Job hunting is not usually something most of us consider fun. And if you’ve ever sent out a bunch of resumes only to wonder why no one is calling you in for an interview, the process can feel excruciating.
If this describes your situation, what are you doing wrong? You’ve got experience. You’ve got solid credentials. And you want to work.
If you’re job hunting and not getting anywhere, it could be that recruiters see an issue with your resume. In fact, without knowing it, you might be a job hunter whose resume falls into one of the following three red flag categories or "personalities": the over-skilled, the job-hopper and the “no experience” candidate. If this describes you, there are still certain things you can do to make your resume more appealing to hiring managers and recruiters.
1. The Over-Skilled
Do you have an impressive array of skills listed on your resume? Do you have 3 advanced degrees, speak 4 languages fluently and also write software code in your spare time?
Though knowing how to do all these things is very impressive,listing all these things could cause a recruiter’s head to spin.It’s cr itical to remember that recruiters are searching for someone who can successfully meet a position’s specific needs, and in the professional world, a specialist usually beats out the jack-of-all-trades. Think about it like this: if your foot was bothering you, would you go to the podiatrist whose website also listed 10 other types of medicine she practiced, or would you go to the one who’s site demonstrated he was a foot expert and that was that?
When it comes to your resume, don’t emphasize skills that could frustrate or confuse a recruiter. Recruiters want to immediately see that what you have to offer is relevant, and if they have to spend time searching through the chaos of an overblown resume, there’s a very good chance they’re going to skip over it in favor of someone whose skill set meets the requirements of the position.
Fortunately, turning an incoherent resume into something that’s relevant and clear is fairly simple. Here’s how to start:
Under your “Experience” section, create bullet points that list your skills in a way that only highlight what is most relevant to the position for which you’re applying. Additionally, write subheadings that relate to the skills within the company’s job description. Remember, you only want to put down the skills and responsibilities that the recruiter will be interested in. So if you’re trying to get a managerial position, don’t emphasize your computer programming skills. This is the sort of skill that might impress someone if you mentioned it during an interview. In a resume, however, the key is to be focused and get selected to meet someone for an interview.
2. The Job-Hopper
Businesses know that losing a productive worker means lost time and money. It is a significant cost to make a replacement hire, not to mention the cost of training a new employee.
That’s why hiring managers and recruiters are always concerned about job-hoppers. Though few employees in the millennial generation start working at one company and stay for life, there’s still an expectation of some amount of employee loyalty. If your resume shows that you’ve bounced around between 6 jobs in the past 6 years then you’ll have to modify your resume in order to highlight some other strengths.
To improve your resume, you can hire professional resume writers to help you craft your story. If you tackle this yourself, you should focus on achievements that emphasize your top, relevant skills that applied across all the various positions you have had. Remember you are trying to craft a resume that emphasizes the continuity of your skill and experience development – even if it was in different positions. If you have significant awards or numerical achievements, this is the time to list them. You can even consider doing so more prominently than your actual positions in the Experience section of your resume.
3. The No-Experience Candidate
If you’re in a different boat than the job-hopper and instead have a resume that shows very little experience, that can set off red flags to a recruiter. The unfortunate fact is that for most people, the more time you spend unemployed, the tougher it gets to land a new job.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to this issue as well.
The key is to keep yourself busy. Performing freelance work, volunteering, or even taking some classes, will not only be good for your mental health while you simultaneously pursue a job search, it will also demonstrate to a hiring manager that you’re a productive individual. By filling in the gaps in your job experience with different types of work or educational activity, you’ll be able to avoid sending in a thin resume relative to other candidates.
If you’ve been unemployed for a while and haven’t supplemented your spare time with any activities, there’s a solution to that too. By simply including an objective or summary at the top of your resume – before the experience section - that states why you’re a great match for the position, you can grab the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager, and may help you make up for the fact that you have less experience. Since the typical recruiter spends around 6 seconds scanning a resume to decide if he wants to study it further, you can see how writing a captivating opening summary could go a long ways to spark a bored recruiter’s interest.
Also be sure to tie your skills and experience to the keywords that match the skills that were listed in the job description.. Doing this shows a recruiter everything she or he wants to see in less than five seconds.
In summary, the key take-away from all of this advice is that you may have to alter your resume in order to see better results. Whether your resume is too thin, includes too many jobs , or is simply unfocused, it’s not difficult to make improvements that will impress a recruiter.
Sylvia Giltner is a freelance writer for various recruiting sites. She helps people to write the perfect resume and land a desirable job. To find more about Sylvia, check her out on Twitter.