseable. If you confuse the parsing engines HR will never see your resume.

John_LI_IT_Guy
John_LI_IT_Guy

Putting aside all this new age resume non-sense. If you don't list the objective of the position you are applying for how are they supposed to know which position you are applying for? This is especially true if the hiring organization has a number of open IT positions they are looking to fill.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I mean I want to get the depth of my experience in, no dates = breadth, and there I am with masses of skills and look like some sort of dilettante. Take the skills out, they makes me less appealing for the jobs I am most suited for and not incidentally the ones that remunerate me well. Only put my current skills in, now I look like a junior, on paper, anyway. So Okay I swap dates for number of years. As I'm employed because I'm "multi-skilled" they add up to 140, so now I'm an idiot and a liar, or so old even a screaming liberal judge would have a problem upholding my age discrimination suit. :) So I have a different approach. If the length, depth and breadth of my experience is a problem, how old I am is totally irrelevant. I was never going to be offered the role anyway. I would never expect to be offered the role. I didn't even want the role. So the dates stay, stops people wasting my time, and to be fair wasting theirs.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

apparently.... Think it was worded that way for an uproar game play, and generate some traffic on the discussion. Their needs are much more of a concern to them, which is fair, after all ours are to us. Unfortunately there's a very prevalent mindset that our needs should matter much less to us than theirs. When they realise that isn't the case they get upset. As though their failure to convince us, or create an environment where this must be true, is in fact us not playing the game. That sort of hypocrisy is endemic, because when we put our needs first and get into a position where they have to be addressed, we are not only playing their game, we are winning...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Ability to follow instructions is definitely not an overriding concern for useful IT people. If you want robots, you get one designed and programmed... Ability to realise that instructions they've been given are inapplicable is way more important. Getting your cv/resume right beyond the "basics", is nigh on impossible now, due to employers making heavy use of recruiters and them using job boards. Leaving aside the often laughable quality of the job requirements themselves, the cv/resume you post is designed to be applicable to a range of opportunites. I narrow it down to appeal to what I think you want, everybody else bins it because I used a blue font and SHOUTED at them. :) You see I aren't applying for the role you are advertising, I'm trying to get noticed by a recruiter, many of whom seem to have no idea what your requirements mean anyway... You wanted an abundance of candidates so you could deflate the market value of the skill and get it cheaper. You got that and it's consequences. People who can't read and people who can't see any value in following your anal retentive instructions to the letter... Googling a candidate,I will give you though, that's the HR equivalent of designing a people database and using surname as the key.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You can winkle out all the people who claim to be lazy and crap at communicating, saves a lot of time that...

gechurch
gechurch

I find it really interesting that you have a rule to bin resumes that include photos/DOB. You now actually are discriminating against people (that include a photo) because of your attempts not to be seen to discriminate against them (based on age). This is real modern world stuff - so worried about being seen to do the right thing that good judgement goes out the door. Perhaps you should suggest your company reviews this policy.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Huge list of technologies to get noticed by a recruiter. What else are we supposed to do? Most employers will only deal with us through a recruiter. They word search. It's far from a vain hope. If you don't do it, you won't get a hit from the recruiter, therefore you'd never have the chance to bin us for being multi skilled. Besides those lists are your own fault. Leaving aside buzzword bingo job descriptions, salary ranges that cover novice to Silicon god for one role. Hirers don't seem to appreciate the difference between skill and tool. I'm a developer, you pick a language and an environment I can do it. Okay I might be a bit rusty, it might even be completely new to me, but when you are talking about someone with ten years + in the job, that will be trivial compared to learning the environment you want me to work in. Current tools list is C#, Delphi, XML, SQL and Python. Current skill is development with a lot of tools at the same time.... So that "skills" list is staying. The fact that you don't understand what it means, is an irrelevance, those with more desirable opportunities have, do and will....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

are killing the value of them. What they've done is turn the concept into friends. I'm getting X has endorsed you skill in Y do you want to endorse theirs in Z on a regular basis now. :( I'm not doing it willy nilly but if number of endorsements becomes a factor, my onky choices are to join in with this stupidity, or kill my account. It's a poo sandwich whichever way you look at it.

gechurch
gechurch

I don't know that it has to be one page, but I certainly agree with the principal of brevity and only including the most relevent information. I still remember one resume that came across my desk a couple of years ago (I wasn't the person doing the hiring, I just happened to see it). It was someone fresh out of school with little or no previous employment and it was about 8 pages long. In it I (no lie) learnt his dogs name, and why he is living with his grandmother. I actually read the whole thing (in amazement!). Sadly he didn't make it to the interview stage... no idea why.

sboverie
sboverie

The big problem with putting in dates is that it can work against you if you are an older worker. I put dates on the last 2 jobs I have and leave dates off for previous jobs. I also leave dates off of education, unless it is recent. It is more important to show what you can do to benefit the prospective employer. What you want to show is that you can bring in at least 3 times return to the company for what you expect to be paid. If you only bring in enough to pay for your salary then you are too expensive or too lazy.

gechurch
gechurch

Certainly the company should be looking for someone that will be a good fit and will stay long-term. Will an objective statement tell you this? Probably not. All the objective statements I've read have been so generic and cliche as to be completely meaningless. And worse, they are generally rubbish anyway. If I'm really just looking for a 6-month gig until the job market picks up again and I can find a job I really want to do, am I going to put an objective saying "Find a good paying job that doesn't require too much of me"? Of course not. I know of people that were in exactly this situation and what did their objective state? "Challenging position", "build a long-term relationship with the company" etc.

gechurch
gechurch

+1 to JamesRL - exactly. To John - perhaps you are confused. The objective the author is talking about is a generic paragraph at the top of the resume saying "Career Objective: To have a fulfilling career in IT that lets me use my problem-solving and analytical skills to the best blah blah blah".

JamesRL
JamesRL

The cover letter should say what you are applying for, and why you would be a good fit for the job. That is where the specific sales job comes in.

wistful
wistful

Not at all. Only valid reasons should be used to employ. If someone attaches irrelevant information which they think could give them an unfair advantage (e.g., a good-looking photo), they show poor judgement. We can fix the appearance of our resume by various means. We can't fix our appearance beyond the obvious things we do for interview. And interview time is the time to see the real person.

wistful
wistful

Cogent, Tony. Just one point is confusing - your use of "environment". I think you mean the "development environment" in the first instance, and the "work environment" perhaps in the second. "Work environment" could mean the politics, the personalities, the jargon, the true semantics behind the specifications ...

jsargent
jsargent

You are right. This is why employers want dates. If you have knowledge in some area then they need to know that the knowledge still applies. e.g. I would never apply for an electronic engineering position since I haven't done this job for the last 18 years. However, my experience in embedded software design still applies. An employer needs to know when I was an electronic engineer and when I was mostly a software engineer. If you think that the experience you had 10 years ago will help you now then you will be mistaken. Dates in education are also important since this can show how practical you are and how you develop your career.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You see what the candidate thinks you want to see. Have you ever been interviewed by schizophrenics? The big boss wants something from and in you that his report and your line manager doesn't. Get interviewed by both, it's an enlightening experience.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

After you've worked in a couple of places or one that's been through a couple of changes, you jshould ust take that in your stride. People, processes and politics and the way they interact though, far fuzzier issue and much harder to understand quickly and fit in. Yet you get wallies wondering now much of an impact all your experience in version x of something relates to version Y...