Moldy, Oldy Resumes Print E-mail

Have you ever poured milk over cereal and took a bite only to realize the milk has spoiled? Fortunately, milk has an expiration date printed on it. Resumes don’t even though resumes age and get past their prime, just like milk. How old is your resume?

Jimmy is a sales rep who was laid off in March after thirteen years with his employer. Jimmy still had his old resume from thirteen years before and since it had worked well in the late nineties (got him the job), he figured it would work well now. He brushed off the dust, updated a couple things on dates, added some keywords and sent it out. The result? Nothing.

Jimmy’s resume was from a different era. Employment markets change and so do resumes. What employers need or want to see changes. Formats and organizational schemes of resumes change as they conform to the needs of the market. Jimmy was trying to market himself with a resume that was green with mold and did not meet the needs of today’s market.

What made Jimmy’s resume out-of-date? There were several things. First, the organization was the old, large-left-margin style. That style was originally used when resumes were written on typewriters. There were few design options on typewriters so creating a large left margin with tabs was one of the few ways to attain visual interest. With all the design options for computers now, the large left margin is simply a waste of space.

Second, Jimmy had detailed his entire work history all the way back to the 80’s. His experience as a clerk in retail in 1987 is totally irrelevant to his more recent work as one of the top producers as a National Sales Manager. So why has he included it? He thought you had to include all your work history. That’s just not true. Employers are most interested in what the last ten years have held for you. Ancient history is just that to them – ancient history. It has no relevance.

Is your resume updated AND up-to-date? Do you know what employers are seeking in this market? Would you recognize mold on your resume?