As the founding managing director of an executive search firm, I know that when dealing with resumes, we’re as close to experts as they come. We receive and review hundreds of resumes every week. After a while, it’s hard not to spot certain “tricks of the trade” that many candidates use to cover up their age, or even worse — what they forget to conceal.
We asked the consultants in our office what they deem to be surefire signs of being a dinosaur (even though may people in our office are guilty of several of the anecdotes below themselves) and this is what they had to say…
1. You have an AOL account.
Many of the 20-somethings in our office were appalled that anyone — besides maybe their parents — still had an AOL account. I think that many didn’t realize that AOL was still in existence.
While this is, of course, not the case, it is something to consider. If you are applying for a job that puts an emphasis on digital, social, technology — or for that matter, youth — then perhaps it would be worthwhile to examine another domain.
2. You list your home phone number (or you have one at all).
In a day of instant communication, people want to reach you as soon and as fast as possible, and the quickest way is probably on the device that is permanently glued to your fingertips.
3. You leave off the year you graduated from college, or the first position you list is vice president.
Hiding your age or previous experience is never a good idea. One of our consultants once presented a candidate who decided, for unknown reasons, to omit a few years of his prior experience. He then moved forward and went on an interview. Someone he once worked with during those “lost years” was now employed at this new company — and also happened to have a conversation with the HR manager before the interview took place.
Once both individuals realized that they were speaking about the same person, the interview became not about what the candidate could bring to the company, but what else he may have left off his resume.
4. Your computer skills include Microsoft Word, or being Internet-savvy.
These are skills that are now assumed; they don’t need to be stated. If you are interviewing for a corporate or business position, you should have these skills down pat. Do list advanced computer skills, though.
5. When you offer to fax over your resume.
Trust me, too many times faxed documents are either lost through the wires, misplaced by your office intern, or go unnoticed for days. If you want to get someone’s attention, and do it fast, you should send your CV via email. This way, it’s instantly accessible, readable, and retrievable if and when that job becomes available.
6. When you have a fax.
LOL. Trade it in for a computer.
7. When your response is, “I’ve never needed a resume before…”
Even if you’ve been working in the same company for 20 years, or if you’re so fabulous that people have always hired you without even needing an interview prior, you should have a resume. You never know what will happen. This is not the economy to become lackadaisical or too comfortable. A resume lists your accomplishments and skill sets, and it’s easier to compose when a notable event takes place. This way, you won’t forget the details in passing years.
A founding member of Martens & Heads!, Kate Benson brings more than 15 years of industry experience and executive search expertise. She focuses on senior-level placements within the lifestyle practice and specializes in general management, sales, marketing, human resources, and operations. Her clients include global iconic brands as well as entrepreneurial startups.