Outdated Resume Advice You Should Ignore
The internet is full of resume writing advice. Unfortunately, a lot of it is bad..
In today’s job market, recruitment increasingly comes in the form of targeted talent acquisition. That means your social media profiles (think LinkedIn and Twitter, for starters) should contain keywords that reflect the skills employers in your field find most appealing. Despite these changes, an impressive resume remains a necessary, and often a central, component of any successful professional growth strategy.
Think of your resume as a marketing tool designed to persuade your next employer that you are the answer to their needs. If you’re relying apon poorly informed, outdated resume advice you should ignore, then your resume won’t be able to perform this task effectively. The following “timeless” resume tips may no longer apply in today’s job market, and might actually hurt your chances of getting hired.
- No resume should be over one page long (mostly wrong)
According to research, today’s hiring managers respond more favourably to two-page resumes than one-pagers. Not only do hiring managers spend more time reading longer resumes they are also more likely to extend interview invitations and job offers to applicants with longer resumes.
That said, senior-level workers should try to stick to a two-page maximum, unless they are applying for an executive-level position. Junior-level job seekers, especially recent graduates with little to no real-world work experience and scant academic or volunteer accomplishments, should stick with one-pagers.
- A header should include a full mailing address (wrong)
Including street addresses, fax numbers or landlines in your header is resume advice you should ignore. But you should consider retaining your metro area, including state and ZIP code, in your resume header so that recruiters scanning for proximity don’t eliminate you from consideration.
Replace old-school email addresses with a professionally dedicated Gmail or Outlook address. If your full name is taken, add something to do with your profession, such as [email protected]. Make sure your contact information includes your LinkedIn profile URL, and make sure to customize it to include your name.
- Begin with an objective statement (wrong)
Using an objective statement can date your resume. Instead, follow your header and contact information with a professional summary that highlights your most relevant work experience and educational background. This summary can be customized with the most relevant keywords for each job you seek.
As a bonus, summary statements allow you to label yourself using language lifted directly from the job posting. If, for example, the job ad says the company is seeking a “marketing professional,” then your summary should begin with those exact words, as follows: “Marketing professional with 10 years’ experience managing successful national product launches and rebranding campaigns.” Follow up this descriptive opening statement with four to five of your most valuable attributes in bullet form.
- Include your graduation dates and GPA (it depends)
If you are over 40, you can leave off your college graduation dates. (You may also want to check to see if the official name of your school has changed and update it accordingly.)
If you are a recent graduate and your GPA is higher than 3.0, then you should include it, especially if you have not earned other honours or participated in multiple internships. If your major GPA is higher than your cumulative GPA, you can include that instead. However, once you have a couple of years’ experience, your college GPA is not particularly relevant outside of academia.
- Include all of your experience and work dates (probably not)
If you are a senior-level professional, this may be the most important piece of resume advice you should ignore. Unless you are seeking an executive- or director-level position, limit your work history to the past 10-15 years, and use an accomplishments section to highlight any career achievements outside of that range.
For example, let’s say you’ve worked for the same company for 32 years, and in the past 15 years, you’ve held three different titles. Include only the three most recent positions and dates on your resume, and eliminate all the job titles you had prior to that. You should also consider editing out more routine competencies. A resume should be seen as a document that spotlights the high points in your career, not an exhaustive record of every facet of your professional experience.
Once you’ve crafted a resume that avoids outdated missteps, make sure you revise your LinkedIn profile to mirror it, utilizing the platform’s many features to expand on the story you’ve presented. Next, consider establishing a presence on social media featuring your take on and expertise in your field—because the most outdated piece of resume advice is that a decent one is all you need to secure the job you seek.
So where can you go for up-to-date advice and fresh formatting samples? Try LiveCareer’s selection of resume examples, where readers can check out an entire collection of contemporary resume examples, all organized by industry, along with cutting-edge resume advice gleaned from recruiters and HR experts. LiveCareer also offers a free resume builder, and a cover letter builder too (to help you construct that other crucial job application document in no time at all).
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