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5 Reasons to Trash Your Resume
May 4, 2015
Like everyone else, recruiters are much more careful about how they spend time. If you write a resume – no matter how hard you work on it – and it doesn’t get the attention you want, toss it out now and stop wasting your time (and leads) sending it out to recruiters who won’t read it.
Here are the top five reasons to toss it:
1. You care more about the way your resume looks than the way the recruiter wants it to look. You pile up details of your background and a few interesting facts about yourself, then try and shape it into something cohesive with catch words and phrases. You tweak it a thousand times and send it to folks you trust for their input. Then it’s ready to send out, right? Wrong! If you didn’t write/design the entire thing with the recruiter’s eye in mind then you just wasted all that effort. You need to know what bores a recruiter, what irritates them, what makes their eyes roll, what stresses them out, and what piques their interest and curiosity. When the entire document appeals strictly to them and their needs, then and only then is it ready to send.
2. Your resume doesn’t look better than every resume you’ve seen. Sounds like a tall order. Does your resume really have to look better than every example you’ve seen? Yeppers, it does. Why? Because most people aren’t exposed to enough good resumes to know what a really great one looks like, and recruiters see a handful of great ones with every job opening they post. If you expect your resume to get noticed you have to be in the same ballpark as the great ones. That means yours has to be better than anything you see. If it’s not, trash it and start over or have someone more skilled do it for you. Otherwise, it can take you ten times longer to get bites – out of whatever jobs are left and didn’t go to those with better resumes.
3. You’ve included too much or too little information. How much is too much or too little? If you don’t immediately know the answer to that question then odds are you’ve done it wrong. I’ve seen resumes that mentioned being a “proud parent of two cats”, failed to list Employee of the Month awards, and focused on the types of trucks previously driven when they wanted to move into pharmaceutical sales. Most of us forget 90% of what we’ve done, fail to recognize our accomplishments as they happen, are extremely uncomfortable marketing ourselves, or are so proud of our major in geology that we want to highlight it even though we’re applying for an IT role. Don’t waste the good job leads by submitting a resume that undersells you or oversells with erroneous info.
4. You haven’t told compelling “stories”. There are three stories to every great resume: What you’ve done, where you want to go, and the larger, more subtext-driven message – who you are as a prospective employee. To get the background right switch out “Office manager responsible for accounting, organization, and personnel” for something more illustrative like, “Manage staff of seven across reception, facilities, purchasing, and accounts payable departments, lead all bookkeeping and payroll tasks, and drive office protocols and processes”. To communicate your desired future just describe your background content emphasizing those tasks that you’d like to do again (downplaying what you disliked). But creating a subtext of “who you are” is much more difficult because it isn’t mentioned or taught in resume books or classes. It’s the sum of the entire document – all its’ details, content, and design pieces. If you aren’t deliberate about these it’s like getting dressed for an important date in unfamiliar clothes – with your eyes shut!
5. Your cover letter sucks. Recruiters are not required to open your resume. If they get 200 emails, the first thing they want to do is weed out as many as they can so they don’t have to read them all. If your cover letter is bland, overly personal, disjointed, out of alignment with what they want, or just poorly written they’ll assume the resume is even worse. Likewise, if your cover letter gives away too many rich details the recruiter might make a snap decision about who you are and won’t open the attachment. It’s a fine balance to know what will inspire their curiosity and hope about what’s attached. If you don’t write great cover letters find someone who does!
Rock Star Resumes is a full-service job search partner, offering custom resumes and resume designs, award-winning cover letters, employment coaching, executive bios, and job-search campaign management. Visit www.RockStarResumes.net for before and after samples, and a complete list of services and prices.