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You’ve just got out of school, you’ve just been laid off, or you just want a new job, whatever the reason, you’ve applied to more than 50 jobs and no one has called you for an interview or even to inquire about your interest. You start to feel discouraged, confused, or you might even feel angry. You start to question what is going on? Am I not qualified enough? Why do I keep getting passed over? How do I stand out and get employers to notice me? You may have just read about yourself…or you may not, either way, you came to this blog post because something resonated with you and you need help. These are the reasons your resume hasn’t lead you to an interview.
1. Let’s talk about format. The key to the perfect resume is simplicity. Employers take less than 10 seconds to review a resume. Yes, that’s it, the average is around 7 seconds. You have seven seconds to spark the hiring manager’s interest enough for them to want to look at it further or call you to learn more about you. Why not make it easy for them to get to the stuff they care about? What do I mean by this you might be wondering? Well, let me tell you, your resume doesn’t have to be pretty. There I said it.
It’s a very thin line between your resume being pretty and it being distracting. Here’s a tip: you are more than likely always on the line of distracting. I can’t tell you how many resumes I’ve seen that were decorated, bright, wacky colorful, and just unprofessional looking, I mean is it a resume or a party flyer? Simple black and white colors are PERFECT. Remember how many seconds an employer takes to skim your resume? Well now you’ve just dropped down to three and your resume has been trashed.
If you absolutely must add a pop of color, use a subtle green and not throughout the entire resume, maybe your headings or subheadings can be green or your contact information. The color green evokes a feeling of calmness and has been found to enhance reading ability.
2. Update your contact information. I know it sounds like this doesn’t need to be explained but once you’ve reviewed over 400 resumes you see a lot of things uncommon to the average jobseeker. Do you know how the DMV requires you to update your license once you’ve moved to a new place? This also applies to your resume or anything really. Maybe your resume was great and it hit all the marks on the employer’s checklist but you didn’t receive a call because your phone number has changed, been disconnected, etc. Whatever the case may be, the employer had no way of connecting with you and you let an opportunity pass you by.
Now that we have your contact information up to date, where is it located on your resume? If it’s at the bottom anywhere on your resume PLEASE MOVE IT TO THE TOP. After employers get done with their swift skim they need to be able to locate your contact information, there isn’t too much explanation besides the habit or average of resumes having the contact information located at the beginning of the resume. That’s automatically where the hiring manager looks. Not to mention that’s technically a part of your 7-second introduction. “Okay let’s see who we have here, Jane Doe lives in Norfolk, VA, and so on, and so on.”
To wrap this section up, just a quick tidbit about your address being listed on your resume, I get mixed comments or concerns about this and my take on it is that I would leave off the full address, a simple city and state should suffice. There’s a rabbit hole of reasons for every instance we can think of that you shouldn’t list the complete address but the top three issues are privacy, possible discrimination, and safety. If you would like an article explaining these issues more in-depth send me a message on LinkedIn.
3. Keywords. So we are done with the resume mishap basics. When applying for a new job the first thing you look at is the job description. Does this sound like a job you are interested in? Are the duties in line with your current skill set? If you checked yes to both of those then great but even if you didn’t, especially if you are just coming into the workforce let me bring you in on a secret, copy the keywords from the job ad into your resume. This is especially helpful when it comes down to requirements. Some positions require certain skills, software experience, etc. If you know you have the experience copy it, if you don’t know the name of software or skill but you google it and find out that you actually have experience put it in your resume.
Keywords can go beyond just the requirements, what about the job description itself? A lot of people don’t know how to write a resume and that’s okay, you’re not alone. An easy trick is to copy the description where it makes sense and add it to your previous experience. Your resume has to make sense, now if you are applying to a position that’s similar to the one you’ve held previously it shouldn’t be too hard. For example: how to list dealing with customers on your resume? Let’s say you put “communicated with customers to solve problems and provide excellent customer service” you could instead write “Build sustainable relationships and trust with customers through open and interactive communication” and “Handle customer complaints, provide appropriate solutions and alternatives; completed follow-ups to ensure resolution.” See how more professional the second sounds? Job descriptions are usually detailed so your resume should essentially match. This is helpful if you are a career changer, meaning you are going into a new industry or a new department. It’s also helpful if you are just starting out in the workforce in general such as a recent graduate.
4. Is your resume relevant to the job you are applying for? You can kind of relate this to the last topic discussed but this section is about the importance of having different resumes. This may be more relatable to people who have a lot of job experiences or someone interested in different types of industries. It’s better to explain this one with an example. Let’s say Jane Doe has been in the hospitality industry for 9 years, the first four years she was a catering assistant, she then moved up to catering manager for two years until she relocated. She landed a job at a hotel as an assistant manager for the next three years. Jane is ready for a change or she wants a more fulfilling job based on her wants and interests. She has her eye on two different positions she wants to apply for. The first opening is an Event Coordinator at a bakery and the second is a Program Director for a travel agency. Now we walk through how Jane manipulates her resume for each submission.
The Event Coordinator position is up first, Jane has experience with events and the food industry from a catering standpoint, anything that had to do with the planning, logistics, and customer service of her previous position will go on the resume. For the second position, the Program Director, she would list any duties or skills she attained as being a manager and assistant manager. She would also list the fact that she is knowledgeable about tourism and hotels from her previous position since hotel and travel go hand-in-hand. This is how you tailor your resume to the position you want. Simple and straight to the point. This will alleviate any possibilities of employers assuming you are underqualified or not qualified at all for the positions you want. You just have to put all the relevant information on the forefront so the hiring manager will recognize your potential and ultimately want to call you in for an interview.
5. Last but not least please hit the spellcheck button. A resume with incorrect punctuation or uncapitalized letters is major and I mean a major turnoff to employers. People make mistakes and typos are no different, however, the beginning of a sentence or your name should be capitalized, there’s no excuse. I have seen way more resumes than I would have liked that succumbed to the punctuation violation. This is especially skin-crawly when it is someone applying to an administrative or office position. The hiring manager has to be able to see and trust that you know how to communicate, verbally and written. We are right back at the seven-second rule, if your resume doesn’t give them an insight into your communication abilities in those critical moments then you can forget about it. There are plenty of resources to use that are free that will help with punctuation, grammar, etc.
We have successfully gone through all the resume charges brought against you and you now have the opportunity to turn your career path around. Follow us on TikTok for weekly resume and interview tips.