Parchment and quill

Do you or your parents remember writing a title page for a résumé that covered a weighty document full of descriptive paragraphs and lists of skills?  It’s hard not to smile when seeing these antiquated résumés, and yet résumé best practice continues to change, which means that if you haven’t updated your résumé in the last year it may need a significant overhaul.

Here are 6 changes you need to make to your résumé to ensure that it meets modern requirements.

Update 1: Revise your personal details

Add your linkedIn details to your résumé. A potential employer will be looking at your LinkedIn site and will find it easier to find if you provide the address.

Ensure that your LinkedIn details are up-to-date and professional. Your LinkedIn web address (URL) must contain your name; to make changed to your URL go to edit public profile.

It is no longer considered relevant for your résumé to include your address. This is partly because résumés are sent over the internet and email and it is not considered safe to share this personal information. It is also because employers no longer send letters through the post. They only need to know your address details when you are employed.

Previously it was a requirement to include a mobile phone number and a home phone number, however the employer is most likely to phone your mobile phone which means you can delete the others.

Your email address will be used by the employer. You need to ensure that the address you are using is professional. You need a new email address if your current email,
•    references your interests such as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•    uses combination of names This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•    includes your birth year This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•    is based on a nickname that you do not wish the employer to know This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All your personal details should be in a maximum of two lines.

Update 2: Add keywords  

Recruitment agents often use keyword searches to find relevant clients. This means that you need to ensure all the keywords are included in your résumé. Find a few advertisements which are suitable and list off all the skills that the employers require; you may find these in the description of the role, the skills required or the duties sections. These are the words that you need in your résumé, if you don't have the skills it is advisable to start a course, at which point you can mention the skills in your résumé. By including the key words in the body of your résumé, or one of the headings, your details are much more likely to be discovered by future employers.

Update 3: Embed your skills

Nowadays employers want to see how skills have been used; therefore they need to be embedded in your education or employment sections. This gives the employer a better understanding of your ability. To contrast this with the past, résumés once contained lists of skills without providing a context; this is considered to be outdated.

Update 4: Delete sections on qualities

A section of a résumé listing qualities such as communication skills, honesty, team worker can be deleted.  These skills are important to employers, however employers would prefer to ask your referees about your strengths and weaknesses and test you at interview rather than rely on an unsubstantiated list. An up-to-date résumé includes examples of ways qualities have been demonstrated; for example your communication skills may have been demonstrated by leading a project, chairing a meeting, providing a presentation, mediating or performing.

Update 5: Remove referees section

Employers no longer expect to see the words ‘Referees available on request’ at the bottom of your résumé. You don’t even need to waste space listing their contact details on your résumé. It is wise to write a list of names, job title, organisations, email addresses and phone numbers for 3 people who know your standard of work and take this along to the interview. However, employers may well have contacted your mutual LinkedIn contacts prior to interview.

Update 6: Stick to a concise, professional résumé appearance

Dot points are still the best way to give a lot of information on a résumé in a small space. Your dot points should begin with an action verb.

The best fonts to use are modern and clear such as Calibri and Georgia.

Modern résumés are two pages long. One page is adequate if you can include all your relevant skills and experience.