7 Ways Your Resume Dates You

When you are looking for a new job or want to try out a new position within your current industry, you will need to present yourself to potential employers. If you have been out of work or haven't updated your resume for many years, learning the updated rules of resume writing and presentation could benefit your job search.

Even the most qualified applicant might not get called in for an interview if their resume creates the impression that they are out of touch with the current business environment. An impressive cover letter may not make up for a poorly written resume, either. Some job search sites recommend updating your resume at least twice a year. If you are seeking a new job or are unemployed, make sure to refresh and adjust your resume often as you search for work.

Below are seven ways your resume might seem outdated to potential employers and ways to fix them.

Key Takeaways

  • If you are searching for a job, it is essential to update and polish your resume frequently.
  • It is no longer considered appropriate to list personal information such as hobbies, marital status, or your high school's name.
  • Tailor your resume by highlighting the skills you have that match the job you want, even if it means writing multiple resumes for different positions.
  • If your resume is outdated in tone, style, and information, you may not get called for an interview. 
  • Most employers expect to receive resumes in a digital format.

References Upon Request

There is no need to waste valuable resume space on this outdated section. Employers assume that you will provide references if asked. Instead, keep a separate page with your references' names and contact information ready to supply to the employer once you have advanced in the interview process.

One Resume Doesn't Fit All

While it is smart to keep a master resume on file, you need to customize it to fit each job you apply for. Job-seekers who take the time to tailor their resume to the employer's needs will stand out from the pack. Eliminate the details that don't apply to the position, and emphasize the ones that make you look the most qualified. It might take a little extra time to use this technique, but it usually will be worth it.

It is important to have a digital copy of your resume. You might even create a website that houses your digital resume, so you can easily email the link to a potential employer. Your LinkedIn profile can also be used as a digital resume, but some employers may still ask for a hard copy or PDF version.

Objective Statement

The professional summary or profile has replaced the objective statement. Employers are focused on what job candidates can do for them, not what the business can do for the candidate.

You will sell yourself better with a concise, bulleted list of the qualifications and accomplishments that make you a match for the position.

Single-Page Resume

One of the most touted resume rules is that the document must be one page. Many people will go to extremes to follow this command, resulting in tiny, unreadable font sizes to avoid having a resume extending onto the second page.

Unless you are a newcomer to the job market, you may need more than a page to adequately showcase your skills and qualifications. If you have enough job experience that fits the position, it is acceptable to extend your resume length to two pages. Keep your resume succinct and relevant, but don't go under a 10.5-point font size.

Lack of Social Networking

Social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter might be considered distractions in the workplace, but they can be assets on a resume. Employers want to know that applicants are up-to-date with current technology and communication trends. Links to a professional online portfolio, blog, or LinkedIn page should be included in your resume header.

There is a good chance that employers will do an internet search to find out more about potential employees, so make sure that all of your social networking profiles project a professional image.

Too Much Information

It is not necessary to give your life story on a resume. In fact, providing an employer with too much personal information can be detrimental to your chances of employment.

Delete information about where and when you graduated high school. Ditch irrelevant jobs from 15 years ago. Although it once was standard practice in some industries, it is now inappropriate to include personal details in a resume, such as information about your hobbies, religion, age, and family status. Not only does it look unprofessional, but that information could be used to discriminate against you.

An employer will ask if they want to know why you left previous positions, so there's no need to mention it on your resume.

The rule of thumb is to pare down your resume only to include things that show why you are the perfect fit for the specific position you are applying for.

Outdated Terminology and Skills

Skills in obsolete computer software and systems should be removed from your resume. Don't bother listing basic computer skills such as word processing and using an internet browser, because employers will assume that you have those proficiencies.

Technical experience is critical in nearly every industry, and employers often use technology keywords to find resumes in electronic databases. The job description is the best guide to determine the terminology and technology skills that should show up on your resume, and make sure you keep them fresh and up-to-date.

Should I Put Dates on My Resume?

You should generally include dates on your resume. Traditionally, resumes list work experience in reverse chronological order and use months and years to show the time worked in each role. However, if you're concerned about age discrimination, or if you're just entering the workforce, you can use a resume format that highlights your skills instead.

What If I Don't Remember the Exact Dates of a Job?

In general, it's fine if you don't remember the exact day you began or ended a job. Employers are often satisfied just knowing the months and years you worked there. If you're struggling to remember when you worked for a particular company, you could call the human resources department there to verify your start and end dates.

How Should I Format the Dates on My Resume?

For traditional resumes, format the dates with right alignment. You can highlight the date and choose "Align Right" in the text formatting menu of your word processing program. You can use a dash to show a date range (for example, June 2020 – May 2023). Above all, make sure you're consistent with your formatting throughout.

The Bottom Line

In a fast-paced and competitive job market, the parameters for writing and submitting a resume continue to evolve. Take time to update and streamline your resume, including making an easy-to-email digital version, which will help ensure your resume ends up in the hands of your potential employer.

Article Sources
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  1. Indeed. "Career Guide: Guide to Updating Your Resume."

  2. Glassdoor. "The Printed Resume vs. The Online Profile: Why You Still Need Both."

  3. Society of Human Resource Management. "In Resumes Font Size Matters."

  4. Boston University. "Date Formatting for Resumes."

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