Signs Your Resume is “Old School” Print E-mail

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

Job search is not something many people do on a regular basis. Some professions experience shorter periods of employment than others, but no one is really “practiced” in hunting for a new job.  Some people have never had to actively look for a job, while others only find themselves hunting employment a couple of times over a decade. If it has been several years since you’ve had to use your resume, do not make the mistake of thinking you can dust off that old resume and use it for your new job. Resumes change according to the needs of employers, technology, and the condition of the market. A resume written even a few years ago may be out-of-date. A resume originally prepared a long time ago and only added to over the years is a dinosaur!

Do you have a resume that is “old school”? If so, you should consider having a new document prepared. Just as the advertising and marketing methods of companies such as Coca-Cola and Apple have changed over time, your resume must change, too. What worked in the 80’s, 90’s or even earlier this decade probably won’t work well in today’s job market.

Your resume may be “old school” IF:

…“Confidential Resume of” is plastered at the top of your resume atop your name. Such a header is unnecessary and redundant.

…you’ve included a fax number in your contact information. Think about this – why would an employer need this gem of information?

…you have an objective at the beginning. Objectives have fallen away and the use of a branding line and strong summary has replaced them.

…you detail your entire work history back to 1969. Employers are primarily interested in the most recent ten to twelve years of experience. Unless something from the distant past has immediate significance, it probably has no beneficial place on the resume.

…hobbies and interests take up space on your resume. While interests may be fodder for small talk in an interview, they have no place on a resume, a document whose sole purpose is to win the interview. The fact that you like to scrapbook or fly fish is not going to encourage the employer to call you for an interview.

…your resume is one long list of bulleted statements. The use of bullets came into fashion when the word processor made them possible back in the 80’s. Bullets still have a role on a resume, but they should not start every sentence or line.

…you have included office machine skills such as “able to work a fax machine, copier, and postage machine”.

…you have a ton of experience, but you’ve crammed it all into one page because you think it is “supposed to be one page”. The “one page rule” is a myth!

…you have mentioned your spouse, your children, your age, or reasons you left past jobs in the resume or cover letter. None of this information has a place on a resume and may actually result in problems in your job search.

One of the most common things new clients tell us about their old resumes is, “It worked five years ago to get my most recent job. I don’t know why it isn’t working now.” Things change all the time, especially when you mix volatile ingredients like technology, the job market, and recruiters together. What worked in a resume just a couple of years ago may not be appropriate now. Information that was relevant five years ago may not matter now. Information commonly included on resumes in the 70’s or 80’s may actually result in your resume being eliminated from consideration today. Be smart – use a fresh resume to find your new job!