Resume Troubleshooting 101

If you’re sending out resumes on a near-daily basis and receiving a lukewarm response, all hope isn’t lost. Your resume just needs a bit of retooling. Here are a few moves that can help you get to the root of the problem.

1. Who’s saying yes? Who’s saying no? Who’s saying nothing?

Are there patterns emerging in the responses you’re receiving or not receiving? For example, are you hearing back from the long shots, but getting only silence from the positions you feel are within reach? If so, it may be time to aim higher.

Are most of your responses coming from jobs that are lower or on the same level as your most recent position? Are you hearing from larger companies but not smaller ones, or vice versa? Gather this data and see if you recognize any trends that might help you.    

2. What are you hearing from potential employers, if anything?

Are potential employers asking you a similar set of questions when they contact you for screening interviews? If one line of your resume seems to be causing confusion, or a certain detail needs clarification, try fixing this in the text before you submit again. If a certain detail seems to be raising questions about you or casting doubt on your qualifications, consider removing it. If you’re being asked to discuss your senior thesis, your first job, your ambitions, or your location over and over again, consider addressing these issues in your cover letter. 

3. Are you typecasting yourself?

Just a few misplaced or missing keywords in your application can suggest a different level, a different area of specialization, or even a different industry than the one you’re aiming for. Your field may be competitive, and your hiring managers may have very specific needs, but that doesn’t always mean they’re very good readers. Skimming and reading aren’t the same, and the skim process may be knocking you out of the running. If so, you’ll need to shorten and sharpen your message. 

4. Are you omitting or underplaying a major accomplishment?

Your most important qualifications should appear above the top half of the page and to the left of a line drawn down the center. They should also be clearly stated and they should stand on their own; make sure you aren’t burying an important point by including it in a long list of less relevant facts and details.

Go Back to the Resume Drawing Board

When you’ve identified the source of your problem, you’ll need to take steps to fix it. And to do that, you may benefit from a little outside help. Visit LiveCareer for resume building tips that can give your application a much-needed edge. 

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