Your resume is a reflection of you, your skills and capabilities, and your work history. It’s your own advertisement, so it’s worth your investment to keep it updated.
Best practices for resume writing continue to evolve, so it’s important to check that your resume isn’t accidentally making you seem out of touch and dated. If your resume includes one of these outdated elements, it might be time for a refresh. Here’s some outdated resume practices to avoid in 2023.
Today’s employers don’t care that you’re looking for an “opportunity to combine your skills”. They want to know why you’re a good fit for the job. Use that space on your resume to write a three to five-line elevator pitch that summarizes your relevant experience and skills. Employers are looking for someone to do a specific job. Make sure you describe what you can do and why. Make sure this is explained in your cover letter as well.
If you are searching close to home, it’s okay to include your city, state, and zip code. But including your street address will make your resume look dated. If you want to relocate for work, leave off your location information altogether. First, show them you’re a perfect fit, then talk about the relocation process.
You might have a perfectly good reason to still have a landline phone, but there is no reason to put it on your resume. You have sole control over your cell phone, from your voicemail message to when you answer it. So use that number exclusively on your resume.
Irrelevant Social Media
It’s smart to create a professional online profile on a site such as LinkedIn. If you are in a creative field, you may also want to develop an online portfolio. Include those links on your resume, but steer clear of providing any social media links that are not 100% dedicated to your career. Also, beware. Most companies and effectively all recruiters will review your online and social presence.
Never list anything about yourself that is not directly related to your job search. Age, marital status, orientation, pronouns, and other details are entirely irrelevant, and it’s illegal for employers to ask. If you graduated from high school or college more than five years ago, you may also want to forego your dates of attendance to prevent employers from guessing your age. If you are a veteran, do include your job, responsibilities, and relevant experience. Often employers may be looking for military experiences that may help them in their own companies.
Keywords or Buzzwords
You’ll want to use a few select keywords drawn directly from the job description. But keyword stuffing will only annoy recruiters. Buzzwords are arguably even worse, because they tend to be full of fluff and short on substance. Read your resume out loud before submitting it to make sure your language sounds natural. Make sure it targets the job, your background, and the industry you will work in.
Recruiters are inundated with fluffy, poetic language about goals, career ambition, teamwork, expertise in communication, self-driven, highly motivated and other over-used, ineffective clichés. Unless any of the adjectives are indeed true, you should avoid. Fluffy intros on a resume’ or cover letter are often ignored and may work against you.
Extended Work History
As a general rule, you don’t want to go back more than 10-15 years in your career history. If you’re a new graduate, the time period is even shorter. If you’ve finished college or are more than four years removed from high school, delete any references to your high school years. If you’ve been out of college for more than five years, it’s time to delete your college experiences. The goal is to show employers what you’ve been doing recently, not long ago.
If you do have a long work history, summarize the work you did. If that work history includes “many” jobs, especially ones that did not last long, explain why. Recruiters and future employers will always want to know why you had “5 jobs in 5 years”. Get ahead of the question and describe circumstances – internship, part-time, temp job, or freelance, acquisition eliminated your job, company closed or relocated. Also, explain gaps in your work history.
Updating your resume’ and avoiding outdated language or practices is important. We all have a tendency to make updates only as needed and often procrastinate. Remember, your resume’ and profiles are your advertisement for your personal brand, skills, and capabilities – it’s worth the effort to make sure it shines.
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