Here are four signs your resume might be outdated.
You’ve spent hours and hours toiling over writing your resume. And then you wait. And you wait some more.
If you’re not getting invited for interviews, several things could be happening. Your job search strategy might not be working. The industry you’re targeting might be uber competitive. Perhaps your resume got lost in cyberspace.
Or maybe your resume is out of date.
Here are four signs that your resume might be outdated, as well as simple strategies to write a killer, targeted resume so you stand out as a candidate and land an interview faster!
Sign #1: You’re using a generic objective statement
Unless you are making a big career change, the general rule of thumb is to ditch the objective statement and write a targeted, keyword-rich professional summary instead. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re targeting an instructional technology position in the K-12 school setting. You could write the following objective statement:
“Seeking a position as an instructional technologist where I can utilize my communication and technical skills and grow in the field.”
Or you can write the following targeted professional summary:
“Seasoned educator with 15+ years of experience in teaching and administrative roles. Proven track record of successfully integrating technology to accelerate learning outcomes for diverse student populations.”
As you can see from the examples, using a targeted professional summary is much more effective than a vague objective.
Sign #2: You’re writing “Duties include” when describing your experience
Using phrases like “duties include,” “work tasks” and similar passive language is a major sign that your resume needs some serious remodeling.
You want to show and not tell. It sounds simple, but it’s not.
It is easy to cut and paste duties from the job description onto your resume. But it takes time to think about how you specifically performed those tasks and what sets you apart from the thousands of other (insert position title) out there.
Research shows that recruiters spend an average of about seven seconds scanning resumes. To quickly communicate the “wow factor” when describing your experience, start your phrases with action verbs such as delegated, managed, oversaw, and facilitated.
Next, describe what you accomplished or a problem you solved. For example, “Developed new technical training protocol in less than one month, increasing efficiency by roughly 50%.”
Sign #3: Your job history is looking a little historical
If you have positions on your resume dating past twenty years or more, it’s probably time to do some resume editing. Unless these old positions relate directly to your current career objective, it’s best to leave them off your resume. Focus on highlighting your most recent, relevant work experience!
If you’ve got dated experience that relates to your current career objective, you can either highlight relevant skills in a “Highlights of Skills & Qualifications” section at the beginning of your resume above your work history, or you can list it under a category titled something like “Additional Relevant Experience.”
Sign #4: You list “references available upon request.”
This is probably the single most outdated phrase on the resume. But I still see applicants list it all the time.
If an employer wants to check your references, they will do so later in the application or hiring process. Usually after the first or second interview if the employer is seriously considering you for the job, they will ask you to provide several references.
If you want to get ahead of the game, start gathering LinkedIn recommendations and see if current or former colleagues can act as references. Try to ask colleagues who know you well and who you know will write you a detailed, thoughtful recommendation.
Updating your resume periodically, although time consuming, will pay dividends in your job search process. If you write a succinct, targeted, keyword-rich resume you will greatly increase your chances of landing an interview fast!