Is your resume up-to-date? You may think it is if you’ve been diligently adding every new role and accomplishment as you’ve been racking them up over the year.
But actually, that’s not what I’m talking about.
I mean, does your resume meet today’s expectations? Or have you been clinging to a set of old school “resume rules” that make you look outdated and out of touch to today’s hiring managers and recruiters?
If it’s been a few years since you’ve given your resume a thorough, top-to-bottom overhaul, now’s the time. You may be surprised to realize that some items that were “perfect” a few years ago have probably reached their expiration date.
If you want to boost your chances of being taken seriously, scrub these 7 things off your resume immediately.
1. Your Career Objective Statement
“Self-starting, results-oriented blah, blah, blah.. seeking a role with a success-oriented organization…” Here’s what I see when I encounter these little ditties at the top of the page: nothing. My eyes glaze right over. The only time you should even waste the white space with an “Objective” is to name the job for which you are applying. Then make sure that everything else on your resume and cover letter point strongly to that position and why you’re tailor made for it.
2. Photos, Weird Fonts and Other Visual Gimmicks
Unless you are actually applying for a position that demands the clever use of these things, never put them on your resume. When you use them, you are not making it more appealing. You’re making it more annoying. It’s harder for the people reviewing your resume to find the relevant information during the 30-second scan we’re able to devote to each of a hundred resumes. Don’t get me wrong. Please do use bolding, italics and sub-heads that make it easier for the reviewer’s eyes to travel down the page and easily find what they’re seeking. But save the cute stuff for personal correspondences, please.
3. Educational Stats that are No Longer Relevant
If you’re fresh out of school, by all means, tell me everything: the school, the GPA (if it’s high), the year you graduated. But after you’ve gotten a few jobs under your belt, it’s time to let go of everything except the degree and school. Notice that I did not say the year. Including that only dates you unnecessarily. And I’m sorry, but bragging about your excellent grades after you’ve been out of school for a few years can look a teensy bit like your glory days are behind you. They’re not. Your most important accomplishments now are the ones you’re building as a working person. If the employer needs more school stats, they’ll ask.
4. Spectacular Achievement # 29… if you know what I mean
Try not to list more than 5-10 accomplishments or results for each job. (Please, try really hard.) Once upon a time, a myth was circulating that, the more “success bullet points” you include, the more you’ll impress the hiring manager. But the fact is, long laundry lists rarely do that. Instead, they just look like something that will take me a long time to get through. Name only your most important results, contributions or achievements. And I’ll be dazzled enough to want to ask you about more during an interview.
5. Yesteryear’s Superior Skills
Do you remember when it was important to tell employers that you were proficient with Microsoft word? Saying that now will only portray you as behind the times. If you possess the skills that everyone is expected to have already, just don’t name them.
6. Hobbies and Personal Interests
This is a tough one. After all, you want your character and personality to shine through. I get that. But, unless your hobbies are directly related to the job, most recruiters and managers will not respond positively to this kind of information being included. The resume needs to stick to its narrow purpose of introducing your potential professional fit for the open position and the workplace. Diverting my attention away from those priorities creates the impression that you don’t understand the priorities.
7. Ancient or Irrelevant Job Experience
When it comes to work experience, there are really just two things that managers and recruiters need to see: 1. Jobs that are related to this job, and 2. No employments gaps or an explanation for them. When you think about it that way, you’ll understand how your summer job at Long John Silvers during your junior year is a bad idea for the resume. You probably already knew that. But did you realize that the same rule applies for most side hustles? If you’re driving for Uber to build your retirement fund or support a family, that is truly impressive. But if your primary job is already relevant to the position for which you’re applying, don’t muddy the waters with the side gigs.