If you’re job hunting, chances are you’ve sent your resume out about a million times. This may seem like the best way to find success–because the more times you send it out, the more chances someone will like it, right? Maybe, but maybe not. The most likely explanation is that your resume is too generic. Here are a few reasons why your resume might not be getting attention.
1. It’s not tailored to the job description.
Sure, you may be a licensed attorney with a specialization in family law and child welfare, but if that’s all that’s on your resume, that’s not very helpful. You need to read each job description carefully and update your resume for each job you’re applying to. You don’t need to revamp or rewrite your resume every time you’re applying for a job; simply adding a few specific words or moving an entry to the top can improve your chances.
2. There are no keyword matches.
Most jobs that have many applicants go through a computer-generated keyword screen before they even pass before human eyes. If the specific keywords don’t show up on your resume, it won’t get past the first screening. Keywords may not be specifically noted in the job description, but they are usually obvious enough that if you’re in the industry, you should be able to pick them out.
3. It’s too short or too long.
A 60-page curriculum vitae is appropriate for a tenured professor with 30 years of research under her belt, but a single-page resume is more appropriate for someone five years out of college with two jobs in her work history. Your resume should balance the required amount of information about your background without going overboard, and it should omit any references to experiences that are unnecessary. Your CPA job probably won’t need your Krav Maga skills, so you might want to keep that line off your resume for brevity’s sake.
4. It contains typos or other errors.
This is a major problem among job seekers. We read, reread, and rewrite our resumes so often that we miss major mistakes and typos. The same can happen with constant re-formatting. A justification that’s off just a little bit might escape you, but a hiring manager will notice it and think you don’t pay attention to detail. The best way to combat this is to have someone else (best option: a career adviser within your industry) give it the once-over and point out any flaws.
5. It’s unattractive or wrong for the industry.
If your resume is highly stylized, full of color and pictures, and you hand it off to a recruiter for a position in the public policy field, it might not be taken seriously. You need to read your industry; creative careers should have creative resumes, and dry careers should have only the necessities. By the same token, don’t cram everything in the resume just so it’s in there. Leave enough white space strategically placed within your resume to make it easy to get the relevant information from a quick scan.
Hiring managers spend less than a minute on each initial scan of a resume. That’s if you get past the computerized keyword search. Getting the manager’s attention with so little time can be tricky, but these tips will help your resume get the second glance it deserves. Check out LiveCareer’s Resume Builder for more help on creating a top-notch resume.