Here’s a sad fact. Most people, and even professional resume writers, are still writing 20th century resumes. Back in high school or college, someone showed you how to write one and you have never changed it up. Well, just like big hair isn’t in fashion in 2022 (thankfully!), neither are old-fashioned resumes. Let’s learn to fix that and come to the end of the first quarter of the 21st century.
Here are 12 things that belong on your resume.
1. Full address
Since you are posting on the internet, why would you dox yourself? No one is going to snail mail you about your resume so they don’t need your street address. Instead, offer the city, state/province, and zip code.
2. Cute icons
Recruiters are smart. When they see 10-digit numbers, they know it’s your phone number.
3. Personal pronouns
This is a document that is 100% about you and the reader knows that. Consequently, they don’t need to read I, I, I, my, my, etc. This also includes any references to yourself in 3rd person. Write your resume in 1st or 3rd person without personal pronouns. The great thing is the verb conjugations are the same in the past tense.
- (I) managed a staff of 30.
- (She) managed a staff of 30.
Just remember: Your summary is in 3rd person present tense.
If you are sending the document, they KNOW your objective is to get a job that “utilizes” all your skills and experience. Instead, use the exact title of the job as advertised. But, wait! Does that mean adjusting every resume? Yes, it does.
5. Double space after a period
At 61 years old, I was using a manual typewriter to learn back in the day. However, as my career progressed, so did my equipment. I realized there was no longer a need to add the extra space. When you do, it shows your age and could contribute to ageism bias in the job search.
6. Fancy borders
This is a business document. It is meant to be scanned and, if it’s done right, read through. No one needs a fancy border.
7. Full page justified margins
These were meant to create natural columns in newspapers. They aren’t meant for 8.5-inch paper. Many people find it difficult to read because of the extra spaces. Computer algorithms may also misinterpret those spaces as mistakes.
8. Multiple columns
Recruiters scan down the page in an F pattern, the way people are taught in speed reading courses. This is the same neuropsychology for web content.
9. Rated proficiencies
Why on earth would you tell someone that you are mostly proficient in XYZ?
10. Hobbies and interests
The place for these is on a cover letter IF they have significance to the job. Instead, use your volunteer experience if there is space. This shows how you give back to your community, something in which many companies take great pride.
11. GPA and graduation dates
Unless your GPA is 3.5 out of 4 or above or within the past two years, do not list it. The same applies to the year you completed the degree. It is only relevant if it is recent and should go to the top of the resume if that’s the case. Past two years, move to the bottom.
12. Your picture
This was once very common, however, is no longer a good thing. If they want to see your picture, they can look on LinkedIn. Don’t waste valuable page real estate with a photo.
You have to adapt your resume to fit in the 21st century. Even many professional resume writers haven’t adapted. If you decide to hire one, make sure they aren’t simply going to reformat your old information, especially if they are doing any of the above.
Stop putting a laundry list of your duties. Everyone knows what a widget spinner does. They want to know how WELL you could spin widgets.
Joanne Rosen, Chief Operations Officer at Analytic Advantage Career Consulting and Write Choice Resumes, has written and/or edited over 3,000 resumes in the past 4.5 years. She leverages an MA in Professional Communications, years of experience, and constant research into labor market trends.