When it comes to writing your resume there’s a lot of old and outdated advice out there. But not all the “old” ways are necessarily irrelevant. On the flipside, not all the shiny new resume trends out there are worth following blindly.
Let’s take a walk through the different stages of preparing your resume and compare what traditional and modern techniques you can apply (or avoid!).
Old School: Word or PDF resume
OUR VERDICT: The wonders of technology means you can stand out in a number of different ways, but not always for the better. The problem with all these “new school” formats is that they’re often executed poorly, are unnecessary and can be confusing. If you’re applying for a creative job, then it makes sense to have a more creative approach. But for most, we suggest sticking with a traditional word or PDF resume.
Old School: Formal, Times New Roman
New School: Fancy fonts, graphs and graphics
OUR VERDICT: Your resume design should be a nice blend of traditional and modern. Don’t go overboard with the fonts and images but walls of Times New Roman text isn’t appealing either. Aim for readability when it comes to resume design. “Skills graphs” are a recent trend that, although eye catching, don’t really add much value to your application. Keep your resume clean and simple so that your content is what really shines!
Old School: Lists of Roles and Responsibilities, Personal Details
New School: Achievements-Based Resume, Functional Resume
OUR VERDICT: When it comes to content, the new way is mostly the better way. Old school practices of having a headshot, age, sex and marital status details on your resume are DEFINITELY outdated. And gone are the days where your Professional History section was just a laundry list of duties. These days the focus is on including achievements and results in your resume; try to quantify these achievements as much as possible. But there is one old-fashioned section we do still enjoy seeing on resumes: Personal Interests. It should only be small and not include anything detrimental to your application, but otherwise it’s a nice touch that adds personality to your application.
On another note, the functional resume is a “new school” format that isn’t normally well-received by most employers. You can read more about why we don’t recommend functional resumes here.
SENDING YOUR RESUME
Old School: Mail or In-Person
New School: Email or Online Applications
OUR VERDICT: Mailing or delivering your resume in-person is impractical for the person receiving it, so electronic wins the day here! But when emailing or applying online, remember to maintain a professional tone, use a professional email and customize your applications.
But once you’ve sent in your application, pick up that smartphone and prepare yourself for an old school phone follow up!