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Why Your Executive Resume Template From 20 Years Ago Is Getting Ignored

Ah, the 90s. The era of answering machines, computer monitors that took up all of our desk space, and awkward paper maps. It was also the era of resume readers who may have spent a bit more time perusing your printed resume as their fingers admired your fine paper choice.

But times have changed and if you are an executive job seeker who is still clinging to that resume template your career counselor gave you when you graduated long ago, you are doing yourself a disservice as you attempt to connect with modern-day readers.

It isn’t just that it brands you as old-fashioned (it does.) It’s that it doesn’t cater to a reader who has grown accustomed to lightning-speed engagement and who is ever-ready to click on something more interesting.

Despite its ineffectiveness, the 90s resume template is alive and well, circulating between executive job seekers and their more-finicky-than-you-might-think audiences. I see them almost every day from people who come to me puzzled that no one is interested in their impressive background.

Here are a few tell-tale signs that your resume needs a modern overhaul:

  • It offers the reader no summary at the top, but dives right into your work history. With this approach, you are hoping the reader can piece together the puzzle of your past and know exactly where you fit in today—a task they simply won’t perform.
  • It contains a lengthy 5+ line paragraph at the top of the resume that you think is capturing the attention of your reader, but it isn’t.
  • It includes an objective statement that is usually filled with banalities that you probably included way back when you had no real experience to speak of, but today offers no insight into who you are and why your reader should pick up the phone and call you.
  • It offers lengthy descriptions of your core responsibilities in each role in the experience section rather than focusing on how you transformed your company.
  • It has no visual strategy so that readers may skim and quickly identify the most impressive information.

What’s an executive job seeker at the cusp of 2019 to do? The first step is to forget what you learned about resumes from your career counselor, who probably gave you very accurate information for use back in the day.  The second step is to take a look at resumes that really create a lasting impression on today’s modern reader and make people want to reach out. You can start with the TORI–award-winning resumes here.

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