By Phil Baker,
What do your resume and cover letters have to do with old computers? Would you buy a used 1994 computer running Windows 3.1 with a 40mg hard drive and not enough RAM to connect to the Internet? Hardly anyone would. Sure you might be able to upgrade the RAM, add a new hard drive, find a replacement mother board, and try installing Windows 7. But after all this work and expense you might as well had bought a new current computer in the first place. Estimates are that there are more than 60 million obsolete computers sitting in storage units in the US alone. Nobody wants obsolete equipment. Employers do not want to hire obsolete employees either.
There are resume red flags that signal an employer that a candidate is obsolete. Some of these signs are easy to detect and others are a bit obscure or can be read between the lines. If you have not kept up with general technology, advances in your field, or appear career stagnant you can be marked obsolete. You do not have to be old to be obsolete in today’s job market. Even if you are a new grad entering the work force by omitting certain information or using the wrong words you can appear outdated. If an employer detects any of these red flags, you might be rejected:
You are Career Stagnant: Because technology is such a major factor that affects most jobs and is constantly advancing you can become career stagnant. You can appear career stagnant if you have been on the same job more than five years and do not show any technology or computer education or training during that time period or mention your current technology skills.
Your Renewable Skills have not Been Updated: There are durable skills and renewable skills. Requirements for some skills remain current or durable while others need regular updating or to be renewed. Foreign language skills, communication skills, and team work skills, all have knowledge bases that remain effective and are classified as durable skills. Many career specific skills such as being a Doctor, IT Manager, Computer Technician, or Auto Mechanic require regular updating of specific skill information and practice. If your resume includes renewable skills and your education in those areas is more than five years old you need to demonstrate they are current to avoid appearing obsolete.
There are also obsolete or near obsolete skills such as a typewriter manufacturing engineer. While the skill itself might be obsolete there are often skills associated with a profession that are transferable. A typewriter manufacturing engineer might have math, problem solving, and communication skills that are durable and could all be applied to a new and current career.
Your Phone Numbers: The phone numbers you use and how you label them on your resume can tell an employer a lot about you. If you use the word ‘cell’ in front of your phone number you need to delete the word. This is certainly not the worst offense but this action can exhibit you are behind the times. Few people have landlines and those who do should probably not date themselves by labeling their phone numbers as such. One phone number should be enough. If you feel the need to include a back up number, do so without labeling each one. The latest cell phone is a smart phone nowadays. Even if your phone is not an appendage like most people of this century, a phone number can follow and ring on any phone wherever you are.
While fax numbers were all the rage a few decades ago back when people under age 25 knew who Madonna was, unless you are faxing a resume to an employer, including a fax number on your resume screams obsolescence and is of no use to most employers.
Your Email Address: If you do not include an email address on your resumes and cover letters, even if you are sending hard copies, you might as well plan on staying home. The lack of an email address demonstrates an archaic or lazy candidate, and neither will get an interview.
There has been so much written about having a professional sounding email address, if you have a goofy or unprofessional one then you appear in the dark or illiterate. Get a professional sounding email address. If your email account is with AOL, you might also appear archaic.
You Have Been Unemployed: If you have been out of work for more than three years for any reason you could be behind the times. Depending on your field you might need to show you are current with some updated training.
You Have Been Working Outside Your Career: Just like being unemployed, if you have been away from your career for a period of time working in another field or at a temporary job you might need to do some catching up. The amount of time absent from your career before you appear obsolete depends on what field you are in. Being away from some information technology fields for more than a year or so can be detrimental while missing from carpentry work for several years might not be a big deal.
Your Lingo is Outdated: Nothing can mark you as outmoded faster than the vocabulary you use. With the advent of web social conversation and texting, words are coined daily for events, people, things, feelings, technology and so on. Some are used in general conversation, as business buzzwords, or the words are industry specific. Many of these terms are here today and gone tomorrow. Using outdated words on your resume will make you look obsolete. Technology related words such as: information superhighway, worldwide web, paperless office, long distance and personal digital assistant (PDA) can all make you appear outmoded.
Hyoâ€™s Note â€“ Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator SoftwareÂ ProgramÂ (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com.Â Resume DictionaryÂ might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.Â