Career Counseling: what has changed (3)?

Resumes have changed in the several decades that I’ve been reading/writing/editing them.

Here are a few conventional thoughts from thirty years ago:

  • Job objectives should be straightforward: general enough for printing 50 copies, specific enough for the job you’re pursuing.
  • Better leave off those hobbies: you might look like a dilettante.
  • Omit college or high school graduation dates: you might be too old.
  • If you have a gap in your work history, you had better switch to a functional resume.
  • Of course, employers don’t like functional resume because it looks like you are hiding something!
  • Portfolios? Work samples? They are for artists and models.

Fast forward to 2008. Things have changed, and your resume has changed, too. For instance:

  • Job objectives can be tailored to the position you’re seeking with a few strokes of the keyboard.
  • Some hobbies can make you look physically fit, such as tennis, dancing, hiking and skiing.
  • Don’t forget to mention special skills, such as the ability to speak a foreign language, no matter how minimally.
  • It’s okay to include graduation dates, but of course you don’t need to line them up in a noticeable way along the edge of the text. If you don’t include them, someone will wonder why they were left off.
  • Gaps may be covered by community work, travel, or study.
  • Use the form of a resume that works for you. Those old barriers of functional or chronological formatting have morphed into an effective resume that is usually chronological, with plenty of creative emphasis on skills and accomplishments.
  • Don’t forget to highlight some skills by offering to show a work sample or a portfolio.

If you would like to discuss your resume with a career counselor to determine if it is telling your story in an effective way, please visit my website at for contact information.


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