When hunting for a job, the repetitive rejection can be discouraging enough. But when you constantly fail to garner the interest from employers about jobs for which you know you are qualified, then it may be time to take another look at your application process. And the best place to start is your resume.
5 Reasons Your Resume is Getting Overlooked by Potential Employers
It’s quite possible that there could be a specific reason why your resume is not getting forwarded to a decision maker. Here are five possibilities.
1. It discusses what you’ve completed or finished, but not what you’ve accomplished.
A laundry list of your previous job duties is much less impressive than highlighting what you have achieved. The employer knows what the position will entail; your job is to convince him or her that you are the best candidate for the job. For instance, “Implemented several cost-saving initiatives” may not turn heads, but “Lowered departmental overhead expenses by 10%” will get their attention.
2. It doesn’t contain the “magic words” needed for the position.
No, not please or thank you. The only thing worse than simply listing qualifications on a resume is not including them at all. The first step of the hiring process is weeding out applicants who are unqualified. And if the job involves sales but your resume doesn’t allude to your sales experience — even though it may discuss marketing, customer service, and other important skills — then the employer will still put your resume aside in favor of someone who checks all the boxes.
3. It leaves too much to be assumed.
Here’s the cruel rule of resume examination: If the person viewing your resume doesn’t see it, he or she will assume that you don’t have it. So if you put down “saved company money on supplies,” employers will assume that the amount wasn’t very much — even if it was substantial — because you didn’t include a number. And if you outline the advanced programming languages you are well versed in but fail to include the more “basic” ones, then resume readers may assume that you don’t know anything about the ones you left out.
4. It demonstrates inattention to detail.
The most obvious examples are spelling and grammatical mistakes. But formatting errors, vague address lines (like “Dear Sir or Madam”), and font or type size inconsistencies may also toss up a red flag to potential employers. The conclusion they’ll draw is this: If you’re unwilling to pay attention to small details when applying for the job, how will this tendency affect your actual work if you are hired?
5. It isn’t tailored to the company to which you are applying.
Another cold, hard fact: Employers prefer to see resumes that are customized to their companies and positions. That may require you to tweak your boilerplate resume for practically every position you apply for. That means playing up your customer service experience when applying for a helpline job, and focusing on your marketing background for the resume that is sent to an advertising firm. You may even want to make a few changes depending on the company itself — for example, a resume for a human resources position at a law firm might be different from one sent to a tech company.
There’s an old saying: “You can’t win the game if you don’t make it onto the playing field.” This is perfectly appropriate when hunting for a job. Because you can’t ace the interview or impress employers if you don’t get the chance because your resume has gone into the trash.
How does your resume measure up?