Do you find yourself sending out dozens of resumes but not getting so much as a telephone call in return? Here are some of the reasons why.
People often underestimate the power of a resume. It is the first, and sometimes only, opportunity you have to present your qualifications to a complete stranger. You may think the content of your resume is perfect, but it may not be. Here are some reasons you're not being called in for those interviews:
- Your resume is too general. A potential employer should not have to make assumptions about how your work experience will fit in with her business needs. Do research on each company you're applying to and tailor your resume so that it clearly shows how your experience and knowledge aligns with the company and job that needs to be filled.
- You don't use keywords. If every hiring manager in the world had time to personally sift through every resume, keywords wouldn't be such an issue. But the fact is, a lot of companies use scanning software that looks for keywords pertaining to the position they have open. Also, HR may be vetting the resumes. They're not intimately familiar with the needs of the job, so they'll simply look for keywords supplied by the manager. This is where specific mentions of software apps and the like are most valuable.
- Your resume contains typos or grammatical goofs. Even if grammatical precision isn't going to be directly part of your job, it says a lot about the person who doesn't take care to make sure his initial means of introduction to a company is error-free.
- You don't follow directions. Perhaps the job ad asked for an electronic resume, but you decided to send a paper copy instead. Maybe the ad asked for a complete cover letter, but you sent just a resume because, after all, it speaks for itself. Not only will assumptions like this get your resume lost because you're sending it to a place where no one will look, it also says something about your ability to follow directions. If, right from the start, you think you know better than the hiring manager, that doesn't bode well.
- You really aren't qualified for the job you're applying for. Employers put specific criteria into their job ads for a reason. If they say they want someone with four years experience in e-mail administration, your two years as a network admin won't readily sub for it. You need to objectively compare the job ad with your knowledge and experience.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.