Website Template

The Modern Resume—Do You Have One?

by Greg Faherty, CPRW

One of the most important things employers look for in candidates is a familiarity with modern technology and business strategies. And while you may have excellent technical skills and be a wizard at strategic planning or market research, it could all be for naught if you're still using your grandfather's resume.

Remember, your resume is the first impression an employer gets of you. If you're using an out of date style or including information that's no longer relevant, you might as well be sending a picture of yourself in a 1970's polyester suit.

Here are a few signs that your resume might need a professional makeover to bring it up to date:

1. Contact Information.  Does your resume still have a fax number listed, or a beeper number? Does it lack an e-mail address? Nothing says "out of date" more than using old-fashioned contact technologies.

2. Objective vs. Summary.  Does your resume still open with an Objective? If so, you're about 10 years behind the times. Today's resumes focus on what you can do for the employer, not what type of job or career you're looking for.

3. Font.  The current popular fonts today are Arial, Century, Calibri, Times Roman, and Helvetica. They are also five of the seven fonts that are universally loaded in all computers. If you're using something else, there could be formatting issues when you send the resume to someone.

4. References.  Do you still list them on the resume? Or perhaps you're using that standby statement, "References available on request" at the end of the resume? If so, you're turning your resume into an employment dinosaur. HR offices use Google and other searches to check on the reputations of potential employees. The only reference list you should have is the one you bring to the interview.

5. Personal qualities.  Listing your personal qualities on the resume is a throwback to the 80s. Today's hiring managers want to see specific accomplishments and quantifiable results, not basic, bland descriptions of communication skills, personal loyalty, or hard-working attitude. The point is, your resume has to be up to date with the latest styles and trends, or readers are going to think you're too old or too technology-deficient to be considered for an interview. Don't be left in the dust—bring your resume into the electronic age!

6. Document Type.  Most Human Resource offices use databases for sorting and storing resumes. Those databases can't read PDFs, so make sure you never send one to anybody. PDFs should only be used when you print the resume.

Tips for Modernizing Your Resume

  • Dump the old-fashioned graphics. Pictures, clip art, and fancy graphics have no place on today's resumes. Keep things clean and simple so that Human Resource databases can easily read and sort the resume.
  • Use your paper space wisely. Don't place your dates and section headings on the left side, and then all the content to the right. That's how people did it back in the days of the typewriter.
  • Find out the trends. Do your homework and go online to various resume-writing websites, and see how their resumes look. Get an idea of common trends and styles. Does yours match, or does it look very different? If the latter, you might not be as up to date as you thought.
  • Avoid using the templates in your word processing system. They are typically 10 years out of date.