Question: “I send out lots of resumes but don’t ever get any interviews — what’s wrong?”
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
There could be any number of reasons why this situation — you are sending our resumes but not getting any job interviews — is occurring. Here’s a list of the four things you need to be evaluating.
First, are you sending out a quality resume? One of the most fundamental problems in job-hunting is having a poor quality resume. A poor quality resume is an unfocused resume, a poorly designed (read ugly) resume, or an error-filled resume. A job-seeker’s resume is a critical marketing tool — and whose main purpose is to get you an interview. So, if you’re not getting interviews, your first step must be evaluating your resume. Your resume must be a sharply honed document that clearly identifies your strengths, accomplishments, and career focus. It is not a life history, so it does not need to contain every single job you have ever had. At the same time, it is a statement of facts, so do not lie or stretch the truth about degrees, employers, job titles, length of employment. Your resume should also be attractive — with solid margins and crisp fonts — and without garish colors or miniature type sizes; it should also be — in most situations — no longer than two pages. Finally, a resume should be error-free; any kind of typo or spelling error is likely to send your resume into the trash.
Second, are you sending the correct format and version? Because there are numerous approaches to resume writing and numerous approaches to resume delivery, it is important for all job-seekers to determine each employer’s preference. Most corporate career centers give you explicit details about how to submit a resume to the company, and job-seekers who ignore these instructions risk having your resume ignored. (Read more about resume formats and versions in Career Doctor Question 9: Resume Versions.)
Third, are you sending your resume to the right places? A shotgun approach to job-hunting, where you send your resume to every possible employer and every possible job opening, is almost never effective. You need a selective and strategic approach to job-hunting. You need to have a strategy — and stick with it. You should use as many job-hunting techniques as possible — your network, your college’s alumni and career services office, professional organizations, online job boards (national, regional, and industry-specific), company career centers of specific employers, and traditional cold contact — just do so selectively. In all cases, try to send your resume to the hiring manager — along with a dynamic cover letter.
Fourth, are you following-up your resume submissions? Your work is not done once you submit your resume; in fact, your work has just begun! Once you’ve sent your resume, the key to landing interviews is follow-up. Contact employers — by phone or email — and request a job interview. Don’t be rude, but do be aggressive. Following up with employers shows your interest in the position. And, if in the end the employer decides you are not qualified for the position, you might consider asking for an informational interview as a way to build your network and get a foot in the door of the company. (Read more about following-up in Career Doctor Question 27: Importance of Follow-up in Job-Search.)
Finally, here are some tools that can help you:
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor’s Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions — and Dr. Hansen’s solutions.
Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor’s homepage.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is a nationally recognized career and job-search expert. He is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
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