Antiquated Resume Parts and Rules

I was looking through my handy, dandy grammar “bible” that was printed in 1983 (I bought it used for my college grammar class back in ’86). There is a section on resumes in the book with an example. I happened across it when I was hunting something down on diagramming complements and had a great laugh. It started me thinking how much resumes have changed over the years. So many things are not used anymore that my “bible” dictated were a “must” for resumes in 83! Sadly, we still see these on self-written resumes that are sent to us for review.

The title “Resume” or “Resume of Qualifications” or “Curriculum Vita” at the top of the page above the name header is an antiquated resume technique. The document doesn’t need a title. It’s obvious it’s a resume.

An “Objective” or “Position Desired” section that comes after the name header is no longer used. The resume is written to sell your qualifications to the employer. What you desire is not relevant. It’s safe to assume that if you have sent your resume to an employer concerning an engineering position, you aren’t interested in a nursing job. Objectives are obsolete and weak. Don’t use them.

Putting the Education section first is also passé unless you are a brand-new graduate with little to no real-world experience. The education section goes last or near-last. If you are an experienced professional who has just attained your degree to round out your qualifications after several years of working in your industry, the education will still follow the experience section. Employers typically hire experience over education.

Dates placed in a large left margin is a format that is not used anymore and can date you. The large left margin where maybe headers appear and the dates appear sucks up space and draws attention to unimportant information (dates). You want to draw the reader’s attention to the job title, the company, the achievements, and the job description. Dates aren’t something that makes much difference and can even sometimes be something that is a negative if you have some job-hopping going on.

Special interests appear on my old sample in my grammar book. Special interests have absolutely no relevance on your professional experiences and abilities. For example, I might have a special interest in working with sick animals but that has no relevance on my abilities as a resume writer. The same applies to special interests on a resume. There is no place for them because they do not apply to the job. In my entire career, I’ve only seen one instance where I’ve included Special Interests – it was for a design engineer of snowmobiles who was targeting a specific snowmobile company (Arctic Cat) who was a competitor of his current company. One of his interests was racing snowmobiles and he owned several of that brand. I included it because it was relevant to his target.

References no longer appear on a resume. In fact, “References included” isn’t included at the bottom of resumes. It’s a waste of a line in a document that is space-limited.

Check your resume for these resume bits that are no longer used. If you have them on there, you are dating yourself and communicating that you don’t stay current with trends in communication.

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