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  • When it comes to optimizing the performance of your resume, don’t let anyone fool you: “What you don’t know WILL hurt you.” Check off all the boxes to ensure the resume reaches decision makers and consistently secures interviews. (Trust me when I tell you that there are far more boxes to check than most job seekers are even aware exist) A stalled or stagnant job search usually scapegoats the economy, industry, and other factors, when the fact is a poorly designed resume is usually the culprit. Below are 5 major reasons your resume may not be cutting the mustard, so to speak.

    Your Resume Has No Summary Section (or it is Poorly Written)

    Remember going to the bookstore and deciding what book to buy? (I know in this Amazon world no one goes to the bookstore anymore, but bear with me) A major influence on whether you purchased a book or not was the description on the inside cover, right? When a hiring manager has dozens (or hundreds) of resumes to review, something needs to grab their attention.

    A well-written summary leading off your resume convinces your reader to go deeper. Research has shown a resume has anywhere between 7 to 15 seconds to impress. So obviously no one is reading the entire resume in that time frame. A quality executive summary (or profile) section skillfully encapsulates why you are ideal for the role. And it does so with strength and style. Ignore this important strategy at your own peril.

    You’re Missing Impact Content

    You are more than just a stale job description. Act like it! If your resume only communicates the basic duties you have performed, then you are missing true value you get by providing one. After all, wouldn’t every applicant with a similar background have resume that sounds exactly like yours if this was the way to go? A powerfully consistent resume differentiates you from your competition. Take the time to explore where you had positive impact for each employer. What special projects did you contribute to? What are your contributions to policies and procedures? How about measurable performance metrics? Anything that sets you apart from those with a similar background should appear in the document.

    Your Resume is Missing Rich Keywords

    Your resume does not only have to impress the human audience, but it needs to navigate the digital audience as well. 75% of large companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS), with that figure jumping to 99% of Fortune 500 companies. Want that resume to disappear into a black hole? Ignore the value of keywords in that resume and your wish will come true. ATS software scans your resume for high-value keywords to help hiring authorities trim that huge stack of resumes. Perform research on the most valuable words and phrases for the positions you seek. Keep it based in differentiating skill set and stay away from the broad soft skills that say nothing (hiring managers hate navigating this).

    Your Content is Difficult to Follow

    Pretend your submission is number 143 of 150 that your reader has to review. Now let us suppose the resume is structured in such a way that the hiring manager cannot tell where one position ends and the next one begins. Perhaps it is highly difficult to visually pick up on these things quickly. Not only that, the resume is littered with grammatical mistakes, run-on sentences, inconsistencies regarding phrasing, and other issues that make it difficult to read. Once the hiring authority runs across one or two of these issues after already going through 142 other resumes, how likely is it that they will keep going?

    Clarity of prose and ease of navigation is important to ensure your reader does not struggle to comprehend your information quickly. Remember our stat regarding resume review time? Resumes only have a brief period in which to make an impression. Don’t distract or overly tax your reader, as it is sure to get your document placed in File 13 (that’s the trash can, people!)

    Your Resume Has Technical Design Deficiencies Affecting the ATS

    Remember our friend the ATS? While it is popular in its use, the software can be pretty finicky. While getting better, these hiring management systems still have their faults. A good resume will account for these issues by using proper document infrastructure, section labeling, and content spacing. Opportunities have been lost by having resumes die within the systems they attempt to navigate. If the ATS doesn’t properly scan your resume, you don’t exist to most of these companies.

    Don’t use pre-formatted resumes because they cause a lot of these issues. Especially those that use design elements where it has not been properly thought out regarding what systems see. Of course, one must have the knowledge of what the ATS software does and does not see to properly build your resume. Remember what we said earlier (what you don’t know can and does in fact hurt you).

    Conclusion

    Achieving consistency in gaining interviews is more than about your hustle and drive. You need to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your resume project. Send out hundreds of weak written, poorly structured documents and you’ll only get more frequent “no’s”. Your inbox will still be empty, and what’s worse is that you will never know why it happened. If going it alone with the resume, don’t just scribble duties and think it will beat out other job seekers.

    Take the time to learn the ins-and-outs of what makes your resume jump to the top of the stack. If lacking time or comfort level to research what makes a great resume tick, seek help. Hire a certified resume professional to do the dirty work for you. After all, even when you write your own, you’re competing against our offerings – and we have the cheat codes, right?

  • When your resume seems already packed to capacity, the resume update process can be frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. Formatting and design aside, it is a matter of reassessing priorities and editing accordingly. Unless you already had plenty of room on that 2nd page, some things will need to be changed. The information below is just a little guidance on how to go about executing the update as cleanly as possible.

