You’ve sent 20 plus résumés and haven’t heard a peep. The silence is deafening. You don’t know if somehow your reputation has been tarnished. Perhaps it’s a previous co-worker spreading dirty lies about you (this really happened!). Before you jump to conclusions, we have a very easy answer for you: something is wrong with your résumé. Chances are your résumé is not connecting with employers, or more precisely, the HR professional screening it. Remember that your résumé has one job, SELL YOU. Let’s assume that your résumé is organized and you are applying for jobs you are qualified for—what else could be wrong? Lots of things.
Here are the Four Top Culprits why your résumé isn’t working:
1. It’s Too Long
Your résumé should not exceed two pages in length, end of story.* No experienced résumé writer will want to write anything longer, and neither should you. It’s simple, refrain from adding every job responsibility or achievement. Is it really vital that you include that you won the award for Best Dressed in 2002, three jobs ago? Nope. Remember that your résumé is a marketing document that accurately highlights your experience considering the company and position of which you are applying. If you must, create an all-encompassing document that lists every role, every achievement; but, don’t send it. Use it as a reference and pull elements from it depending on the job you are seeking.
2. Your Résumé Format Is Out Of Sync
Would you show up to an interview for a banking position dressed in overalls? Not if you want the job. Just as dressing to match an employer’s environment, it’s just as important to match a résumé to your reader. For example, a woman moved from San Francisco to Colorado Springs and brought her love of white space and color to her résumé. After six months sending over 50 résumés to positions of which she was qualified for, the only company that called her for an interview was a start-up in Denver. Clearly Colorado Springs companies were more conservative and didn’t respond well to her creative résumé style. Do a bit of research and align your format with the role, region, and industry.
3. Don’t Be a Spammer
If your sole job is to read through hundreds of résumés a day, you can instantly can tell when someone has put no effort to research the position and tailor the résumé to the job. It takes time, but if you want to end up in the dreaded Do Not Call pile, then keep sending the same résumé to every job opening. Things that indicate you didn’t take the time and are spamming: the title and description don’t match the job you are applying for or even if your street address is missing. Leaving out your street address tips us off that you might be spamming. Why? Are you sending your résumé indiscriminately and thus worried that an employer might mishandle your information or disqualify you if you aren’t local? Remember that finding a job is like dating (a subject for another blog post). You want your future employer to feel special and that you’ve taken the time to put your best foot forward. Spend the extra 5 to 10 minutes to tailor your résumé and target to the company and job.
4. You’re Not a Great Writer
Not everyone is a great writer, and writing to get a response from a hiring manager is a very specialized skill. A professional writer can help you write concisely and use the those two pages in the best way. A professional will have seen thousands of different résumés, styles, and have written for hundreds of different positions and companies. Professionals know what’s worked for other clients, and what’s not. Don’t be scared to get help, there’s a good chance a great writer doesn’t have the skills you have either!
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*We know, we know there are industries that specifically ask for longer resumes, we obviously are not referring to those.