What does your resume really say about you?

You toil over your resume, pouring your heart and soul into each job entry, ensuring each sentence is crisply worded and the layout is pixel perfect. But you get lukewarm responses, or worse, no response at all. Although there are many reasons unrelated to you directly for not getting a response, let’s read between the lines of your resume through the eyes of an employer.

Mixed Messages

  • THIS WORKS: Each job in the list builds upon the next says you are continually growing your contribution and responsibility level. Include subordinate job titles, not just your most recent.
  • NOT AS MUCH: Each job seems unrelated, jumping from retail sales to accounting, with no obvious cohesion. This can come across as “I’m still finding my way and this next job is another I may leave in a year or two.”
    • FIX IT: Address it by including similar functions or accomplishments to the job you are applying to as a way to demonstrate how your diverse skills make you right for the current position.
  • THIS WORKS: Promotions within a given organization; it says you are able to take on more and excel! o KEEP IT: But even if you have stayed in the same role, promoting added responsibility and different projects can deliver the same message, even without titles.
  • NOT AS MUCH: Short employment spans with multiple companies may say job hopper or that you are unable to find your place in an organization…
    • FIX IT: Instead package your diverse history as a benefit, because what you learned from each job brings huge value to your next role – this is a growth opportunity.
  • THIS WORKS: Clear, concise formatting, clear dates and locations, chronological structure on resume.
  • NOT AS MUCH: Hard to find job titles, no date ranges, and a template that looks like it is concealing something. Functional resumes are fine, but be sure to immediately provide the information the recruiter needs to understand your work history and skills progression.
  • FIX IT: How To Address Resume Gaps

Quick Fixes

  1. Unprofessional email address. No HaloKiller420@hotmail.com or xxUnicornRainbowGirl@yahoo.com here, folks. We’re grownups with jobs to do. First name, last name, initial if possible.
  2. Resume gaps – although gaps are more common post-recession, be prepared to answer questions. Do not omit project work, personal adventures or other. It is better to have spent time deliberately away from standard employment.
  3. Formatting – Keep your job titles larger as a part of the header. It is the first thing an employer wants to know about each position. Place top contributions as bullet points at the top as a bill board of who you are.
  4. Spelling/grammar errors illustrate that you are rushed, not detail oriented or not well educated…have someone else proof it MANY times. Get it perfect.
  5. Resume not tailored to a specific job opening means you may not be found automated applicant tracking systems and it shows you may be applying to anything and everything – be sure to customize it so all info relates directly to open position.
  6. False/dishonest information is an absolute career killer. Don’t do it.
  7. Overlong may cause a recruiter or employer to lose the key points. It is OK to bullet point your contributions. Keep it short and sharp.
  8. Finally, use a cover note to MAKE IT CLEAR how the position being offered is the absolutely right next step in your career, and demonstrate QUANTIFIABLE value you will bring to it!

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