5 Tips for Getting Better Response from Your Resume
Have you sent out what seems like hundreds of resumes? Is your resume getting noticed in a sea of other applicants? Are you still waiting for your phone to start ringing or your email to start going crazy with responses?
Let me tell you, you aren’t alone if you thought this was how things work for job seekers. I am going to shed some light on why you might not be getting the results you had hoped for and share the reality; not to discourage you about the process, but to give you tips that will hopefully make it easier for you.
- Customize Your Resume to the Job Description—If you aren’t tailoring/customizing your resume to the job descriptions when you apply, you may be getting kicked out by the company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before a human even sees it. It is time consuming to do this, but think of it as quality over quantity. It’s better use of your time to send out 5 well customized/tailored resumes than 20 general resumes. If you don’t have time to do this or don’t know how, hire a professional resume writer to get it done and save yourself unnecessary stress. Be sure to follow all Applicant Tracking System instructions so you aren’t eliminated by overlooking a step in the application process.
- Talk to Your Network to Get a Foot in the Door—It’s important to try to engage your network for referrals. Try to locate a potential contact on LinkedIn or company website to send your resume to, rather than sending it blindly without a target contact. If you get a recommendation “foot in the door” from a network connection, you are far more likely to get an interview. Building and engaging with your network through your job search is paramount to your success.
- Is This the Right Job for You?—Ask yourself “Am I really qualified for this job?” If the answer is “not quite” or “of course I can do that; it can’t be that hard,” then you should be prepared to do a great job of selling yourself. Be able to show how your skills are transferable to what they need. If you can’t do that, don’t waste your time or theirs. Of course, there are those unrealistic job descriptions requesting everything, including the kitchen sink. Those are often thrown out there to just see if the perfect candidate can be found, knowing full well that they are being a bit unrealistic. So just be honest with yourself and respectful to them if you are truly a fit, and not just desperate to submit a resume. If it’s a big stretch, or you can’t speak in detail about this experience in an interview, you probably should reconsider applying for that position.
- Make Your Resume Stand Out—Your resume must show how you are different and how you stand out from every other candidate It must be straightforward and easy to read with quick, concise bullets that showcase your accomplishments. It should be 2-3 pages maximum, anything past that will not be read.
- Employment Gaps—If you have unexplained gaps in employment, they can be red-flags for a potential employer. Provide brief explanations within the resume or in your cover letter.
At the end of the day, a job search can become a part-time job itself and can be discouraging if you are aimlessly sending out resumes and expecting everyone to respond. You must realize it is a numbers game and it takes a committed effort on your part. Employers typically have many applicants to choose from. They will choose the best candidate that fits their description and needs as closely as possible.
Make sure you sell them on how you are the perfect fit for them and the role they are looking to fill. You would do the same in their shoes!