You’ve been searching the internet for weeks and you’ve applied for job after job. You’ve uploaded your cover letter and resume and followed all the instructions, but still you have gotten no response. You know you are qualified and in some cases overqualified. So why aren’t you getting responses?? This is the job search life cycle:
Job Posting > Cover Letter > Resume > Interview > Follow Up > Offer Letter > Negotiation > Job
Each step points or leads to the next step. If you’re not getting to the next step, then you know where the problem lies. So, if you are not getting called for interviews then you know your problem is your resume. The sole purpose of a resume is to highlight your career accomplishments that are related to the job you are trying to get so that you can get an interview. Here are 5 reasons why your resume is being overlooked:
1) NOT VISUALLY APPEALING
Employers receive approximately 100 resumes for every 1 job they post. So you can imagine having to go through resume after resume to find the desired candidate. They will spend about 10 seconds initially looking to see if you have the qualities they are seeking. When you go into a retail store, why do you think they put the clearance items in the aisles? Because that gets your attention. You have to make your resume visually appealing to get the employer’s attention. Print out your resume and hold it up at arm’s length. Are you drawn to your own resume? Would you read it? Would you call yourself for an interview? If you’re not drawn to your own resume an employer won’t be either. To make it visually appealing spread things out and take up the entire page so that there’s not a lot of white space. Enlarge your headings so employers can navigate through your resume quickly and find the information they need. Try putting lines in between each section also to make them “pop.” Also bold your job titles and degrees – not the company name or school attended.
2) NO BUZZWORDS/INDUSTRY TERMINOLOGY
Because employers receive so many resumes, there is no way that they can manually read through ALL of them. So they will use resume scanning software to “weed out” the ones that don’t have buzzwords. 60% of job seekers eliminate themselves just based on this 1 fatal mistake. You have to write your resume as if you are writing to the hiring manager. If you want to be a Teacher, write your resume to the Principal. If you want to be a Market Analyst, write your resume to the Marketing Manager. if you want to be an HR Generalist, write your resume to the Director of Human Resources. You have to use industry terminology to let the hiring manager know that you know what you are talking about.
3) DOESN’T LIST ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Your resume is your time to shine. If you don’t brag on yourself, who will? Employers want to know what you can do for them. Don’t just list daily tasks you performed – focus on results. You should include as much hard data as possible – %, $, #. Examples would be:
Increased sales by 30% within 6 months of hire date by implementing advanced sales techniques to increase market share
Supervised 12 employees and daily business operations i.e. sales, merchandising, expense/inventory control
Secured 22 sponsorships from local businesses ranging from $5K – $10K for annual company golf tournament
4) NOT TAILORED TO THE JOB YOU ARE APPLYING FOR
When you write your resume in general, you are writing a “foundation” to build on and it is very important that you tailor it for each job you apply for. Why? Because your resume has to “match the job.” The best way to do this is carefully read the job description. Look at the words they use in their qualifications and job summary. They are telling you the skills/qualifications they would like to have in their desired candidate. That is your cheat sheet. “Tweak” your general resume to fit what they are looking for. I know you are saying, “That will take a long time if I do that for every job!” Now, in case no one has told you — looking for a job IS a job. So, yes it is time-consuming to change your resume for each job you are applying for, but it is necessary.
5) TOO LENGTHY
As I mentioned before, you have about 10 seconds to get the employer’s attention. So you need to be quick and to the point. Most employers will say they like 1 page resumes and want your last 10 years of experience. So, try decreasing your margins so you will have more room. Not everything you have done on every job is relevant to the job you are trying to get. Besides, who are you trying to impress? The employer or yourself??!! (Hmmm…….) Now, if you have 10+ years of RELEVANT experience, you can go to the 2nd page but don’t get carried away. (I have worked for 17 years and my resume starts at 2005. What I did prior to that I don’t want to do again and really don’t want to talk about.)
BONUS TIP: Be sure to have someone else critique your resume – industry professional, colleague or a professional resume writer. You have an emotional attachment to the information and may not be able to decide what you should keep and what is irrelevant. Someone looking at it for the first time may see things that you don’t see. A professional resume writer will also be able to help you decide what is necessary based on the latest resume trends so you can brand yourself appropriately.