Many job seekers spend a lot of time creating a résumé, and applying for jobs, but never get called for an interview. Why? There are many possible reasons why recruiters might not be reading your résumé, starting with these 10.
1. It lacks accomplishments/achievements
Don’t just list job responsibilities. Show proof of accomplishment. Use numbers and show results, such as how you saved money, what technologies you used to complete a project, how many people you managed and so on.
“The recruiter or hiring manager will be able to derive what you do from your job title,” says Chris Dardis, vice president of HR consulting and executive search for Versique, a Minneapolis-based executive search and consulting firm. “The accomplishments and achievements are where you catch their attention.”
2. It lacks details on how you achieved your success
Salespeople are often guilty of this, says Dennis Bird, senior consultant in the Edina office of Right Management, a global leader in talent and career management. A common résumé phrase may be “Increased sales year over year by 15 percent.” How did you increase sales? Did you expand your customer base? Win an account from a competitor?
“The recruiter will be more impressed by your accomplishments if you provide details on how you achieved your success,” says Bird.
3. It’s not tailored to the job
Each résumé should be tailored for the specific job you’re applying for. Yes, it’s tedious and challenging. But there are résumé optimization tools like Jobscan.co that allow job seekers to compare/match their résumé to a job description before submitting. Utilize this technology.
4. It doesn’t contain enough keywords
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) help recruiters find the most qualified applicants by scanning résumés for specific keywords in the job description and then ranking the matching résumés from top to bottom. If the job description is looking for Workday software, don’t just list Workday in one section of your résumé. Mention Workday three to four times, each time showing an example of success using Workday.
But adding keywords doesn’t mean “keyword stuffing” — creating a lengthy bulleted list of keywords. Recruiters despise keyword stuffing.
“Avoid keyword stuffing, because even if the ATS doesn’t catch it, the recruiter will, and you will lose credibility,” says Dardis.
5. It has serious spelling errors
“Many recruiters will give you a break for one spelling error, but more errors will eliminate you from consideration,” says Bird. Proofread. Proof again.
6. Your application is late
Recruiters often have a set number of qualified applicants they will consider for a job. If they only pick the first 30 candidates who meet the screening qualifications and you are No. 31, they won’t look at your application even if you are the best person.
7. It’s crammed with too much information
Recruiters only spend 6 to 15 seconds in their first review of a résumé, and if you have so much content that it’s hard to read, they won’t find your qualifications. “The best résumé you have is one that is easy to read and easy to scan by recruiters,” says Bird.
8. It has too little information
If you don’t communicate the value that you bring through your skills, expertise and experiences, your résumé won’t get noticed. “If recruiters don’t know what you can do, they won’t consider you a viable candidate,” says Bird.
9. It doesn’t meet all the qualifications
If you are missing one of the “must-have” qualifications, don’t apply. Recruiters legally can’t bring you into the process if you are missing a key qualification.
10. You didn’t follow the instructions
Some job descriptions serve as tests. If the job ad asks for a résumé as a PDF, send it as a PDF. If it requires a cover letter, send it. Do exactly as requested.
Matt Krumrie wrote the Star Tribune’s Ask Matt career advice column for 14 years. He has been writing résumés for job seekers at all stages of the job search for 15 years. Contact him via his website, ResumesByMatt.com.