    Convert any “Present” roles to “Past” with End Dates

    When executing a resume update, I like to do this first. Why? It is easy to forget to go back and change verbs to past tense. Go ahead and get this slightly mundane task out of the way. Don’t forget the verbs in the middle of sentences as well. Some job seekers change those at the start of sentences and forget this.

    Add The New Role

    Once you’re done converting the most recent role in the resume to past tense, it’s time to add the new one. Add some blank lines above the aforementioned role. This gives you room to work with when adding the new position. To ensure consistency in formatting, duplicate the most recent roll by copying and pasting above it. Afterwards, delete the content only, leaving the resume formatting infrastructure intact. Copy and paste the raw material below that, and now you have something to work with to develop the new role. The resume update is about ensuring consistency in voice and language.

    Duplicate the writing structure as best as you can When writing the new position out. After a successful resume update, you should not be able to tell the new content was entered at a different time than the rest of the document. Of course, the same resume writing rules apply. Develop your prose focusing on action and impact, brevity, and grammatical accuracy. Be sure to focus more on impact than tasks and duties.

    Look for Opportunities to Trim Excess from the Resume

    At this point of the resume update, you will usually find that you have gone over to the next page. If the resume has gone from 2 to 3 pages, you’re next task is to figure out what you can trim or eliminate to correct this. Always start with older positions. If the oldest one is now dated, perhaps it can be removed. If not removing an entire position, maybe the job description content can come out, leaving only highlights. What about other older positions, can one or two lines of job description be removed to buy enough space?

    Consider Re-targeting Your Summary

    Most of us are going through a resume update because we are seeking a new position. Are you looking for something consistent with the way this resume was originally developed? Or is your career going through a slightly (or drastically) different directions? This may be a good opportunity to review and make changes to your executive summary that best fits the role you are pursuing. Planning to make the transition into management or executive leadership? This is when you revamp this section to ensure you are focusing on the right qualities and skills the job targets command. In fact, if making the leap to a new level, you may need to go through the entire document to refocus on more leadership and managerial points then you may have in the past. Perhaps previous positions did not call for this.

    Proof the Updated Resume

    Once you have made all edits and changes, it is imperative that you proof the resume before sending it out. Nothing irritates hiring managers more than receiving error-riddled resumes and cover letters from job seekers. It tells them that it was not worth your time to go through your resume to correct obvious errors. And if this is the case, why should they take the time to even call you in? When proofing your resume, you want to do this in two steps. First, you want to go through the document reading for content and continuity. This is where we make sure our content and context is correct. Once completed, go through with your technical hat on and look for spelling and grammar errors, as well as consistency in spacing, margins, and font size and type.

    Executing the proper resume update can sometimes be a little tedious. This is because you are attempting to integrate content that you are reader will not be able to distinguish from the original. But when done correctly, you should see consistent success in achieving interviews, the same as you did with the original resume. You’ll be starting your new job in no time. Good luck!

  • resume writer

    So, you begin preparation for writing your resume and look for it to be as strong as possible. You research every aspect of your old job descriptions to ensure you provide detail . Also, you brainstorm highlights and achievements to include on your resume. After all, your reader should know you are someone that leaves an impact, right? After laying it all out, developing a striking summary, include high-level keywords. Finally, you wrap it up in a nice bow by using a very attractive design. There is no way this resume can miss, right? Well, not so fast.

    When it comes to resume writing, it is not always about being the best and most qualified. Yes, in the practice of hiring talent, there is such a thing as overqualified. When it comes to the development of resume strategy, you can in fact overshoot the target. If you think about it, this is not an overly hard concept to understand.

    Hiring Ain’t Cheap!

    Consider the resume from the standpoint of the hiring authority. Onboarding a new employee is a real and significant cost. The cost of advertising vacancies, posting positions on job boards, and the screening and interviewing process can add up. Not to mention the assessment time, and eventual hiring and lengthy training. Employers want to know that their new hire is not only qualified, but likely to stay. The fear of employers is that an overqualified job seeker will eventually experience dissatisfaction and seek to move on. They are trying to avoid spending thousands of dollars in training costs. Who wants to to find themselves back at the beginning 6 months later?

    “Square Peg in Round Hole” Much?

    While qualifications are definitely key, what employers find just as important is achieving the proper fit. If your resume is significantly overshooting of the role, you may find yourself waiting for a call that never comes. Good resume writing involves not only communicating relevant qualifications, but also knowing how not to overshoot the goal.

    Your previous role may have been CFO. But if seeking a position as an accounting manager, don’t mention putting together the entire financial management strategy for a multi-million-dollar company. Wait for the interview to reveal these things. You then have the opportunity to provide context as to why you are seeking a position beneath those you held previously.

    Quality resume writing is about communicating to your reader that YOU are the proper fit. You would not wear a $5,000 suit to apply for a position as a dishwasher at a homeless shelter. You are resume is no different than you are, in that it needs to READ THE ROOM.

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