Q: Why are you here?
A: That’s simple, I’m unemployed and your company has a job opening.
This is a question that you may be asked by decision makers, and I would bet my last dollar that you would not offer this answer to the interviewer sitting across the desk from you.
On the other hand, out of the dozens of resumes sent to me each week for a free resume critique, this is exactly the message that is conveyed in 5 out of 10 resumes I receive.
There are many reasons this happens and here are a few.
1: First off you need to take into consideration that busy recruiters and decision makers are likely to be screening resumes for several job requisitions at the same time and they need to know which position to consider you for. Although I am against placing an Objective on a resume if you have over two years of experience, I suggest you place a title header at the top of the resume to give the reader a heads-up on the position you are applying for.
2: Stock templates are another no-no. They show the reader that you are not taking your job search seriously and are not willing to extend the time or spend the money needed to set yourself apart from your competition. In today’s job market a resume needs to look like a custom document or it will get lost in the pile of possible contenders.
3: However the most common problem I find is the way people present themselves in writing on a resume. Too many resumes are written in general terms, rely too heavily on key words, and do not focus on the job they are applying for. This happens when the writer does not understand the needs of the decision maker and his or her company. A good resume writer should know the 5-10 most important things the reader is looking for (not the key words only) and make certain these points are covered and they stand out enough to pass the 30 second eyeball scan for every job they apply for.
4: When I ask the people I review resumes for why they use a generic resume the majority tell me, “I don’t have the time to customize every resume I send out. I cover specifics in my cover letter.”
This sounds logical, or does it?
If you are unemployed what are you doing with your time that is more important than taking the time to perfect your resume to reflect the reader’s specific needs?
Also, I can assure you that 99% of the people you send a resume and cover letter to will read your resume, but I can not say the same for your cover letter. Busy recruiters often lack the time or desire to read cover letters, and not every initial screener includes the cover letter along with the resume when they refer it to the next level of decision makers.
So when you write your own resume or reach out to a professional to write one for you, make sure the final copy makes you look special and let’s the reader know that you are not looking for A job, but that you are the best qualified candidate for THE job they are looking to fill.
Perry Newman, CPC CSMS is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, career coach, AIPC certified recruiter and SMMU certified social media strategist known for his ability to help his clients get results. You can view his sample resumes at http://www.perrynewman.com/, and email him your resume at firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE resume critique.
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