When Do You Realise Your Resume is Not Working?
If your resume is not working, no one will tell you. Nobody is going to ring you or email you to say “It’s not you, you’re awesome, it’s your resume that that’s letting you down.” The fact is they will simply ignore your resume, or you will get the standard ‘on this occasion, your application has been unsuccessful’ letter.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer as to why you are getting consistent rejections, but the good news is that it is most probably not you; it is that your resume is not working in your best interests.
The sooner you realise that it is more than likely your resume that needs work and not you, the better.
Treat Your Resume With the Respect it Deserves
Your resume is not something to be knocked off in an evening as an irritating chore that has to be done in order to secure an interview. Does your resume just go from Company A to Company B, without context or a list of the key successes you brought to that role? The hiring manager wants to know why you moved from position to position. What were your motivations? Were you being proactive or reactive at each juncture? That is a crucial element – your prospective employer wants to see the logical through-line in your resume, and nine times out of ten that’s exactly what’s left out.
Enough About Your Past Employers – What about You?
Hiring managers would love to know how you approach problems and take ownership of your job and career. They want to know how you have grown as a professional within your chosen industry over the years. The standard format, with a seemingly endless list of job responsibilities (hint – never more than eight, after that it is snooze time) laden with inevitably repetitive, albeit factual bullets, simply just says ‘This is what the role demanded, so this is what I did’. It is passive, predictable, and poorly thought through. What the hirer really wants to know is “This is the role I took on and this is what I brought to that position because of the following qualities.”
This is why key achievements are so important. These powerful statements will give your resume a unique insight into you and the way you operate. It will be totally unlike the other resumes in the pile and gives you that vital edge. We have written about the formatting and purpose of making from resume standout with key achievements, but we cannot stress enough how valuable these will be to you and how they often make the difference between making the shortlist or the discard pile.
Keywords are King, but Verbiage is Deadly
By now, everyone knows the importance of industry keywords and an active voice when penning a resume. And indeed you have to demonstrate this in your career overview and especially in your cover letter. However, throwing a dictionary at the document is not going to going to impress anyone. And furthermore padding out the document with irrelevance isn’t going to win you any prizes either.
Do not just throw words onto a page and assume that your reader will meet you halfway and somehow extract your true meaning from a jumble of weak verbs and non-parallel bullet points. If you have a slightly confusing subheading or awkward phrase in your resume, do not ignore the problem with a thought like: “Well, it’s okay. The reader will know what I meant. She’s smart. She’ll figure it out.” She might. Or she might glaze over and move onto the next resume in the stack.
Every job you have ever held going back to serving burgers after school might show commitment to duties, but unless it augments your progressive career arc – lose it. It is far better to have a focussed resume that speaks to the role you are targeting than to have a ram-packed, seamless timeline to jobs that the reader has to sift through to get to the important details.
Do Not Get Despondent, Call in the Experts
If all this sounds like hard work, do not worry. At the very least, you will now consider that it is your resume not working and is no lack of skills on your behalf. A resume is fixable, and Select Resumes are great fixers. As part of our resume writing services, we will put all this advice and much more into action on your behalf and give you the best chance to make that interview shortlist.