Resumes & Cover Letters

8 Warning Signs You Need to Update Your Resume

Written by Peter Jones

While job searching, you want to make sure you’re coming across as the best and freshest person for the job. Here are 8 warning signs you need to update your resume.

1. Too much history

Get out of the past. You don’t need to list every single position you’ve ever had, just the most recent and relevant ones. This is the first thing hiring managers look at on a resume. Make yours sing. If you’re going back 10 or 15 years? Consider de-emphasizing that content and focusing instead on the good and grabbing most current stuff.

2. Too much text

Format your resume to be reader friendly and to give the hiring manager the information they need most as quickly and as pleasingly as possible. Avoid long paragraphs and big sentences. Keep it short and snappy and keyword heavy.

3. Too long

Keep it to a page, unless your field demands something different. Make sure that a potential hirer can see what you need them to see in six seconds—which is sometimes all the time you get. Tailor your resume specifically to the job you’re applying for, and leave the rest of the content on your standard or generic document for other positions where it might be more relevant.

4. Wasted address space

You don’t need to give out your personal snail mail address, unless otherwise specified. Current resume etiquette maintains that all you need in the way of contact information is your name, phone, and email. Anything more just wastes valuable space and could make you appear hopelessly retro.

5. Your home number

Business line or cell, please. Who even has a home number anymore? This isn’t 1990. Plus, you want to set up boundaries. Do you really want recruiters calling while you’re sitting down to dinner with your kids?

6. No links to social media

This is necessary nowadays. Add a link to your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook profile. LinkedIn at the very least. But do make sure you’ve double-checked your profiles before linking them, and scoured for any inappropriate or inflammatory content!

7. Career objective

This is way out of fashion, takes up valuable space, and bores the recruiter to tears before they even get to the part where you list your qualifications. Write a brief professional summary instead—two or three sentences that synthesize your strengths and experience and show why you’d be a unique and ideal fit for the position and the company.

8. “References upon request”

This is a way outdated and redundant thing to include. Obviously you’ll provide references if requested. Take that sentence out and put something more valuable in its place.


About the author

Peter Jones