If you’ve been out of school for a while, your resume has probably evolved along with your career. That’s as it should be, but while you’re adding experience and tweaking your resume to reflect your latest career focus, don’t forget to step back and look at your CV like a hiring manager.
What you see might surprise you. It’s easy to just keep tacking on new job titles, and hard to recognize when you’re creating a resume monster. Without some perspective, your job application materials might be telling prospective employers exactly the wrong story about you and your abilities.
Resume writing is as much about what you don’t include as what you do. To bring yours up to date, grab your red pen (or wireless mouse) and delete the following:
The ObjectiveNothing says, “I began my career during the previous century” like an objective statement. (And I say this as someone who was alive and fully employed during the Y2K panic.)
There was nothing really wrong with objective statements – they told hiring managers what you could do and what you were looking for. But they’re out of vogue now, and they’ll make your resume seem dated. Plus, our attention spans are only getting shorter. To grab the reader’s attention, start your resume off with a branding statement. This brief description should tell employers what you bring to the role that others don’t.
‘References Available Upon Request’Every employer knows that you’ll provide references when asked, so there’s no need to say so. Also, real estate is at a premium on a resume. While career experts disagree on whether one-page-only resumes are still a must, it’s a pretty safe rule. If nothing else, one-pagers are easier to hand out at networking events.
Jobs That Are More Than 10 Years OldIt’s illegal to discriminate against workers based on age (once you’re 40), but employers do it anyway, and often through sneaky means. Don’t assist them by including jobs that are more than 10 years old, unless you’re high up on the corporate ladder. Chances are, many of your older jobs are less-than-relevant by now anyway, especially if you’re in a fast-changing industry.
Your resume isn’t your biography; it’s not cheating to pick and choose which jobs and projects to include. Ideally, you should tweak your CV for each job application, gearing it specifically toward the role and emphasizing the keywords that are most applicable. If you must use a template, develop a separate one for each type of job opening, and edit accordingly before you submit it online or pass it to a hiring manager.
Your Home AddressThis one isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s also no longer really necessary. The most important thing about you, as far as the employer is concerned, isn’t where you live in the real world but where you live online. Replace your home address with a URL for your online portfolio or professional social media accounts.
Just make sure that whatever you share reflects the best possible version of you. In fact, it’s safe to assume that any hiring manager worth their salary will Google you and find all of your various social networks – so clean them up accordingly beforehand.
Need another reason not to include your home address? Your commute might disqualify you.
“When you put your address on your resume, believe me, they do the math,” writes Donna Svei of Avid Careerist. “If your commute would be longer than what’s known to be tolerable long-term, your resume often finds its way into the ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ pile.”
Maybe you’re willing to travel an hour and a half during rush hour for the perfect gig, but they don’t know that. Don’t give them an excuse to overlook your application.