Is Your Resume Helping Or Hindering The Job Search?

How long have you been searching for a new job? What kind of feedback have you been receiving? If you’ve been submitting for multiple positions and getting little interest in return, the culprit may very well be your resume.

In my experience as a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) who has worked with clients spanning all major industries, I’ve found that a powerfully worded and targeted resume serves as the foundation for a successful job search. Here are some of the benefits:

-A simplified job application process (i.e. less tweaking and editing between submissions)

-A steady stream of interviews.

-Providing an interviewer with a selection of career highlights that can easily become talking points, allowing you to elaborate on what you do best.

Here are 3 common scenarios that befall most job seekers, along with the inside scoop on what it means about your resume:

1) No Interviews

While every job seeker has a different sense of what constitutes an acceptable number of interviews, none is never okay and points to significant issues with your resume. Be on the lookout for the following:

-Ineffective Targeting: Is your resume one-size-fits-all? Overly general documents rarely receive interviews. Boil down your job target to 1-2 positions and make sure every aspect of the resume highlights in-demand skills.

-Unacceptable Structure: Recruiters and hiring agents are very specific when it comes to the structure of a resume. Basically, your document needs to have an opening paragraph, a work history that separates responsibilities (in paragraph form) from accomplishments (in bullets), and brief closing sections listing education, training, etc. If your resume does not conform to this structure, it will be rejected.

-Incompatibility Issues: Complex MS Word templates can cause a host of issues when viewed by different types and versions of software. Remove any complex graphics and logos and remember: a resume succeeds or fails based on content alone.

2) Interviews That Don’t Result in Job Offers

A great resume sets the foundation for a great interview. In fact, many of the complaints job seekers have following a lukewarm interview, including not being able to connect with the interviewer and having to elaborate on non-relevant topics all boil down to problems with the resume. If you fall into this category, analyze your resume for the following issues:

-Lack of Concrete Successes: Recent jobs, particularly those held within the past 10-12 years should each have a “Key Accomplishments” or similar section listing major successes. Take the time to dig up metrics (if available) for these accomplishments- it can have a huge impact during an interview.

-Too Many Non-Relevant Jobs: While it’s perfectly acceptable to hold jobs spanning multiple industries and types, no one says you have to give each of them equal importance on a resume. Which jobs are the most important? Allow these to take up the bulk of the resume’s space and streamline non-relevant ones.

3) Low-Ball Job Offers

The phone rings: it’s a job offer! Only problem? The salary is less than what you were making at your previous job. Don’t make the mistake of taking something that undervalues your skills: tighten up your resume instead. Be on the lookout for the following:

-Wording that’s Light on Leadership: There are 2 ways to think about wording on a resume. The first is to simply state things as plainly as possible, such as “Managed multiple projects within deadlines and guided various teams.” The second is to tailor every idea with an eye towards leadership, such as “Spearheaded multiple projects within aggressive deadlines, mentoring project teams and offering key insights.” Which approach do you think results in higher job offers?

A well-written resume has been shown to consistently reduce job search times and result in higher salaries. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have. Best of luck!

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