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Is an Old School resume getting in your way?

30 Jan, 2013

Is an Old School resume getting in your way?

Companies today are moving quickly and looking for talent that can keep up, or better yet, bring cutting-edge ideas to give them a competitive advantage. A hiring manager’s first impression of you is most likely your resume, and if it says, “I’m old school,” you are probably not getting the interviews you would like.

In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy, here are some signs that your resume might be “old” school:

1. If the address information is all stacked and centered in the middle of the page, your resume might be old school. Look at books published after 2008 for examples of the new letterhead look.

2. If it doesn’t include a summary, your resume might be old school. The summary or professional profile is a standard element today—an introduction to your relevant skills and fit with the position.

3. If it lists the dates for each position left justified down the page, your resume might be old school. The dates are never the best sales pitch of your qualification and our eye naturally starts down the left side of the page—lead with your job titles or companies, whichever is more relevant to the target. Not including any dates is also a strategy of the past—today it lands your resume in the “circular file.”

4. If it looks like a “laundry list” of tasks for every job you’ve held, your resume might be old school. Resumes today are meant to be a marketing document not a historical record. While including information about work history, think strategically about what is most relevant to the job target. Not every detail needs to be included! Also, instead of a list of tasks or duties, share short accomplishment stories which prove value not only skill.

5. If it includes dates from the early 1980s or 1970s, your resume might be old school. Don’t “age” yourself on paper! Weigh the costs and benefits of sharing that old experience, or share it without the dates and consider the same for the dates on your degrees. Listing out-of-date technologies is also a giveaway.

6. If it lists too many qualities or interests, your resume might be old school. Employers have hired one to many “dependable team players” who didn’t show up to work and couldn’t take direction. Resumes today prove skills with accomplishment stories instead of listing qualities. Your personal interests—skiing, hiking, etc., are also not of interest unless they are directly related to the position, company, or company’s social mission.

7. If it lists education before experience, even though you’ve been out of school more than a year, your resume might be old school. Unless you are applying for an academic position, your experience is most likely more relevant than your education. If you are changing fields, think about how your prior experience relates before hiding it under education or in a skills-based format.

Looking for more information on current resume trends? Visit your local library and use books published after 2008. Be careful of online examples!

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