5 Signs that Your Resume is Behind The Times

RacingNumerous clients, especially at the senior professional level, approach me for help because they have not updated their resume for many years.

Recognizing that resume trends have drastically changed, they come seeking assistance to ensure they remain competitive in today’s tough job market. A smart move, because just as you update your fashion to keep up with current trends, you need to update your resume too.

How can you tell if your resume is outdated and needs a professional makeover?  Five sure signs include:

  1. Your current resume has been typed up in a pre-designed template.

If so, it probably looks like most of the resumes out there and this is doing nothing to help set you apart from your competitors.Sharon Graham, Canada’s Career Strategist, covers this topic in a recent post, stating: “Templates don’t account for strategy. You can’t effectively address obstacles in your history such as career gaps, career changes, or anomalies in your career path within the confines of a template”.You are unique so your resume should be too.  If you are not proficient in strong resume content and design development – seek assistance.

  1. Your resume wastes prime real estate.

The top 1/3 of your resume is prime resume real estate, so don’t waste this space talking about what you want.  Listing an objective is an old fashioned introduction that has not been used for several years.An objective adds no value and it is all about you; instead you want a clear title and strong profile at the very start of your resume, distinguishing what you have to offer prospective employers.Locate your 10% difference and clearly articulate how you are prepared to apply your unique value to solve employers’ pain points.   Use your resume real estate wisely.

  1. Your resume reads like a career obituary.

Snore.  If you have cut and paste job descriptions into your “Work Experience” section you are not selling value – you are simply reiterating basic work tasks.  Employers are not interested in what you were ‘responsible for’; they want to know what you can do for them!  Demonstrate your worth through accomplishment-driven stories that are supported by numbers and metrics.  You must provide proof of the skills you claim to have expertise in. Dig deep and unearth some solid career achievements to help your resume shine.

  1. Your resume runs on and on.  

This is probably due to lack of strategic direction and targeted content selection (related to points 1 and 3).  Today’s resume should never run longer than 3 pages, with 2 pages being the most common length. The average person will spend mere seconds scanning your resume initially (if you are lucky enough to get it read by an actual person, which you should aim to do!).  If your resume can not hook and engage with easily digestible bite-sized zingers, it runs the risk of losing the interest of the reader.  Select a resume strategy that works best for you and your work history.  Start by selecting the right format.

  1. The resume ends with the outdated line “References Available Upon Request”.

It is assumed you will provide references upon request, at the interview, so save this space in the resume for something of greater benefit.  Do not date yourself by including this line. A final extra tip! A good way to show that you are engaged with current trends and up-to-date with modern information sharing would be to showcase your social media addresses at the top of your resume — LinkedIn being the most common and critical (see why here). If your resume needs updating and you are not sure how, seek help from a certified resume strategist, and then implement good career management by keeping it current and updating it regularly – your future self will surely thank you.


Adrienne Tom

Looking to take your executive resume or job search to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? I can help! Visit me online at CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.
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1 Comment

  1. Writing Resume on June 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Now as you look back at your own resume, what talking points have your past positions generated? It matters a lot.

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