How many of your resumes have gotten trapped in the black-hole of online applications? It is sooooooooooo frustrating to spend hours applying and all you get in return is an automated message assuring you that your application has been received. If you’ve sent out more than fifty resumes and you’re not getting interview calls, then chances are you need to change your approach. Here are five mistakes that job seekers often make when submitting applications. Fix them and suddenly your phone may start to ring!
You are sending the same resume to every employer. One-size fits all is never a good approach for resumes. To attract employers, you need to customize your resume and cover letter for each individual position. If you are using a blanket resume, you will not be speaking the employer’s language and it won’t be targeted to the employer’s unique needs. As a result, the employer may determine that you either do not fully understand the organization or that you are not the perfect fit for the job.
You are focusing on duties instead of accomplishments. Don’t think of your resume as a description of your experience; instead view it as your primary marketing document. In your work summary, you want to highlight the skills and experience that are most marketable to potential employers, which is not necessarily the tasks that took up most of your time. Also, employers don’t want to hear you talking about how amazing you are; you need to show them that you’re amazing by telling them about your quantifiable accomplishments. For example, “I reduced the customer wait time by 2 business days by streamlining the application process.” Now that’s impressive!!!
Your resume is not attractive. Try to put yourself in the position of a hiring manager who has a HUGE stack of resumes in front of them that they need to screen. Which resume would you pick up? One with so many paragraphs that the words are spilling off the page? Or one that is nicely formatted with headings and white space so that it’s easy on the eye? The answer is clear. What can you do to make your resume more visually appealing?
You are being cagey. One of the most important questions that an employer will ask themselves when they are considering hiring you is, “Can I trust this person?” If they don’t trust you, then the interview is basically over. Human resources managers are trained to identify inconsistencies in resumes. Are you being vague about your employment dates? Do you have unexplained gaps? Do your skills and work experience seem to be inconsistent with your job title? If there is anything on your resume that may appear suspicious to a potential employer, it is best for you to explain it. Otherwise, the hiring manager may just cast your resume aside.
Your resume has errors. It should go without saying, but each day qualified candidates are missing out on amazing opportunities because they didn’t proofread their resume. Don’t go through all of that effort just to lose out because of a misplaced comma.
None of this is new, but knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. If you are truly not getting any results from your resumes then you have to change something or you could be out of work for a long time! The job search game is tricky; a small mistake could be costing you a lot of opportunities. The key is to be adaptable and if a particular strategy isn’t working, be ready to scrap it and try something else.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Idea Go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)