I often hear members complain about people not reading their resume carefully enough.
The subject usually comes up when members have been rejected for a job or haven’t gotten a response for a job they were convinced represented a fit.
Alas, the sad truth is that WE bear the burden of properly communicating our credentials to the world at large. No one on the receiving end of your opus is OBLIGATED to read between the lines and figure out why you are a fit.
A recruiter I spoke to quite some time ago, knowing our reputation for only responding when qualified, took the time once to call each individual who sent in a resume for a particular posting. (No, I didn’t put her up to it.) The rough count was 1/3 on the mark, 1/3 close but no cigar, and 1/3 fell into the “why did they write” category.
She was impressed to learn when speaking to the “why did they write” folks that their explanation made sense. There were things about their backgrounds in almost every case that made it a reasonable opportunity for them. Unfortunately, their resume didn’t address the critical issues required. In other words, they failed to communicate their value.
If you start out with the idea that most of our resumes are historical compilations of our years at work, I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we sometimes fail to make the link for our readers.
A good resume starts with a compelling summary at the top and continues with a clear framework that displays the companies at which you have worked and the titles you have held. If you want to view a “Model Resume” we have several out on our website. (Member Area, Member Downloads, Other Useful Documents)
It is important that you view your resume as always being a work in progress. I know that going through the “birth pangs” of a resume is exhausting and one frequently wants to just “put it behind you.” But, if you want to succeed at this job search game, you have to constantly be looking for improvements to this vital MARKETING document.
Are you using the right words? Check a few job postings that you feel speak to your strengths. Lay the posting side by side with your resume and give some thought to how they describe their ideal candidate. I know you think that it’s you, but can you find the matching text?
Resume writing and rewriting is a painful process, but one that is essential to your success. When the words lose their meaning because you have gone over them and over them so many times you could just scream, sit down with someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of “learning all about you,” and force them to go over it line by line. (A strong cup of coffee and a donut will help them focus! I know it does for me.)
There is always something new and always something unnecessary to explaining who you are and how you can help that potential new company.
Keep an open mind and who knows, you might even find more improvements than you even thought possible.