You have it all: ambition, work ethic, competence and confidence. Yet you find yourself waiting for a potential employer’s call.
A resume is your first chance to showcase your skills, professionalism, and potential. If it fails to attract and hold an employer’s interest, the resume lands in the recycling bin — along with your chances of embarking on your dream career.
A resume can define you as a professional, set you apart, and maximize your appeal to employers. Be honest: is yours good enough to make the grade?
Here are four reasons your current resume won’t get you the job.
When you submit a resume, you’re not just detailing skills and previous jobs. The resume itself is proof of your ability to write, organize information, and respond appropriately to a professional setting.
Keep the formatting as well as the content clean, precise, and professional. Choose a single clear and easy-to-read font. Eliminate all nonessential formatting alterations, including excessive lists, font changes, and bolding. Keep flouncy adjectives and colorful descriptions to an absolute minimum.
There is no such thing as spending too much time tailoring your resume. Let knowledgeable friends proofread and offer their suggestions. Consider asking readers for their gut response to font, spacing, and formatting.
Ten-second employer attention spans.
Commit to the (tragic) reality that employers will likely skim your resume in under 30 seconds. Your most relevant and well-developed skills should be immediately accessible to a roving eye. Work your way from recent, applicable positions and skillsets to less pertinent details.
Whenever possible, pare your resume down to one page of essentials. Consider the tidbits or keywords that will catch an employer’s interest and incorporate them liberally (but thoughtfully).
Spot-on formatting will also improve your chances of impressing, rather than repulsing, your employer-to-be.
They’re hiring a robot
When it comes down to you or another equally-qualified candidate, it’s your personality that will make the difference. Professionalism and competence is important to an employer, but often so is friendliness and likability. Particularly in a setting that involves working with others, your future employer wants to know that you are personable and socially competent.
Are you a Guinness world-record holder? A former clown? A quirky past job or award can entice an employer to schedule an interview. Be sure compelling tidbits are thoughtfully inserted, not the focus of your efforts.
Consider ways to insert a small dose of vivacity and personality. But don’t go overboard – employers don’t want to hear outright exaggerations, excessive humor, or your religious and personal views.
You’re applying for the wrong job.
Don’t just send out generic photocopies of your carefully-designed resume. Top-level resume writers know to tailor a resume to the job they are applying for.
First, pick apart the job listing to figure out exactly what employers are looking for. What skills do they look for in a new hire? What exactly will the job entail?
Second, surf recent news articles and websites to find information about the company. Find out their core values and their trajectory for the future.
Any attempt to create a ‘perfect’ resume covering every company value will be transparent. Don’t lie to boost your appeal. Simply tailor existing information to highlight the qualities, skills, and past jobs that suit the company’s needs and goals.
Bring your hand-tailored resume to the front of the pack by avoiding common applicant errors. Separate yourself from amateurs and advertise yourself as an interesting and competent fit for a potential employer.