5 Red Flags You Need to Update Your Resume ASAP, According to a Career Coach

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Trie Angeleva321
Dream-Job Career Coach
May 25, 2024 at 9:4AM UTC

Your resume is a powerful marketing tool that needs to feature the best you and demonstrate, at a glance, why you deserve the interview.

Yet, more than any other aspect of the job search process, the resume is the one that suffers from the most misguided opinions, input and guidance. Sadly, I’ve seen the results of this bad advice thousands of times, when potentially ideal candidates get passed over within seconds because their resume doesn’t convey their greatness.

There is a lot of good, bad and conflicting advice out there because while there are some hard and fast resume rules, there are also some grey areas. There also are some dos and don’ts specific to industry, career phase and type of job search.

If you are landing interviews for the jobs you really want, then your resume is probably doing the trick. But if you’re not, that’s the number one sign your resume needs attention ASAP. I know because I’ve helped hundreds of college students and professionals develop resumes that get them noticed, interviews and their dream job.

If you’re not landing interviews, there may be other contributing factors, but your resume is a good place to start. And let’s face it, outstanding resumes land more interviews than bad ones, so let’s look at what might be amiss.

Here are four more signs your resume needs to be updated ASAP.

1. It features an objective statement.

For decades, a sentence or two declaring a candidate’s professional desires was plopped directly below their name, address and phone number.
It would read something like this: "Seeking a position where I can use my leadership and communications skills in the IT field." Sound familiar?  

This approach now is considered self-centered, generic and a huge waste of prime real estate. 

What to do instead

Replace this with a concise personal statement and compelling headline that showcase your value and match for the position.

2. It lists job duties.

Once upon a time, the thing to do was describe what you did at your past jobs so the resume reader could see the types of tasks you were proficient in and capable of handling. 

What to do instead: Measurable outcomes is now the way to go. This lets you demonstrate how the work you did was effective, added worth to the role and benefitted the organization.

3. It includes your home address.

Another standard piece of information included on resumes for decades (and maybe yours, now?) was a person's street address, city, state and zip code. Sadly, stalkers and identity thieves took the fun out of that.

What to do instead

With the focus on mobility, remote working and online hiring, use this space instead for your (professional) email address and LinkedIn links, and make them active. Add your city and state, if you believe they are relevant to the job you’re pursuing. Include links to your relevant social media accounts, personal site, blog or online portfolio as you deem fit.

4. Typos

In this context, I use the term “typos” to refer to anything on your resume that's not quite right — grammar mistakes, extra spaces, too many spaces after punctuation, misspellings, word misuse and anything inconsistent such as tabs, hyphens, margins, bolding, etc.

According to Career Builder research, 77% of resumes have such mistakes. When they do, you're dramatically increasing the chances of your resume ending up in the wrong pile. 

What to do instead

It’s really tough to proofread your own work, and you might not have an eye for it anyway, so be sure to get the right support. Ask a friend to look over your resume before you submit or use an online grammar service to see if there’s anything amiss.

To lead you successfully to an interview for a job or career that’s satisfying and meaningful, your resume needs to be the result of effort you’ve already made to clarify your personal mission, goals, strengths, values and brand. 

While it may seem like there’s always something to improve on your resume, just remember: your resume is a persuasive marketing tool designed to market you in a genuine, honest and on-brand way for work that will make your heart sing and that is an excellent mutual fit. It should help you get the job you really want and deserve.

For more resume tips, grab my free 2022 resume cheat sheet.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for resume updates? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.

Trie Angeleva, MA, MA is a Certified Career Coach, Mindful Career Change Strategist, Founder of The Love Monday Method and Owner of Reimagine Monday. You can find her @reimaginemonday on Instagram or at reimaginemonday.com.

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