Zombie Career Advice – Part III

The 1980’s Resume Lives! Career Advice on How to Modernize It


If you have not searched for a new position in 10 or more years, you might not realize how much the rules of self-marketing have changed.

Here are some of the features of the 1980’s (or outdated) resume:

• Has an “objective”, which is mainly focused on what you want, not what you offer
• Uses an outdated format (Dates on the left, with little room to depict your accomplishments)
• Features Ariel, Helvetica, or Times New Roman font
• Includes your marital status, and how many children you have
• Lists job duties, not accomplishments
• Ends with “References provided upon request”

It’s time for a refresh.

Today, you can integrate many modern features and still appeal to those hiring for a conservative industry or job function.

Consider some of these important updates to your resume:

• Use color sparingly, for instance, in your headings (Experience, Education, and Expertise).
• Sprinkle a few personal pronouns into your resume to add personal warmth.
• Use no more than two fonts, one for headings, and one for body text.
• Use only commonly available fonts, such as Cambria, Calibri, and Lucida Sans.
• Calibri copy fits very well for text in the body of the resume and is easy to read.
• Keep your audience in mind. (For instance, in creative fields such as graphic design or photography, add visual appeal. Include an infographic or visual timeline.)
• Include your best accomplishments. Briefly highlight how you solve problems and save money.
• Consider using a text box to call attention to your top skills. (No more than 10 to 12 “hard skills”).
• Consider breaking the page into columns, (1/3 and 2/3) to engage the reader.
• Use one page per 10 years of experience. No more than two pages.
• Go back only 10 – 15 years of your professional experience.
• If you graduated more than five years ago, your education goes toward the end of your resume.
• Consider adding a brief and credible Testimonials Section (similar to Recommendations on LinkedIn) at the end of the resume.

Write in a style that is authentic, relevant, and compelling.

By authentic, I mean write in a style that reflects you as a professional. Write what is relevant to the position you are targeting. Make your accomplishments compelling enough to generate interest.

It’s time to kill these zombie career myths, one outdated idea at a time!