There’s no doubt that we live in a culture obsessed with youth. That doesn’t mean you’re over the hill at 40. Many people are active and working in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond–if you’re Betty White well beyond–but most of us don’t want to brag about it. The fact is that age discrimination is alive and well.
One of the keys to staying attractive to potential employers is to not look or act out-of-date – in person or on paper. This doesn’t that you shouldn’t post a photo on your LinkedIn profile. Profiles without pictures only make recruiters, and potential employers, wonder what you may be hiding. And the truth is they are going to meet you during the interview process. So there’s no reason to hide.
Still, there are many ways you can date yourself without realizing it. Here are three ways your resume can make you look old.
1. Objective Statement
Over the years, styles change. You wouldn’t wear the same suit as you did 20 years ago. Unless you’re a collector, the car you’re driving looks a lot different too. The same is true for resumes.
When I started working Objective Statements were on everyone’s resume. I recall Objective Statements were used to let employers know that a candidate had some career direction. Today having an Objective Statement on your resume makes it scream obsolete.
Maybe even worse than being outdated an Objective Statement implies that your focus is on you. Big mistake. Like most of us employers are listening to station WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). They want to know how you can solve their problems. Creating a succinct Summary Statement updates your resume and puts the focus on what you can do for the employer.
2. Old-Fashioned Email Address
Back in the 90’s having an aol.com email address indicated that you were ahead of the curve, an early adopter of new technology. That was last century. Today having an AOL email address, even a yahoo.com email address, makes you look decidedly outdated.
The trendy email address to have today is gmail.com. The good news is that Gmail is free and easy to join. No need to eliminate that old aol.com email, use it to keep up with friends and family.
When you do create a new email address opt for one that sounds professional. For example, your name or a variation on your name that will look appropriate on your resume. Cutesy email addresses like talketome@ or carguy@ are best kept for personal use.
3. Clichés, Clichés, Clichés
One thing that’s sure not to impress potential employers is a resume filled with clichés. Everyday recruiters get resumes from out-of-the-box thinkers and team-players. Tired phrases like detail-oriented or excellent communication skills are not likely to impress anyone either. Neither are bullets that begin responsible for or duties included.
You’re much more likely to get a recruiter’s attention by including examples that actually show what you can do. That means a resume that highlights your skills and achievements. A resume that illustrates how you saved time, saved money, generated income, etc. for a previous employer.
Will making these changes make you look 20 years younger? Not likely. Nor should you want them too, particularly if you are looking for a more senior position. But, they will keep your resume looking fresh and up-to-date. Remember, your resume may be the first time a potential employer meets you. Shouldn’t it reflect someone who’s on top of his or her game?