Have you spent hours upon hours writing what you thought was the perfect resume, only for it to be consistently ignored by hiring managers?
The job market is highly competitive, and your resume is up against tens or hundreds of others every time you apply for a job. Before sending your resume out to another role, address these common weaknesses that may be holding you back:
1. Your Cover Letter Isn’t Strong Enough
Many people spend days crafting their resumes, only to ruin their chances with a thoughtless, tossed-off cover letter.
Your cover letter and your resume are a team. They need to be equally great if you are to land an interview. Spend some time crafting an original, inspiring, and tailored cover letter for each application. Your cover letter should detail why you’re interested in the role and sum up why you’re the right candidate for the job. It should also speak specifically to the company you’re applying to. Yes, that does mean you need to alter it for every role.
2. Your Resume Profile Isn’t Tailored
If you are using the same resume profile for every application, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Busy recruiters and hiring managers have piles of resumes to get through each and every day. At best, yours will get a quick skim before they decide whether or not to toss it. Your resume profile is your best shot at catching someone’s attention and showing them the value you bring to the table.
Your profile should be a short, snappy, persuasive paragraph that summarizes your key skills, results, and experiences. The goal is to entice the recruiter or hiring manager to keep reading.
Like a cover letter, your resume profile should also be tailored to each role. Make a note of keywords and specific skills highlighted in the job description, and then deploy those keywords and skills in your resume profile. This makes it clear you’re a good candidate for the role.
3. Your Resume Is Difficult to Read
You could be the perfect candidate for the job, but if the layout of your resume is off, you’re unlikely to be called for interview. Simply put, the easier your resume is to navigate, the more likely a recruiter is to actually read it.
Spend some time thinking about how your resume actually looks. Use a clear, simple font, and break sections up with white space. Bullet-pointed lists make the text easy to digest, while bold text is a great way to highlight important skills and results relevant to the job.
Always remember to include a resume profile and core skills section. This ensures recruiters will see your value, even if they only scan your resume for 30 seconds.
One final tip: If you are submitting your resume digitally, save it as a PDF to avoid any inadvertent formatting blunders.
4. Your Resume Doesn’t Prove Your Impact
Recruiters aren’t all that interested in the day-to-day duties of your previous roles. They’re more impressed by the impact you made on your former employers.
When it comes to your work history, you have to do more than just state what each position involved. Include facts, figures, and metrics that prove your were an asset to your company. For example, don’t just say you were involved in client acquisition. Instead, state how many new clients you brought to the company during your tenure. Instead of mentioning you were involved in sales, detail how much revenue you earned for the company.
Whether it’s costs cut, time saved, problems solved, revenue generated, or awards received, your resume must include some hard evidence of your value. Quantifying your achievements helps back up everything you say about yourself. A recruiter or hiring manager won’t believe you unless you give them a good reason to.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of UK-based CV-writing advice website StandOut CV.