Why Isn’t Your Resume Getting You the Job? – Part Two
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. In the first part of this blog, we looked at some of the reasons why your resume is not getting you the job you thought you were perfectly suited to. Here, we will examine some more practical tips to improve your document.
Mind the Gap
It has always been the maxim that it is easier to get a job when you are in a job. However, COVID has meant that many stable jobs have been curtailed, so an end date of this year is reasonable to show on your resume. Also, showing the last ten years’ experience on your resume is generally sufficient, so you don’t need to clarify gaps earlier than this. However, you will need to account for more recent gaps that are not COVID related.
If it’s a short gap sandwiched between longer periods of employment, you can deflect attention by giving the dates of employment in years, rather than in months. For example, ‘2002 — 2006’ rather than ‘January 2002 — October 2006’. But if you were out of work for more than a few months, or your dates of employment are short, don’t try to conceal a gap. Instead, show how you used the time constructively.
As long as you can show that you were doing something during your period of unemployment, you can appear more attractive to a potential employer. Also, doing voluntary work, researching something, training, learning something new are all ways to show how you are occupying your time. Given that this pandemic has been so tough in so many sectors, employers are likely to be more ‘forgiving’ of long gaps in your work history.
If your work gaps are due to maternity leave, illness or just taking time out to travel, you can refer to this in your career profile. But do make a note of it, as an unexplained gap could raise eyebrows needlessly.
Lack of Experience?
If you are changing career and do not have much relevant experience to put on your resume, go with what you have got. Find examples from your existing industry or academic career which demonstrate how your skills, accomplishments and personal qualities are relevant to the role you’re applying for. Direct experience isn’t always the deciding factor, so ensure your other strengths stand out in your resume, covering letter, and at the interview. You may find that your resume is not getting you the job because you are not framing your transferable life skills well enough.
Just One Resume? Think Again
You may construct a resume which is highly explicit to a particular role in a particular industry and leaves no room for being applicable across a broader base. But this is when smart applicants begin to tweak and create differing resumes. Bear in mind – with certain exceptions – you can’t create totally alternate realities and leave out certain key roles to accentuate others. You can certainly reduce certain roles’ emphasis by reducing the amount of wordage you ascribe them, but the real place to make changes is one page one in your ‘Career Objective’.
This is where you can achieve the most significant shift in emphasis without completely overhauling your resume. The most effective resumes focus on specific career goals. Hiring managers have to read hundreds of resumes. They have a position opening and are looking for a candidate who meets their criteria. Resumes that appear to solve their problems will get a closer look, and the ones that are unfocused are often discarded. So, your career objective – in one dynamic paragraph – can make all the difference without having to drastically revamp the whole resume and certainly means you don’t have to have an ever-increasing number of resumes to choose from.
This way you will differentiate your resume for each type of job you’re applying for without having chop, change, edit, delete and get tie yourself up in knots. One paragraph, that’s it. This will work for staying in your industry and looking at varied roles within it.
So, if your resume is not getting you the job, don’t keep repeating the same thing hoping to et a different result. Be flexible, open-minded and think laterally. In most cases, a different approach will win the day.