There is a good reason your resume is not helping you land interviews.
Most resumes are a thicket of deadwood words and phrases: empty cliches, annoying jargon, and recycled buzzwords. And the people who read your resume (Recruiters, HR folks, and hiring managers) see these terms over and over again. If you have ever spent an hour reading other people's resumes, you know just how tedious it can be.
Recently, I wrote about how to discuss your salary requirements in a cover letter. A reader emailed me because he was regularly encountering the “desired salary” question even when he applied for positions online. He said, “All the consulting jobs I'm applying for now have a required box in the application page in which only accepts a numeric response to the ’Salary Desired’ question. I don't want to be hemmed in by a number for which I'm by definition going to low ball---but I also want the job. Any advice?”
We spend so much time formatting our resumes so font is clear, the bullets line up and the size is just perfect. And then, we submit our resume online or upload it to a database that takes out all of the formatting! Even worse, they often put weird symbols in the place of our beautiful bullets or accented words - so when recruiters go to read them, they look awful. Barbara Safani at glassdoor.com blog has a few tips for how to make text-only documents that will look proper when pasted into text boxes on websites or uploaded to applicant tracking systems. Here are a couple tips:
If you're like most job-seekers, you may not have put much thought into whom you'll want to use as references when potential employers request them. We're often so busy polishing our resumes and cover letters, researching the companies, and preparing for interviews that we neglect a very important part of the job search process -- requesting people to be references.
My coworker, expert sourcer Kelly Dingee, wrote a great post about getting your resume ready for 2011. Kelly looks through candidate resumes daily and knows what a great resume is.
Be very careful what you ask for, or you just may get it. Almost two years ago, I wrote a post "Bad Job Ads Attract only Desperate Candidates" and I pointed out some really common (boring) words in job descriptions that are not only useless, they are the kind of words that suck all the oxygen out of the room when you use them. Candidates don't know precisely what you mean when you use them - so they actually detract from your message.
If your resume is dull, it doesn’t matter how perfect you are for the job — hiring managers will never know how great you are if they’re not blown away by your first impression: your resume. Hiring managers looking at the resume for less than 1 minute each means yours needs to be interesting in order to get even a small chance at an interview. So how do you take your resume from boring to impactful? Here are a few tips from HR thought leader and “Michel Jordan of Hiring” Dr. John Sullivan. The main point: Focus more on content and less on pretty formatting… Show your effectiveness, skills, and leadership abilities, as proven in your past organizations. Dr. Sullivan has 30 tips for how to do that… Here are 6 important ones:
Cover letters are important. They’re a chance to show an employer how you’re different from other jobseekers in your field. They’re a way to showcase your communication skills. They’re the employer’s first impression of you. There’s lots of potential for either consideration or rejection via your cover letter. So let’s take advice from Jerome Young’s 4 topics to avoid in your cover letter: