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12 tips for improving your resume

Q: I have noticed that more and more resumes do not contain objectives at the top. I was told many years ago that this section was required. Is my information dated?

A: Resumes have changed in several ways:

1. Use a simple font that can be scanned. Many large employers use scanning systems as part of their applicant tracking systems, or ATS. If your resume is scanned, an image of your resume can be opened by the hiring team. Fancy fonts can sometimes confuse an ATS, making your information more difficult to retrieve.

2. Keep it to two pages or under. My resume is two pages. Unless you have a lot of patents, publications, etc., longer is not better.

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3. Keep your resume current. Every January, I review my resume. You want to be ready to share a resume immediately.

4. Use a font size that is not microscopic, and use the same font throughout. Switching fonts can give a resume a sloppy look.

5. Most hiring professionals want to see your most recent experience at the top. Reverse chronological order is best.

6. White space is your friend. Don’t fill every square inch. Use consistent formatting. Avoid logos.

7. Keywords are your friends, too. Make sure that your resume contains relevant keywords. Hiring professionals will often search an ATS by keywords.

8. There’s no need to include “references available upon request.” If an employer is interested in hiring you, they will ask for references.

9. Proofread, and then ask someone else to proofread. Sometimes we don’t catch our own mistakes. No typos or grammatical errors.

10. The “objective” section is dated — replace it with a summary of your career.

11. Include your LinkedIn profile at the top of your resume. Recruiters will look it up anyway — make it easier for them.

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Pattie Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group in Hopkinton.