In this very downtrodden job market one of the most important job hunting aspects is your resume. It seems like so simple right? You just list your work experience, education and accomplishments. Well, yes and no. Your resume is your first impression with a potential employer so not only is it important what you put in the resume but how you put it in there. I just came upon an article that talks about how your resume can make you appear antiquated without even mentioning your age. The article listed the following tips:

1. Do not go crazy with the contacts portion, simply provide your email and cell phone number. By providing multiple phone numbers you are dating yourself as well as making it complicated to get in touch with you.

2. Be careful about using too much "resume" language. The article actually provides the following list of words that are most overused in resumes: "innovative, motivated, extensive experience, results-oriented, dynamic, proven track record, team player, fast-paced, problem solver, and entrepreneurial. Instead, use keywords from the job ad, which will help you get past the résumé-scanning programs many firms use nowadays". Most employers can read through this type of hollow language.

3. Avoid describing past employers. What does mean? Do not waste time explaining who the company and what they do.

4. Be sure to use relevant formatting. Examples for this include not including months of employment such as 3/2001 through 5/2009. Just state the years of service, months are only relevant to recent graduates.

5. Don't be afraid to elaborate on periods of self-employment. Employers will recognize this as initiative, also by minimalizing this it may appear as unemployment which would actually have a negative effect.

6. Restructuring the objective. Instead of stating what you are looking for from a company, detail more what you can offer the company. Detail your experience and highlight areas that you think might catch the hiring manager's attention for that position. Basically explaining why the position needs you not why you need the position. (But avoid being arrogant.)

7. You do not need to reveal when you received your degree. The degree and school are more important than when the education was acquired. To the point of the article, this may age you even more.

8. In that same light, you do not need to detail every job you have ever held. If your job experience dates back more than 15 years, only include up to then. Even if the experience beyond that may seem relevant to the position, with the way processes and technology advances, any past experience too dated will likely be irrelevant.

9. Do not showcase "run-of-the-mill skills". List specialized software programs such as QuickBooks or newer technologies.

10. Only list hobbies or activities that make you appear creative or energetic. The article states, "Athletic pursuits like cycling or running demonstrate vivacity, as do activities in which you're giving back -- organizing a fundraiser, for example. Experts once advised against noting religious activities, such as singing in a church choir, but that's changed; such activities telegraph integrity, a quality that's very important to hiring managers today."

11. Resume length should be aligned to how much time you have spent in the workforce. Resume rule makers often encourage a shorter resume, even one page if possible. While this is ideal for new entrants in the workforce, it is acceptable to have more than one page for those who have to detail more work experience. You do not want to cut out pertinent work experience for the sake of minimalization. In that same respect, try to keep the detail concise. Employers are looking for highlights not novels.

Hopefully this information is helpful to all you job seekers out there. Keep in mind that you are an asset, you just need to prove it.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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  1. After my many years of inteviewing potential employees you "have hit the nail on the head"