Q: I have noticed that more and more resumes do not contain objectives at the top. I was told many years ago that this section was required. Is my information dated? What would I put at the top of my resume instead?
A: Resumes have changed. Let me share some resume tips, while also answering your specific question.
- Use a simple font which can be scanned. Many large employers use scanning systems, as part of their applicant tracking system (ATS). If your resume is scanned, an image of your resume can be accessed by the hiring team. Fancy fonts can sometimes confuse an ATS, making your information more difficult to retrieve.
- Keep it to two pages or under. My resume is two pages. Unless you have a lot of patents, publications or similar, your resume should probably be one or two pages.
- Keep your resume current. Every January, I review my resume. You want to be ready to share a resume on a moment’s notice.
- Use a font that is not microscopic. Tiny fonts are tough to read. Sometimes more information is not better. A resume is your commercial. It should interest the reader, but not share every detail of your career. Use the same font though our your resume. Switching fonts can sometimes give a resume a sloppy look.
- Most hiring professionals want to see your most recent experience at the top. A reverse chronological order is best.
- White space is your friend. Don’t fill every square inch. Use consistent formatting. Avoid logos!
- Keywords are your friend too. Make sure that your resume contains keywords. Hiring professionals will often search an ATS by keywords. If your resume does not contain the keywords, you may be overlooked.
- No need to include “References Available Upon Request.” If interested, they will ask you for references!
- Proofread and then ask someone else to proofread. Sometimes we don’t catch our own mistakes. No typos or grammatical errors please.
- I think the Objective section is dated and should be replaced with Summary. It is a way for you to summarize your career for your audience. Take the opportunity and ensure that there are keywords included!
- Make sure that your contact information is accurate! I have called or emailed candidates only to discover that their email or phone number is not correct!
- Include your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, at the top of your resume. Recruiters will look up on LinkedIn anyhow so make it easy for them.
Resumes have changed over the years. However, an annual review should help with keeping your resume current.
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.