When is the last time you reviewed your resume? When is the last time anyone complimented your resume? Is it time for an upgrade?
- If your resume has an objective statement, it’s older than a Walkman cassette player.
In today’s resume format, the objective is replaced with what I call the projective section, because it combines the objective and profile from older resume formats.
Here you answer the employer’s question, “Why should I hire you?” and describe what makes you special, unique, and ideally suited for your desired position.
- Your Hotmail.com email evokes an unprofessional image and offends hiring managers.
You could get away with Hotmail when there were fewer options, but today having a Hotmail address on your resume is deemed to be too personal for job search purposes. You can easily customize a new Gmail address or use your own domain name with other email service providers. Aim for a first name + last name format; do not create a customized email address such as email@example.com.
- Your fancy formatting causes your resume to be rejected.
Today the majority of resumes will be scanned by applicant tracking system (ATS) software. Your resume’s formatting may be blocking these systems from finding the keywords they seek or accurately translating 100% of the content contained in your resume.
Inhibiting design barriers include font treatments and colours (shading or underlining), graphics, special characters, images, headers, footers, text boxes, and columns. You must find other ways to display your text to get through the scan and still be attractive to human readers.
- You’re being anti-social (no links to your social media profiles).
A US-based 2014 survey showed that most recruiters use LinkedIn (94%), with Facebook (66%) and Twitter (52%) the next most popular sites employed in the recruitment strategy.
The survey also revealed that recruiters use social media at every stage of the hiring process, including talent search, making contact, ongoing monitoring of potential candidates, to vet candidates before an interview, and to vet candidates after an interview.
- It’s a list of responsibilities.
Today the buzz is about accomplishments, described in captivating stories. I call these STAR stories (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Ideally you’ll have one story for every year of employment. Share each story in three bullet points, with each point starting with an action word.
The point is to focus on the results you achieved, not your responsibilities.
- You’re the only one who likes it.
Believe it or not, some people have actually come for a free resume critique and confided that an HR person or recruiter said their resume was awful. Yet even after sharing my top improvement recommendations, they essentially said, “thanks, but no thanks, my resume is fine.”
If you’re not getting any interviews, your resume is not fine. Get some advice, get some help, and make a change!