Does your resume or profile scream out to recruiters “I am old an out of touch with modern office technology? “ If you’re using a resume with the same layout and format of content you’ve been sending out since the 1990s, your career search could be in trouble.
If any of the ten items in the list below are still in your resume, recruiters evaluating your job application will immediately identify you as older and, regrettably, perceive you as out of touch. Discrimination via ageism is a real thing and it can negatively impact your interview prospects. Unfortunately, outdated resume formats and styles place candidates at a greater disadvantage than those who have updated their resumes to align with current styles, formatting and verbiage.
1. Objective Proclamation
A designated “Objective” section is at least 20 years out-of-date and since it’s at the head of your resume, it immediately labels you as “out-of-touch.” Do not include something that sounds like, “Seeking a leadership role that will utilize my experience in…” Job recruiters are not interested in what you want. They want to know how your skills and accomplishments fit the role they are trying to fill.
2. Date of Graduation
Listing the date of your undergraduate degree is an immediate indicator as to how long it has been since you were approximately 22 years old. Except in cases where you have secured a graduate degree within the last 15 years, leave off that date in the education section. That being said, if your years of work experience is in the 20 years or less range, it won’t hurt if you list the year you achieved the Bachelor of Science or Arts degree.
3. Prehistoric Email Service Provider
Are you still using an MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL email account? Many job recruiters associate them with the prehistoric days of digital media and may screen you out because of it. Do not take that risk. Gmail will help make you appear up to date. Do not create an email address that includes numbers that represent your date of birth, inappropriate, cutesy or unprofessional terms or phrases. Use variation on your first name last name @gmail.com.
4. Double Spaces Between Sentence Periods
Putting two spaces after a period went away approximately 20 years ago. It is how many of us were taught typing back in high school. It’s a hard change and takes a lot of time to become habitual at adding only one space after a period. Job recruiters will look at document spacing and use it as a determinant for vetting applicants.
5. Wide Margins
Twenty-five years ago, professional resumes had two-inch indentations on the left margin designated for the experience area as well as content that was very thickly crammed into the center of the document. White space is important to create visual flow and readability, but it is more critical that your resume shows the full breadth and depth of your skills, keywords and accomplishments. Using margins of a half inch or one inch in the left, right, top and bottom allows for an appropriate balance of whitespace and content.
6. Serif Typeface
Times New Roman font was launched by British newspapers in 1931. Is that the look you want to represent your personal brand? I didn’t think so. Since the rise of Apple products, 20 years ago sans-serif fonts have become the most prevalent font on computer screens, newsprint and resumes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning “without” and “serif” which are extending features at the end of strokes.
The best fonts for resumes and cover letters are sans-serif fonts such as Helvetica, San Francisco, Arial, Tahoma, Verdana or our favorite, Calibri.
7. Name at the Top of Page Two
Putting a name and/or page number at the top of the resume’s page two was necessary back when hard/paper copies of the resume were the only format that could be used for a review. Nowadays, they are primarily viewed on computer monitors and even mobile phones (hence the importance of a great LinkedIn profile). A name and page number on the second page age the document and take up valuable real estate that should be used to tell your career story.
8. Street Address in Your Contact Information
Remove the street address and zip code, include only the city and state. The need to include a full address disappeared right along the same time recruiters stopped using paper/snail mail to communicate with applicants.
Also, applicants can face geographic discrimination. For example, if an applicant lives in the western suburbs of a big city and the recruiter is hiring for a position in the eastern suburbs, the recruiter may skip over the applicant’s qualifications because they assume “this person will never want to commute so far for the job, we should find someone who lives closer to the office’s location.”
9. No Link to LinkedIn Profile or Relevant Digital Media
Avoiding the use of social and digital media is no longer an option in today’s global world. Recruiters expect to see a LinkedIn profile URL link at the top of the resume. It is the digital replacement of a street address. Using links in the executive resume leads readers to discover more detailed material about you and presents you as proficient in the ways of digital networking. Other web links you can include in your resume: • Digital portfolio website link showcasing your work (For creative artists, designers, media communications personnel, etc.) • Employer Website • Published White Papers, Articles, etc. • Twitter or YouTube videos if robust and filled with professional, relevant content
10. Outdated, Irrelevant Certifications and Training
Listing expired certifications or antiquated training certificates you earned years ago ages you in the eyes of human resource professionals. If the content does not support your goals, meaning, “looks appealing” to your potential future employer (not your present one), eliminate it from your resume and LinkedIn profile.
A modern-day profile and resume present your work story as contemporary, innovative and willing to embrace work in the digital age as well as able to network via professional social media.
It’s time to modernize your executive resume for today’s job search. We can fix these ageism bogeymen by creating an updated, modern resume and LinkedIn profile that increase your visibility. Many professionals struggle to write about themselves. As certified resume and LinkedIn writers, we can help you. We transform your career story, skills and accomplishments into increased visibility and interviews. We know what works with job recruiters. We invented the LinkedIn optimization industry back in 2010 and we hold a 5-star rating on Yelp, Google and the BBB.
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