It’s impressive, well-designed and carefully prepared. So why isn’t it getting you any interviews?
Let’s start by assuming you don’t have any typos in your resume.
You don’t, right? You’ve proof-read it forward and backwards, read it out loud with a finger on each word, asked a friend to proof-read it, used your spell-checker, right? If you haven’t done those things, then your resume is definitely costing you jobs.
We’re also going to assume that your resume is grammatically correct, everything is spelled right, it’s not on colored or scented paper and it follows a clean and up-to-date format.
If not, find a book or a website that helps you with the basics. We’re here to address a more tricky problem—and one of the main reasons that well-groomed resumes can still be tossed aside. Recruiters and prospective employers report that the most common mistake applicants make is to submit a resume that is not tailored to the job.
Yes, we said tailored. There is no more one-size-fits-all resume.
When you submit a resume for a job opening, it must do more than outline your skills and experience. It should outline how your skills and experience will make you an asset to this particular company.
It should be structured to tell a story, and the story it should tell is this: I am the person who can make your company work better/faster/more efficiently/more effectively/more profitably. I can solve your problem.
This requires research and thought. First, study the job listing. Look at each qualification listed, and think hard about how the things you have accomplished in your past jobs might address this need. Then make sure these skills and accomplishments are highlighted on the resume that you are preparing for this particular listing.
Keep it short, and focused. Remember that prospective employers are not interested in anything but quantifiable skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the task at hand. Your summer job as a camp counselor 15 years ago is not relevant. Nor is the fact that you were “responsible for” managing umpteen employees in your last job.
What is relevant is what you have accomplished. Did you develop a marketing strategy that led to a 5 percent increase in profits? Did you implement a waste reduction plan that saved the company $28,000 over two years? Did the fast-food restaurant where you were a line supervisor experience a 10 percent reduction in turnover during your tenure? Were you a member of a team that won a “super service” award five years running?
Figure out how to quantify your most salable experiences, focus on the ones that are most relevant to the job at hand, and you will have a resume that puts you in the running for your next great opportunity.