Resumes have evolved with the employment market. From formats and font sizes to page length and contact information, advice about formatting your resume seems to change with the season. One thing is for sure: Effective resumes don’t look like they used to. Sections that used to work
for resumes 15 or even 10 years ago simply don’t anymore. So print out your resume and see if you’re due for an update.
Resumes used to start with objective statements. And they all read something like this: “To secure a position that will further my professional opportunities.” That doesn’t cut it anymore. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for something — anything — that conveys why you
are the perfect person for the job. Why? Because their livelihoods are on the line. Four out of 10 employers surveyed by CareerBuilder state that a bad hire will cost them at least $25,000 over the course of a year. It’s estimated that, for small businesses, where employees are expected to do many different jobs, the cost can be closer to $190,000 per year. That’s why employers are looking for more than a non-descript objective statement out of their prospective hires. Instead, replace the objective with a personal branding statement. This can be three to four sentences that tell and sell your story. Be sure to include industry-specific keywords that will help your resume pass through applicant tracking systems that companies use to screen incoming applications.
Another statement that does nothing more than take up valuable resume real estate:
“References available upon request.” Recruiters and hiring managers assume that you’ll be able to produce three to five people who can validate your experience and key skills. That step generally happens after the employer has had a chance to bring you in for an interview.
That being said, references are not completely obsolete. They are actually required for many government, science, and higher education positions. Read your target job description closely to find out if references are required for your application. If so, create a separate page devoted solely to your references. Just make sure the page is in the same format and overall design as your resume. This helps give your documents a cohesive look and feel.