Q: I have received different advice from a number of different job coaches. One suggested that I no longer include an objective at the top of my resume. Another suggested that I only include a summary. Another said that neither was required. What say you?
A: Resumes have changed over the years. Many decades ago, a typewriter was used. Today, most of us use some type of software package to create a resume. Over the years, I am compiled a quick list of resume tips. Here are my recommendations regarding resumes:
1. 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.
2. Limit 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.
3. Keep your resume current. Every January, I review my resume. You want to be ready to share a resume on a moment’s notice.
4. Use a font that is not microscopic. Tiny fonts are tough to read. Sometimes more information is not better. A resume is your professional commercial. It should interest the reader, but not cover every detail of your career. Use the same font though out your resume. Switching fonts can sometimes give a resume a sloppy look.
5. Most hiring professionals want to see your most recent experience at the top. A reverse chronological order is usually best.
6. White space is your friend. Don’t fill every square inch. Use consistent formatting. Avoid logos. Sometimes an ATS reads a logo incorrectly and then the image appears as a black box.
7. 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. When a job seeker is confused about keywords, I recommend thinking about key skills or phrases, which best describes your career interests. For a Human Resources representative, these keywords may be: human resources, benefits, onboarding, HRIS, talent acquisition.
8. No need to include “References Available Upon Request.” If interested, they will ask you for references!
9. Proofread and then ask someone else to proofread. Sometimes we don’t catch our own mistakes. No typos or grammatical errors please. Manger is not caught by spell check! I still see manger (vs. manager) all the time.
10. 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!
11. 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.
12. Include your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, at the top of your resume. Recruiters will try to find you on LinkedIn anyhow so make it easy for them. You can customize your LinkedIn URL. It will take you less than five minutes, and it is worth the five-minute investment. Google how to do this. Also, make sure your resume aligns with your LinkedIn profile.
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.