Are you among the thousands of Americans actively searching for a new career, but find yourself on the receiving end of countless automated rejections? You spend hours searching for jobs you would love and are qualified for, but can’t seem to get as much as a conversation, let alone an interview, to make your case. If this is you, chances are your resume is to blame.
A recent study shows that hiring managers review resumes for just 7.4 seconds. This small window of time is all you have to capture a hiring manager’s attention. If your resume isn’t landing you interviews, chances are you’re making one or more of these resume mistakes.
Your resume should be short and relevant to the position you are applying for. Finding as many online job openings as possible and mass-sending your resume with hopes of finding a job is time-consuming and often disappointing. Things like unrelated work experiences, inability to connect experiences to the opportunity, or large gaps convey uncertainty. Managers want to hire someone with a clear direction and an indication of longevity.
If your resume doesn’t accomplish this, it will instead raise questions. Questions you will often be unable to address because your resume didn’t warrant an interview. As mentioned, with just 7.4 seconds to create interest and showcase value, you don’t want the hiring managers to waste time trying to understand you and your career path.
If your resume is unprofessional or distracting, you face an uphill battle to move on to an interview. Cramming too much information into a resume is a common mistake, as candidates feel that more information is better. But loads of information is hard to process quickly, and managers will often skim resumes, looking for keywords or skills that indicate value. If the manager is unable to accomplish this because your resume resembles more of an essay than a list of skills and experiences, you distract from the value you provide. This will, unfortunately, make it difficult for a manager to recognize your full potential.
Make sure to only include relevant experiences and skills, with spacing between lines and lots of white space. This allows whoever is reading your resume to pull out key pieces of information immediately. Don’t be afraid of the one-page resume myth. Don’t try to cram everything onto one page. If you have years of relevant experience, skills, and certifications, don’t be afraid to expand your resume on two or even three.
The internet and sites like LinkedIn have made applying for jobs easy. Simply find a job posting online you are interested in and submit a cover letter and resume, right? While online resources have made the application process easier, they’ve done so for everyone. That resume you sent in is now one of the hundreds of virtual documents that may as well be in a virtual pile, with no guarantee of actual human eyes gracing your qualifications.
To fight this, focus on real human connection. This can still be done online by focusing on reaching out to hiring managers directly on LinkedIn. If you focus on building genuine connections with those around you, you drastically increase your chance of receiving new opportunities; opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. By building these connections, you’ll stand a better chance of getting your resume in front of the right people.