Why Isn’t Your Resume Getting You the Job? – Part One
If you are finding that your resume is not getting you the job that you have applied for, maybe even consistently so, it could be that you are taking the wrong approach with your document. The employment landscape is changing almost on a daily basis. What were once immovable truths about careers and types of careers that were dependable and ‘safe’ are literally shifting as you read this. People who haven’t dusted off their resumes in years – and some who have never had to write one at all – are suddenly in a situation where a resume, if not needed right now, is increasingly becoming a priority item that should be held in preparation.
Before you forge ahead and bring your resume up-to-date, take a moment to think and to decide where you need to make adjustments or even change course in your career. When was the last time you really looked at your resume? Is your certification up to date? Are your references still viable? Is it up-to-date in terms of your employment history? Does it showcase your personality and best assets? Is it too long or too wordy? Does it effectively communicate to employers why they need to hire you, right now, over anybody else? Since your resume can play such a large role in an employer’s decision to interview you, making adjustments to it can sometimes make an enormous difference.
If you’re repeatedly being rejected for the same position, it’s time to seriously evaluate why. Are you competing against applicants with more skills and experience? If so, what steps can you take – either through perhaps a slightly lesser position or via upskilling and professional development to expand your skills and make yourself more competitive?
There are numerous professional development courses and certificate programs offered through community colleges, university extension courses or professional trade organisations. You could also look into internships and volunteering opportunities as a means of gaining valuable experience. Many courses are part-time or online and therefore won’t inhibit your earning power whilst studying if you are still in a job.
Another reason your resume not getting you the job is not your suitability for the role, but the content and layout of the document itself. You need to make the life of the Human Resources person as easy and comfortable as possible. They have a lot of resumes to read. And although it is their job to give each profile its fair and due consideration, this does not let you off the leash by presenting a poorly constructed resume where they have to decipher and pull out the salient information. One simple tip is to avoid personal pronouns. If you’re a job-searching novice, this piece of advice might sound strange, but it will considerably improve up your presentation. Companies want to hire people who can make a contribution to their business, and the best way to do that is to literally take “I” out of your resume. Reword everything so personal pronouns like “I,” “me,” or “my” are absent. If this is a challenge, have someone proofread your work.
When you apply for a job, ensure the resume has the requisite keywords appropriate to both the company and the specific position being advertised. Why? It shows you’re speaking the same language as the hiring manager. Hiring managers use certain keywords in the job posting or description, and it’s important to show that you’re aligned with their way of thinking by using similar terminology to convey your specific skill sets, qualifications and experience.
Make sure you highlight your key achievements form throughout your career. Employers assume that anyone applying for an advertised role will have the requisite qualifications and experience, so in that respect, the resumes will all follow a familiar pattern, In order to ‘jump the queue’ and make it to the interview selection process, helping the HR manager get a glimpse of you as an individual vastly improves your chances of being seen. Hard data showing your accomplishments is far more impressive than a short description of your job duties. Tell prospective employers that you doubled sales numbers or surpassed your revenue target by 50%, not the nuts and bolts of your job description.
In Part Two, we’ll look at more ways to solve the vexed reason as to why your resume isn’t getting you the job.