Q: I have not updated my resume in over 20 years. It will take a lot of work. I do have an updated LinkedIn profile. Is that a reasonable substitute? Do employers still review resumes? Resumes seem old-fashioned to me.
A: Employers still often request resumes. An updated LinkedIn profile is great, but it is not a substitute for a resume. If you have a current LinkedIn profile, you should have most of the content for an updated resume. You would need to take time to format and organize a current revision.
Why do employers like resumes?
- It demonstrates how you perceive your work history and professional capabilities. If you have omitted a role, that is a yellow flag. If you have embellished your results or accomplishments, that is a yellow flag. “Factual but flattering” is how I often describe a strong resume.
- It gives the reviewer some insight as to how you organize and approach a written document. A resume is a part of your pitch. You are hoping that your resume is one of the documents which helps you receive an offer from an employer. Hence, the resume. The resume should be custom tailored to the role of interest, if possible. It is often the first glimpse of who you are as a candidate.
- It should be formatted in a logical and legible way. It should not include every achievement in your background. It should focus on your accomplishments and results.
- No typos or spelling errors are ever permitted. I still see manger frequently on resumes. Spell check does not catch all typos!
- Twenty years ago, sometimes candidates would add personal details. While interesting, these details can sometimes signal a candidate who has not kept current with contemporary resume conventions. Remove any reference to “married, member of the ABC Church, three children, two dogs, etc.”
Finally, I recommend reviewing your resume annually. I critique my personal resume every January. I rarely get asked for a copy of my resume, but it is an uncertain world. I would rather edit it annually than have to capture relevant information every few years. I recommend that same process for a LinkedIn profile. Review it at least annually, if not more often. Once you have a current version, don’t let another 20 years pass before at least giving it a cursory review!
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.