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Is your resume builder-grade?

Last week, I told you we moved. I ended up buying a house. After several years of renting, now I can make permanent changes to this place, and not worry about having to change anything back!

This house was built about 20 years ago, and while it’s freshly painted throughout and has “good bones”, there are things about it that look dated. For example, the bathrooms: They have that basic white ceramic tile, those plastic crystal-look spherical faucet handles (you know the ones I mean), and the dressing room style vanity lights with the strip of frosted round bulbs. The whole look is 1999 Builder Grade. I’m already planning updates.

Straight outta 1999.

There are less glaring things, too: All the interior door knobs and hinges are brass. Brass is, as I understand it, passé. I plan to replace them all with dark, oiled bronze hardware. And the ceiling lights and fans? Vintage 1999. Replacing those is an easy way to refresh the overall look of the house.

While the house is perfectly functional as is, making some cosmetic changes will make it feel new, fresh, and current. And that conveys pride of ownership and suggests to others that we care about the space we inhabit.

Is your resume builder-grade? Did you create it 20 years ago from the standard template in Word? Is it looking tired and dated, with its Times New Roman or Arial font? Have you updated more than just the content since you first created it?

You wouldn’t think that stylistic choices such fonts matter, but I’m here to tell you they do, and so does the formatting. Not because some hiring manager has a random personal preference for sans-serif fonts, but because of the subtext conveyed by your resume’s appearance.

A dated-looking resume can telegraph the message that you aren’t all that serious about your job search. It can imply that you haven’t given it much thought. It might suggest that you’re as passé as Times New Roman. That’s not the message you want hiring managers to receive.

If you play poker, you probably know what a “tell” is: it’s a slight change in a player’s demeanor that some say gives a clue to what the player thinks of their hand. It’s an unstated conveyance of information.

Your resume might have stellar content, but even so, its appearance might be a tell that suggests you’ve got one foot planted in the past.

If you want your resume to stand out from the stack, you need to use a fresh format and a modern, easy-to-read font. Something eye-catching that makes the hiring manager pause, linger, and keep on reading. Nothing too crazy – just not the same old template that everyone else is using because it’s included with their word processing software.

Also, you should reconsider all the content every time you update it. Edit the older parts of your resume to remove details that have become less significant over time. Remove references to obsolete skills or technology. Focus your effort on presenting your most recent 10-15 years of work.

An updated, modern-looking resume conveys the message that you’re a candidate who’s ready and able to meet new challenges – one who’s worth calling in for an interview.

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