Resumes and Cover Letters

9 Mistakes That Make Your Resume Look Outdated

resume

Having an outdated resume can cost you the interview—even if you have all of the qualifications an employer wants to see.

Fortunately, the mistakes that make your resume look outdated are all easy to fix. The following guide explains how to overhaul your resume to give you a leg up on the competition.

9 Signs You Need to Redo Your Resume for 2019

1. You’ve listed a home address.

Managers are less likely to hire applicants with a long commute, according to a recent study from Notre Dame University. There’s no need to list your full address on your resume, and doing so can appear outdated and expose you to discrimination.

In today’s job market, it’s best to include only your name, a professional-sounding email address, and a phone number at the top of your resume. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile, if you think it will help inform the manager’s decision. An individual’s professional reputation is pivotal if they’re being considered for a C-suite position, and social media can be used to boost credibility.

2. You have an objective or statement of purpose.

If you applied for a job, the employer knows your objective is to interview for the position and receive an offer.

Because this information is implied, you don’t need to take up valuable space on the page with an objective. Instead, use a career summary section at the top of your resume. The career summary should include one or two brief paragraphs about who you are as a professional and what you’ve accomplished so far.

This section will help your resume stand out and boost the chances that the hiring manager or recruiter continues reading past the introduction.

resume

3. The template is text-heavy.

In general, people read left to right—but recruiters only spend on average 10 seconds or less reviewing each resume, which means they’re scanning the page rather than reading every sentence. As a result, you need to adapt the structure to fit their reading style.

Position the job title and length of each position in one line on opposite sides of the page. Then, include a bulleted list of your achievements for every role. This format creates an “E-pattern” that’s easy to read and uses white space to draw the eye toward the most important highlights.

4. There are too many stylistic embellishments.

Ten years ago, color and graphics might have added visual interest—but now, most of these features will get filtered out through applicant tracking systems.

A modern resume design is simple. The content should be clear, even without rich text formatting.

Select fonts that are widely used and legible, such as Calibri or Arial. These fonts are designed to look best on a computer screen, which is how most hiring managers and recruiters will read your resume.

5. You included personal references.

When the time comes, an employer will ask for your references. Show respect for your colleagues’ time and privacy by protecting their contact information until you reach that point.

Setting those boundaries shows maturity, and it frees up space on the page for you to address issues that are more pressing.


It’s already implied that you have professional references—you don’t need to say “References available upon request,” or anything similar.


6. You address basic proficiencies.

Unless skills like email and Microsoft Word are mentioned on the job description, it’s best to leave them off your resume. It’s assumed that most office workers know how to use these features.

If you’re an expert at using a popular program, then list a specific skill on your resume (for example, “Document formatting in Microsoft Word”). If you have any certifications (for example, Microsoft Office Specialist or MOS), you can also include those on your resume.

7. The formatting is inconsistent.

You want employers to believe you created a new resume for your current job search. Ideally, it should be tailored to the position for which you’re applying.

Using a variety of fonts, inconsistent bolding, different date formats, etc., will make it seem like you’ve gradually added sections to the same document over the course of several years. This oversight makes it look like you haven’t given much thought to your application or have strong attention to detail.

There isn’t a standard rule for how to use bolding, underlining, and headers on your resume—but pick one pattern and stick with it.

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8. You discuss details that are irrelevant or personal.

Focus on your professional qualifications and leave off personal details like your marital status, number of children, hobbies, interests, etc.

If employers want to hear about your hobbies, they’ll ask about them in an interview. This is where they try to get to know you as a person and assess if you’ll be a good cultural fit.

9. Your resume is too long.

As you progress in your career, your resume will get longer. But too much information can overwhelm readers and make your resume seem outdated.

When an employer reads your resume, they’re not looking for a list of everything you’ve done. Instead, they’re thinking, “Does this person have the skills and experience necessary to step into this job and succeed?”

If you include a lot of irrelevant information, it will be harder for the hiring manager to find the points they need to address. Try to keep your resume to one or two pages, even if you have more than 10 years of experience.


Stop using your resume to list everything you’ve done. Instead, treat the document like a targeted sales pitch.


On average, every open position receives around 250 applications. There’s a lot at stake with your resume. If you follow the tips listed above, you’ll create a modern-looking document that’ll help you land a job quickly.

About the Author

Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter and job search author. His blog, Career Sidekick, is read by over one million people a month and has been mentioned in Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and more. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 on how to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive jobs with less stress. Connect with Biron on LinkedIn here.