You’ve done everything right. Or so you think. You read the job postings carefully. You make a list of the skills you have that directly relate to the job opening; you craft a resume that provides all of your work experience; you attach a cover letter; and with a few clicks, that resume has been submitted.
Now the “waiting game.” You wake up each morning, check your emails, and anticipate that phone call that never comes.
What are you doing wrong?
Maybe nothing. There are just too many applicants better qualified than you. On the other hand, there may be some things you are doing wrong. And it’s time to correct them.
So, here’s a list of eight possible reasons why your resume is being ignored. As the saying goes, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” Take a look at this list, and if you see yourself, fix the issues before you send out one more resume.
A Poor Cover Letter:
The biggest mistake that job applicants make is to have a generic cover letter that they believe no one reads anyway. Cover letters do not get read if they are boring and obviously generic. And when a cover letter does not grab attention, the attached resume doesn’t either.
Here’s what constitutes a bad cover letter:
- It just repeats what is contained in the resume
- It’s too long
- It has typographical errors
- It does not grab attention with the first sentence
The point of a cover letter is to insist that you are the right person for the job. Every cover letter must be customized to the position; it must be short; and it must address your ultimate “fit” for the position.
Your Resume is “So Last Century”:
Resume formats and structures have changed. And the overall appearance, including color must match the “culture” of the organization.
The biggest mistake applicants make is trying to crowd too much into their resumes. This gives a crowded appearance that a hiring manager just doesn’t want to wade through.
As you craft the body content of your resume, stick to only those responsibilities and achievements that relate directly to the position opening. Putting in a lot of irrelevant information just crowds the space and distracts the reader.
Layout and color are also critical. If the organization is conservative, navy and gray will be best. For more progressive companies, you can use more vibrant colors.
Conservative companies want a more traditional structure; more progressive organizations will appreciate a more creative, unique approach.
Final note? Make sure there is plenty of white space.
Crafting the Content:
You have to think of yourself as a product for sale. In this respect, then, you are a marketer – promoting your “brand.”
There are ways in which your work experience can be worded that will capture attention. If you know you struggle with being concise yet engaging, you may want to get some professional help. There are several sources for this:
- You can access major job board websites (e.g., Monster.com) that provide much more than just job listings. They provide a lot of information on resume construction and even more current template varieties.
- Check out a writing websites page that provides reviews and testimonials of those who have used specific resume writing websites. Contact one of the top-rated ones and get some personal, customized help.
- There are a number of local and online individual resume consultants that you can use to get some help. This one-on-one help can get a bit pricey, though.
- You can access numerous resume-building sites. These are do-it-yourself sites that offer templates to choose from.
In terms of what that content should be, focus on specific accomplishments and give as much detail as possible (how many people did you supervise? What was the amount of the budget you managed? What was the percentage of increase in sales during your management?).
Getting the Keywords Wrong:
Digital scanners are widely in use. They are looking for specific keywords in your resume that match the skills and responsibilities of the position opening. You can get these keywords from the position posting, and they must be placed early on in your resume.
If you don’t get the keywords right, your resume never moves on to the hiring manager. But don’t “stuff,” and don’t copy wording from the position description.
Typos and Grammar Mistakes:
Big no-no. If you know you are challenged in this area, be sure that you proofread your resume at least three times and then hand it over to a trusted friend to proofread it again.
If you cannot take the time to have a resume that is not grammatically perfect, no hiring manager will have time for you.
You Didn’t Follow the Submission Instructions:
Some people want cover letters; others do not; some want you to use only their system; some want you to email your resume as an attachment. Not following instructions says volumes about you, and it is all negative. Read those instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
You Weren’t Fast Enough:
If you are serious about your job search, then you will be checking every avenue for position openings, every day. And you will tweak that cover letter and resume immediately and get it on over.
A lot of hiring managers take that first wave of resumes and pick their interview candidates from those. If they don’t find want they want, they may go to the next wave. You are in that first wave, while the manager is still “fresh.”
Faulty Online Presence:
Enough has been said about your social media presence, and you know that employers will check you out there.
But what have you done proactively? Do you have a LinkedIn account and great profile? Do you have a website or a blog? Have you posted articles on the blogs of others? All of these things tell an employer that you are committed to and involved in your profession.
These eight mistakes can easily be avoided with a little work and perhaps a little help. Don’t be that person whose resume does not warrant a second look. Check everything you send out against these eight items, and your “luck” just might change.
Author Bio: Daniela McVicker is an editor for Top Writers Review, as well as a freelance blogger on careers and employment. Her “other life” includes raising thoroughbred horses and environmental activism, specifically saving our coral reefs.