Have you submitted more résumés than you can count but your phone still won’t ring? You’re not alone. The issue, however, is that too many people put a great deal of credence in the perceived power of the résumé. They think that all they have to do is put the document together, apply for jobs, repeat as necessary and voilà … wait for the phone calls to start rolling in. If only that was how the process actually worked.
The reality is that your résumé is but one piece of the puzzle, a cog in the machine of the job search that you can’t depend on to do the heavy lifting in your endeavors. Unrealistic reliance on this single document can be crippling to your search. Your résumé is a mere starting point in the career search so ensure that it’s up to par by avoiding these pitfalls:
- It’s all about you. Sounds strange, huh? I’m sure that most people agree that your résumé should certainly be about you. And yes, it should be but not about your needs … you know the whole “Seeking a challenging position within the (fill-in-the-blank) industry …” thing. Your résumé has to be less You-centered and more Employer-centric, speaking to how your skill set will meet their needs.
- It’s doesn’t speak the language. One size does not fit all in your career search. Submit targeted, customized résumés for each and every job you apply for including relevant industry jargon and keywords that will jump out at and appeal to the reviewer.
- It’s not achievement and accomplishment based. Simply copying and pasting your job description onto your Word document and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut it. Use numbers and percentages to show your impact in past positions and how you exceeded expectations by going above and beyond the stated job duties.
- It fails the 6 second scan check. If the hiring manager can’t easily surmise what you have to offer from a cursory glance of your résumé, they have no motivation to read on. Put the vital details front row and center (on the top half of the first page), say what needs to be said (nothing more, nothing less) and make it aesthetically pleasing by avoiding clutter, embracing white space and using appropriate font.
Even after you get your résumé is application-ready, the work doesn’t stop there. You also need to keep in mind that:
- The job search process goes beyond the paper. Your résumé is simply a summary of or preview to what you bring to the table; it doesn’t tell your whole story. Your interview allows you the chance to expound on your credentials, fill in the gaps and ultimately, set yourself apart from the pack (i.e. the other candidates).
- Putting an effective job search campaign into place is vital in making the best use of your résumé and increasing your odds of hearing back from prospective employers.
If you’re not getting calls after submitting your résumés, reassess your strategy and alter your plan a bit. Get feedback from your colleagues and industry professionals or consider hiring a résumé writer to successfully craft your professional story.