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The “Re: Connection” Blog Series: 5 Mistakes That Make Your Résumé Look Outdated

The “Re: Connection” Blog Series: 5 Mistakes That Make Your Résumé Look Outdated

How job searches are conducted—both for job seekers and employers—is an ever-evolving process. In our new “Re: Connection” blog series, we’re revisiting articles from years past to see what has changed and what remains the same.

In 2014, we asked Donna Svei, executive resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and career coach to share her thoughts on Five Mistakes That Can Make Your Résumé Look Outdated. We reconnected with Donna and she agreed that today, all five of those mistakes still hold true, and also gave us insight into additional missteps to avoid in 2019.

List Appropriate Tech Skills

Make sure you match the technology skills you possess to the ones listed on the job description. A run-on list of tech skills that range outside of those required can cause this section of your resume to be too dense and hard to read. If you do choose to add a few additional skills, focus on those that are in demand. “You really need to deemphasize things that are no longer needed or expected,” said Svei. “Don’t list Lotus 1-2-3, put Excel.” Another example: you would never list “e-mail” or “Microsoft Word” since those would be the equivalent of listing “reading” and “basic math.” These skills are not differentiators—they are expected.

Focus on Current Skill Sets

Svei says she often notices that when people make the transition to manager or a manager of managers; they may not properly cover those skills on their resume. She advises selling the most current skills and abilities you possess and not showcase information that reflects a dated job title. “Don’t talk about individual contributor roles if you’re now managing managers,” she stated. “Show those early jobs as progressions, but never overemphasize them. Don’t spend too much space with skills that aren’t relevant to what you do anymore.” She also recommends using language and tone that reflects your current capabilities.

Don’t Emphasize Outdated Industries

If you are a veteran employee working in an industry that has gone through transition and you’ve successfully managed the change, there is not necessarily an advantage to including that on your resume. Let’s say that you worked in print publishing or a newspaper in 1998 and you’ve made the successful pivot to the digital world. Your resilience is admirable, but there shouldn’t be a significant amount of space dedicated to your job skills in the print business 20 years ago—concentrate on what you do well now.

Keep Your Resume Up to Date

“Half the year I live in the Pacific Northwest,” said Svei. “The weather conditions can change rapidly, just like economic conditions and your job status.” She suggests making it a point to maintain awareness of what’s going on and update your resume every year or so. Waiting until you’re unemployed or suddenly looking for a new job is not advisable. She cited one of her clients who was laid off unexpectedly and because he had recently updated his resume, he was ready to hit the ground running with a new job search. Preparation and forethought can be key.

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