Times have changed. Today's resume is not the same as your mother’s.
With Mother's Day coming up, you're probably thinking a lot about the woman who raised you. Whether she was a strong career woman who inspired you to go after your professional dreams or a nurturing stay-at-home mom who invested her time at home raising you, she taught you how to be the person you are today.
Still, as great as Mom is, kids will be kids and inevitably view her as outdated in some regards, such as her questionable understanding of social media or recent fashion trends. When it comes to your career, for example, you wouldn't want to wear her outfit from decades ago into an interview. The same goes for your resume because that ever-so-important document has changed over time. Here are the components of a modern resume template, plus how to dress it up properly for the times from head to toe.
Mom's resume: Your mom's resume probably had her name at the top along with her street address and home phone number. Depending on her age it may have included things like her birthdate or age, marital status, religion, and health.
Your resume: Now, employers are looking for completely different information. Your name, city and town (no street address needed), cell phone number, email, and a link to your online portfolio, Linkedin account, or personal webpage are what should populate your header.
Mom's resume: On Mom's resume, you'd likely find a heading called the “Objective.” This is where she would talk about her career goals. However, the resume objective statement has gone the way of bell bottoms and is not likely to make a comeback.
Your resume: If you're tight on space (remember to keep it to one page if you're just out of school and two pages if you're a seasoned pro), you don't need anything here. Your cover letter could do the trick. However, a professional summary that highlights your best skills and biggest accomplishments is a great way to catch the eye of an employer who's skimming your resume quickly. Remember, it's not just about you — it's about what you can bring to their company.
Mom's resume: Of course, Mom put all of her education on her resume. She even included graduation dates, GPAs, and maybe even major test scores.
Your resume: Unlike Mom, keep it simple on a modern resume. Add the name and location of your high school and any college you have along with the degrees earned — no dates. Even though employers aren't legally allowed to discriminate against age, why give it away?
Mom's resume: Mom is a very thorough woman and probably listed every job she ever had, no matter how small, and then went into detail about all of the things she did at each position. She used a lot of great words like punctual, diligent, and reliable in there too.
Your resume: List only your jobs over the last 10-15 years, and keep it short and to the point. Use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments — not what you did all day, but what you actually accomplished for that company. Keep in mind that human readers like active verbs that relate to the job, while applicant tracking systems are tuned into keywords. Look at the job posting to get an idea of what words will jump out at them.
Also, make sure the formatting of your modern resume template is clean, consistent, and professional.
Mom's resume: What better way to close out your resume than with some great people who will vouch for you listed as your references? Mom probably listed out three to five references or, if she was short on space, put “References Available Upon Request.”
Your resume: Space is at a premium on your resume and it's a little early in the game to be worrying about references. As for the “upon request” line, that's a given. There's no need to state it. However, you do want to carefully choose great references and keep them handy for when they are needed.
On Mother's Day, get Mom a gift, give her a hug, and make sure she knows just how much she's inspired and taught you. But, just like you probably aren't sporting the same hairdo she had back in the day, don't let your resume make you look outdated — Mom would agree.
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