Maybe you believe there’s nothing wrong with your resume. Maybe you’re right. If your resume is getting you the interviews and job offers for positions you actually want, then, you’re probably right.
But, if your resume is not getting you those interviews and job offers, then odds are that there is something wrong. So, how do you begin to fix a broken resume? First, you have to recognize what’s wrong with it. There are a plethora of potential problems, but if you have already made sure you are avoiding the really obvious mistakes (unprofessional email, starting every bullet point with “responsible for”, etc.) then what else could it be?
More often than not, if you have used a professional format and there are no egregious grammar errors, your resume is being passed over because it isn’t closely aligned with the job posting or the company itself. Are you using the same resume for every job under the sun? If so, there’s your problem. While it’s great to have a base resume to work with, it is essential to tailor it specifically towards every single position to which you apply. Sometimes this means only making minor changes, while other times, it can mean nearly a complete rewrite.
Tailoring your resume to your audience (the hiring manager for a specific job posting) is essential.
OK, so how do you tailor a resume towards a specific job position? First, do some research. Read, and reread the job posting several times. As you read it, make a list of specific skills or experience that the company is looking for in their ideal job candidate. For each of those skills or areas of experience, make a list of things you have done that clearly demonstrate your skills and experience in those areas. If you find that you can’t clearly demonstrate more than half of those, you’re probably not a good candidate for the position. You’ll likely be up against candidates who are able to demonstrate their experience in most of those key areas, which greatly reduces the chances of you being called for an interview. If this was your absolute dream job, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get hired for it, but it does mean that, if you are serious about wanting it, you’ll take the time to find ways to gain the needed skills before trying to apply for it. This might mean taking a different position as a stepping-stone to your dream job, or it could mean going back to school.
Once you have established that you really are applying for a position that you are highly qualified for, you need to present your experience in a way that makes this clear to the hiring manager. Take that list that you made earlier describing precisely how you meet the qualifications and make sure that these points are on your resume. When you are arranging the bullet points on your resume describing each position you have held, make sure that the ones that are most relevant to the position you are applying for are listed first. This brings them to the attention of the hiring manager.
Think about what is most important to the hiring manager.
Now it is time to write your summary statement. Before beginning, do some research into the company as a whole. This will help you set the tone of the summary statement (and your cover letter). In your summary statement, highlight the qualifications that you have that are most desired by the company in the position you are seeking.
Under your summary statement, include a core competencies section. List the keywords from the job description that match experience that you have. Place the most important keywords first so that hiring managers can easily find them. Make sure that the keywords you list here are clearly demonstrated in the experience section of your resume; otherwise, this section is a waste of space and is seen as “fluff” by hiring managers.
We use this procedure for every resume we write and it greatly increases the number of interviews and job offers received. Want to know how your resume stacks up against the competition? Send it over for a free resume review!