10 Signs Your Outdated Resume Needs a Professional Makeover

More and more companies are using computerized applicant tracking systems to screen job candidates. Will your resume make it past this system and onto a set of human eyes? Here's how to do it.
More and more companies are using computerized applicant tracking systems to screen job candidates. Will your resume make it past this system and onto a set of human eyes? Here's how to do it.

by Amy Schofield, Guest Contributor

Have you been out of the job search world for at least a few years? If so, things have changed. Big time!

With the expansion of companies using computerized applicant tracking systems and the capability of these systems screening job candidates, resumes have changed.

Here are 10 signs that your resume is outdated and needs a professional makeover:

How to Update Your Resume for Computerized Applicant Tracking Systems

1. You have the word “Objective” at the top of your resume.

The word “objective” on a resume has been long gone for about 5 years now. Having this word and a general statement of what type of job you are looking for is a HUGE sign that your resume is outdated.

Instead, focus on a career-branding statement and show a company why they would want to hire you.

2. Your resume is a one-size-fits-all document.

Several years ago it was acceptable for you to have one resume and use the same resume to apply to many different positions. Not anymore.

In today’s job search environment you really want to have a few different versions of your resume that are geared toward each type of position that you are applying to.

Yes, this means even a person who is applying to administrative positions should have different resumes for each position he or she applies to; an administrative assistant position within a military nonprofit organization may have different qualifications than an administrative assistant position for a large corporation. Tailor your resume accordingly.

3. Your resume lacks industry keywords.

This is one of the biggest reasons why many people do not hear back from potential employers regarding job interviews. If your resume does not include keywords the company is looking for, no matter how qualified you are, your resume may not pass the computerized applicant tracking system and onto a human set of eyes.

Read the position announcement thoroughly to pick up on industry keywords and incorporate them into your resume.

4. You do not include quantifiable information in your resume.

In the past, resumes were more about including a list of job responsibilities that you have had. Not anymore!

Since the average position receives at least 100 applicants, you want to make sure you stand out. One of the best ways of doing this is to highlight what you have accomplished by providing quantifiable information, such as numbers and statistics.

5. You are using a Word template for your resume.

Using a resume template from Word may seem like a great idea since it is easy to download, looks pretty and you can just add in all of your information right away.

However, most resume templates in Word are not suitable for computerized applicant tracking systems.

Save yourself some time and research what makes a good resume layout and then create your own. If you would rather use a resume template to save you time, make sure you use one that is compatible with the new resume technology, like this resume template.

6. You are using a functional format for your resume.

By far, this is the BIGGEST mistake military spouses make when it comes to their resumes. Since military spouses tend to have numerous employment gaps from PCSing or taking time out of the workforce to be stay-at-home-parents, they are drawn to using a functional resume format to try and cover up resume gaps. NO!

Computerized applicant tracking systems can actually calculate the number of years of experience you have by correlating the dates with each organization listed on your resume, your job title and the content you have listed within your accomplishments for each organization. The systems then use those calculations to determine if you have the required experience.

If you have a functional resume, all of your accomplishments are listed in a separate section so the system has a harder time calculating your years of experience.

7. You list EVERY single position you have ever had – even going back to 1999.

Yes, you should be proud of everything that you have accomplished. But when it comes to writing a resume, only include relevant information. Do not include a laundry list of every job that you have had. Only include relevant information from the past 10 to 15 years for a civilian-sector resume.

8. Your resume is only one page and you have size 8.5 Times New Roman font to make everything fit.

Several years ago, a one-page resume was standard. Unless you are an entry-level candidate, a one-page resume is no longer standard.

Most resumes today are 2  pages long and start off with a personal branding statement, followed by a list of key skills, and then go into your experience, education, job-related training, awards, etc.

Also make sure your resume is streamlined and easy to read. So don’t go cramming all of your information into size 8.5 font.

9. You list your hobbies and interests on your resume.

Sure, you want to provide a hiring manager with additional information about yourself, but listing hobbies and interests on your resume is something that you may not want to do anymore. Of course, there are always exceptions to this.

For example, if you are an avid skier and you are applying to a position at a ski resort, then yes, list related hobbies. But it does not make sense to add this type of hobby to a resume that you are using to apply for most other positions.

10. You have the phrase “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of your resume.

Just like the “Objective” statement has not been around as a resume trend for 5  years, so has the phrase “References Available Upon Request.” Everyone should have references available upon request. It does not make sense to take up precious space on your resume to list that phrase.

Now that you know what you need to do to bring your resume up to today’s resume trends, you are ready to begin your job search. Good luck!

Is your resume updated or outdated? Can your resume make it past the computerized applicant tracking systems? 

Amy SchofieldAmy Schofield is an Academy Certified Resume Writer and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and resume writing fields for 10+ years. She is the founder of Schofield Strategies, LLC TM, an organization that provides resume development and job search strategies to job seekers of various backgrounds and experience levels from around the world. As an active-duty military spouse, she helps transitioning veterans and military spouses reach their career goals. Schofield Strategies was the recipient of the 2013 Military Family Member Community Heartbeat Award. Amy has been featured in a variety of media sources, including GI Jobs, Reserve and National Guard Magazine, and ClearanceJobs.com. She serves as the Resume Expert for the National Military Spouse Network and is the founder of the Military Spouse Resume Writers’ Coalition.

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