Zareen Wajid, Talent Acquisition Specialist
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Industries evolve. Processes improve. People develop. Technology advances. Then, why should resumes remain the same? Typically, resumes are created through a cookie-cutter strategy, which includes lame lists under bold-faced headings of education, experience, etc. While it is highly encouraged to have a good format- with a consistent font size, spacing, coloring, etc, please note that there are some resume practices that have become outdated and no longer help market job seekers as an attractive applicant.

The Obvious Objective. At one time, including an Objective denoted motivation and strategic thinking. Today, however, including an Objective is pointless and repetitive. For example, the statement “Interested in obtaining a full-time sales role at your reputed company” is a no-duh. Recruiters and Hiring Managers know you are interested in that role because that’s the position you applied for. They also know you believe their company is reputable because why would you be interested in joining a non-reputable company.

In another example, the statement “ambitious, motivated, go-getter with proven skills in this and that” is just space consuming. When your entire resume is actually going to provide details on your this and that skills, then why sum it up in a non-proving sentence.

An alternative to an Objective is a Summary, in which you can summarize your expertise. For example, if applying for a advertising position, you can state “2 years of web advertising experience specializing in this and that” to indicate your expertise level, as well as summarizing your resume. Once again, though, this alternative is an option, not a requirement.

References Available Upon Request. There’s really no reason to state that. Of course references are available upon request because if a company asks you for references as part of their recruitment process, you do have to provide them.

Another aspect to note is that listing your references on your resume may not be the best strategy either (and is an outdated practice). It is common courtesy to let your references know that they may be receiving a call/email regarding a reference check. If you are applying for multiple positions/companies, it becomes increasingly difficult (and perhaps an annoyance) for your references to keep track of all that. It is best to wait until you are asked for references to provide references.

List of Duties and Responsibilities. This practice is possibly the worst outdated resume detail. Applicants tend to list out their duties and responsibilities (essentially, their job description) under each place of employment and title listed on the resume. Not only is this epically boring and portrays no aspect into your character, but it also sells you short. List accomplishments! Tell companies what you have achieved- prove it by including ROI, statistics, numbers, time, etc under each place of employment and title listed on your resume. It’s not about what you are capable of doing on a day-to-day basis, but rather, about your record-breaking monthly, quarterly, and annually accomplishments.

The Cover Letter Addendum. This is a difficult one to explain. Cover letters are suppose to provide an insight into an applicant’s character and integrity. Unfortunately, most cover letters Recruiter and Hiring Managers come across just summarize an applicant’s resume. So, keep a simple rule in mind: if your cover letter is just your resume into paragraph form, then forego it.

Notable Computer Skills. Not sure if you noticed, but we have become very advanced computer/internet users. Stating computer skills in general isn’t really making you look good. Instead, opt to be specific and relevant. Applying for an analyst role? State your advanced Microsoft Excel skills. Applying for a marketing role? State your InDesign, Photoshop, Photography, etc skills.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of outdated resume practices, and of course resumes will continue to evolve, but this is a good start. Another last minute practice to incorporate when creating a resume (and before submitting it) is to have it proof-read and checked out by others. Oftentimes, a new set of eyes can really help improve your resume’s wording, style, repetitiveness etc. As you know already, professional resume readers are notorious for initially screening a resume for only 30 seconds. Don’t waste precious time with outdated resume practices!