If you’ve been in the same position for a long time, it may have been a while since you last had to write a resume. While the accepted format for a resume has generally stayed the same, some things considered standard are now passé. If you’re putting in many applications and receiving few callbacks, you should take a closer look at your resume and ensure that an outdated resume isn’t holding you back.
It’s not necessary to include your full address on your resume. While it’s true that addresses will still be needed for your personnel file and a background check, it isn’t necessary to put a physical address on a resume. A city and state will suffice. In today’s digital world, where plenty of jobs are remote, you may not even need that. The hiring manager has no need for your full address, and you are opening yourself up to privacy concerns depending on where you post your resume.
A career objective is another popular resume section that has fallen out of favor. A career objective is a paragraph, typically found at the top of your resume, that states your goals for your career. In a world where recruiters see hundreds of resumes for one open position and spend only a few seconds reviewing them, a career objective is seen by some as a waste of space. You should spend that valuable real estate focused on what you can offer the company you’re applying to instead of detailing your career goals. There’ll be plenty of time in the interview to talk about your desired career trajectory. An alternative to a career objective is a career summary. It gives the recruiter the highlights of your skills, experience, and accomplishments in a few short sentences.
Irrelevant soft skills
While soft skills such as your attention to detail, your ability to learn quickly, or your great people skills may seem like important information to convey, it isn’t a judicious use of resume space. While soft skills are important, consider adding them to a cover letter along with the practical application of how those skills have helped your organization. For example, if your attention to detail helped you uncover thousands of dollars in superfluous spending for the organization, including that anecdote in your cover letter is a powerful way to demonstrate your soft skills and their value. Removing soft skills from the skills section of your resume leaves more room for hard skills such as software or coding languages.
Proficiency in Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word was initially released in 1983. Since then it has become a staple in offices and classrooms everywhere. It’s assumed that if you’ve worked or gone to school that you have proficiency in most common Microsoft products such as Word and PowerPoint. Listing them in your resume makes you look out of touch with what technologies are relevant in the workplace. You wouldn’t tell a recruiter that you know how to send emails, would you? Also, pointing out your competency in something people already assume you know is a waste of valuable resume space.
Your college GPA or coursework
Unless you are a recent college graduate, there’s no need to reference your college coursework, GPA, or awards. Assuming you are an established professional, you should have much more recent accomplishments to cite. Once you’ve tucked your first couple of jobs under your belt, there’s no need to reference projects you’ve completed in college. Recruiters are more interested in how you’ve helped your last organization achieve its goals versus the A+ you received in college algebra. The same advice applies to your high school accolades.
References available upon request
“References available upon request” is a phrase commonly put in resumes that offers very little value to the reader. As with your proficiency in Microsoft Word, the recruiter or hiring manager already assumes that you’d be able to produce a list of three to five people who can speak positively to your capabilities. When the time comes in the hiring process where references are needed, the recruiter will simply ask for them. Don’t waste valuable resume space on the phrase.
While putting your photo in your resume may seem like a fun way to add personality to your resume, it makes it hard for hiring teams to implement bias-free recruitment. Your skills and experience should speak for themselves, and because of that, a photo doesn’t provide much added value. If anything, it can be a distraction and take up valuable space.
There is no doubt that unconscious bias can play a role in hiring decisions, even in the most inclusive and welcoming environments. Adding a photo can tell a hiring manager your gender, race, ethnicity, and even your religion if you wear religious clothing. Also, if the photo isn’t professionally shot or is of poor quality, it may reflect poorly on you and hurt your chances. Lastly, photos on resumes can confuse applicant tracking systems, leading your resume to never make it in front of a person.
Putting together a quality resume can be a lot of work. Don’t sabotage your hard work by including outdated or unnecessary elements that may turn off a potential employer. Focus on your skills and experiences, and how you provide value to a prospective company. It may be natural to want to include certain elements on your resume, but adapting to current standards is the best way to get your resume to the top of the stack.