Outdated Resume Advice

Woman in job interview
Woman in job interview. Neustockimages/E+/Getty Images

Many resume practices that were once standard have become outdated in today’s job market, and it is important that candidates stay up to date with current trends. Here are a few outdated resume tips that job seekers should ignore if they want to secure an interview.

Use an Objective Statement

Why Not: In today’s competitive job market, most candidates are choosing to use a profile statement that focuses on specific skills or career highlights.

The idea is to grab the hiring manager’s attention by showing what skills and talents you will bring to the company. You don't want to lead with a vague objective statement telling them what you would like to learn or accomplish in this position.  Instead, focus on what you can do for them from day one. Focus on your value and what skills make you an asset.

Always Limit Your Resume to One Page

Why Not: While recent graduates or those with a short employment history may be well served by a single page resume, candidates with significant experience and education routinely utilize two page resumes. As long as it makes sense and you have the background to justify it, a two-page resume should be fine.

State that References Are Available upon Request

Why Not: This is a standard expectation, so you don’t need to waste space on your resume to state the obvious. Save that reference line and use it to list another skill or qualification that makes you the best candidate for the job in question.

Send Your Resume in the Mail on High-Quality Paper

Why Not: Unless the employer specifically asks for a resume to be sent in the mail, most applicants tend to take advantage of an online application process. Large companies have application tracking and scanning programs that rely on data collected from online resumes.

If you do send a resume in the mail it certainly won’t hurt to use nice paper, but you should be focusing on content rather than paper quality.

Include Extremely Detailed Accounts of All Prior Positions and Responsibilities

Why Not: Excessively wordy resumes do not help your chances, and there is definitely such as thing as too much information. Don’t expect the hiring manager to slog through your packed-to-the-gills document so they can identify relevant details. They usually don’t have the time to spend on such a task, and your resume is likely to end up in the trash. Instead, use your resume as a marketing tool and highlight the specific skills that are applicable to the position in question.

Make Your Resume “Memorable” Using Decorative Touches or Fonts

Why Not: Utilizing highly stylized fonts, multi-colored ink, pictures, or any sort of gimmick is certainly going to attract attention, but it won't be the positive type of attention that you are seeking. Most hiring managers find it inappropriate for job seekers to include photographs (and unless you are interviewing for some sort of media position, where image would be a factor, you should skip the glamor shots). An odd font or colored text not only looks unprofessional--it will make your document difficult to read and make it even more likely to end up in the stack of rejected applicants.

List Your Salary for Prior Positions

Why Not: The best place to discuss salary is during the interview process. Unless an employer specifically requests that you volunteer your salary history it is often best to leave this information out. If the employer insists that you provide your salary information, you may choose to provide a range rather than giving an exact number. You don’t want to price yourself out of a job by listing a salary that is too high or show the employer that you will work for a much lower salary than they intended to pay.

Write a Lengthy, Comprehensive Cover Letter to Go Along with Your Resume

Why Not: This is another instance where providing too much information can actually hurt your chances of being hired. A cover letter should also be used as a marketing tool to present the highlights of your skills and employment history.

This is not the place to explain gaps in employment or go into any sort of negativity about prior employers or bosses. The cover letter should be one page (and not a full page at that), showing your best attributes.

Staying up to date with current trends and employer preferences will give candidates the best chance to succeed when sending out resumes as part of a job search.