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7 ways your resume is holding you back

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A resume is still an important part of today's job search since you'll frequently be asked for this document even when you're filling in an online application. Conventional wisdom says that while a resume may not land you a job on its own, it can eliminate you from consideration.

Here are seven ways your resume could be holding you back:

You start with an objective statement

Leading off with an objective statement may once have been advisable, but it's now seen as outdated. The initial screening process is about what the company wants, not what you want, WiseBread explains, making your objective pretty irrelevant at this stage. If you get an interview, you can talk about your career goals at that time but leave them out of your resume.

You're not using the right keywords

Employers often utilize software to screen resumes for keywords that indicate you'll be a good fit for the job, Monster says. Use the job posting as a guide and put key phrases from it in your resume. For example, if the employer is looking for someone who is "fluent in analytics," use this exact phrase, assuming it applies to your skills and experience, in your resume (in as natural a way as possible, of course).

Your resume is full of fluff

If your resume is filled with filler words and fluff - like saying that you're "dynamic" or "results-oriented" and that you "exceed expectations," you're being too vague, according to Work It Daily. And these filler words are being used by many other candidates, so they won't make you stand out. The employer wants to know how many projects you've overseen, what you did and how it exceeded expectations. Be specific.

You didn't include dates

In an effort to avoid age discrimination, some job candidates will leave dates off their resume. But this is such an expected part of a resume that leaving it off stands out in a negative way, U.S. News & World Report warns. If you're worried about revealing your age, include only your last 15 years of experience. This time period is often more relevant to employers, so it gives them the information they need without aging yourself.

You have unexplained gaps in your employment

Employers usually understand that life happens and that gaps in work history aren't uncommon, WiseBread says. What concerns them, however, is large gaps without any explanation. If you have periods of unemployment, include a single line of explanation, such as "Family Care" if you took time off while raising your kids or "Volunteering for XYZ organization."

Your resume is too long

One page is a good resume length if you're in your 20s, since you probably don't have much job experience. Your resume can go up to two pages if you're older, U.S. News & World Report says, but that should be the limit. An employer doesn't have the time or inclination to read three, four or even more pages, and an extremely lengthy resume will make him or her think you have terrible judgment or an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

You list irrelevant work experience

Related experience usually matters most to employers, so if you include irrelevant past experience, you're distracting the recruiter, according to The Muse. Include only those skills that can be transferred to the position you're applying for instead of every job you've ever held. Provide details about any accomplishments or training that could benefit you in the job you're applying for.