Looking for a job can be a tough, expensive, frustrating and time-consuming experience. Sending out dozens of resumes will dampen that much-needed morale if you are not getting called up for any interviews. Yet, for every position you apply for, there are people who are receiving invitations for an interview.
While the reasons your resume isn’t making an impression with recruiters may be varied, there’s a good chance it boils down to the following four.
1. Your Resume Has Grammatical Errors
It might sound a little pedantic to even have to mention this, but a surprising number of resumes will land at the hiring manager’s desk with spelling and grammatical mistakes. It could range from the most basic typos to more nuanced oversight, such as using UK English when applying for an American or Australian job.
Spelling and grammar errors will knock you out of the running as it’s perceived as a sign of carelessness and poor attention to detail. It’s an especially unforgivable offense given the numerous free online digital tools like ResumeBuild and offline applications like Microsoft Word, that one could use to proofread their resume in a minute or two.
2. Emphasizing Responsibilities Not Achievements
If you’re applying for a lucrative job at a hugely successful organization like Alphabet, the competition is stiff. Your resume has to be distinct from the rest if you want the hiring managers to sit up and take notice. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in this regard is to dwell on responsibilities as opposed to achievements.
Responsibilities have an air of a passive humdrum existence, while achievements show someone who’s actively working to better their workplace. Ergo, instead of saying “Responsible for installing antivirus software,” you could replace that with “Reduced monthly virus infection incidents from 15 to 2 in 12 months”. You now sound like an active contributor to success as opposed to someone getting dragged along.
3. Your Resume is Too General
You have one resume that you quickly attach to any job application you submit. It certainly saves you time and perhaps enables you to send out numerous applications fast. That’s a catastrophic mistake though, since no two jobs you apply for are ever exactly the same even when the job title is identical. Different employers will have different expectations of successful candidates.
If your resume doesn’t speak directly to the expectations enumerated in the job description and company overview, then you can kiss that interview invitation goodbye. Show why you are best suited for the position and why you are looking forward to working for the company. It’s better to send out 15 applications and get two interviews than send out 50 and get none.
4. Your Resume is Too Long
Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager who has to go through a stack of a hundred resumes in a couple of hours. Imagine your reaction when you stumble on a 10-page resume when all others are 1-2 pages. You are pressed for time and have deadlines to meet in creating a shortlist of interviewees. There’s a good chance that you’ll immediately jump onto the next resume.
That’s what happens when you send a lengthy resume when everything can be easily and smartly condensed into just 1 or 2 pages. If you’ve been working for less than 10 years and have a 3-page resume, you are likely doing something wrong. Your resume is not a detailed inventory of all your life achievements. On the contrary, it’s a targeted pitch of your skills and accomplishments in the context of the job you are interested in.
Your resume should be a marketing document that briefly but persuasively tells an employer why you are the right person for the job. Avoid these four mistakes and make your resume the door-opening document it should be.