Getting a job interview can be hard work, especially if you are in competition with hundreds of other job hunters for each position. Even if you are qualified, you can easily be overlooked or ignored. If this sounds familiar to you, then it’s time to seriously check your applications and your resume to find out what you need to do to secure job interviews.
Why the resume? Well, your resume is generally what gets you the first phone or Skype interview. Let’s be clear about this. Your resume won’t get you the job. Your resume or your online responses can only get you the initial talk. That’s what you want.
If you are unlike so many other job hunters who ignore the many (sometimes conflicting) rules about how resumes should be formatted, and assuming your resume doesn’t contain the things that get your resume thrown out in under ten seconds, being guilty of the three following points will still result in your resume being deleted or tossed in the virtual trash.
You‘re using inflated job titles
I know I know, you are proud of your job titles. You should be! But, consider your company and how they actually handed out titles. It is very common, especially with Start Ups and SME businesses to hand out funky and important-sounding titles. So when you put a company job title that doesn’t match the common industry job title and doesn’t seem to match your actual responsibilities, all those nice search engines and the recruiter or jobsite ATS software looking for that standard will simply pass you by.
Still not clear? If you’re an analyst, but your title is “Senior Business Consultant”, change it to “Business Analyst” in your resume because that’s the job you do. I’ve seen hundreds of job ads from consulting companies that take “senior” out of the title. You want the interview first – the rest of it (e.g. the money) you can worry about sometime later. So tailor the title to the standard. STILL NOT CONVINCED?
Ask yourself this: Do you think when you’re gone that your company will try and find a “Senior Business Consultant” or will they look for a “Business Analyst”? There you go.
Your Resume is much too fluffy
Recruiters and hiring professionals want to know that the person they are presenting for an interview can produce business results to help meet the stated goals and objectives. That means you have to show that when you worked on the XYZ project as a project manager, the business results were ABC or 123. Provide tangible details (or proof points) that relate to your key responsibilities. Otherwise, the person reading your resume will probably not consider you or your previous work very seriously.
Job hunters in IT have a particularly hard time translating their work into non-IT business results. They generally don’t state how the work helped the business; or the end user; or how it made it easier to work with the customer; or how it increased the reliability of the system for users; or how it helped the company eliminate a platform thereby saving money. Look at how your work translates into faster cycle time, increased productivity, dollar savings or increased revenue. That’s the magic you want people to find when reading your resume.
Your resume is missing the important words
We all like to think that some nice (or not so nice) person is actually taking the time to read our resumes. The reality, though, is that 2/3 of all incoming resumes are processed by key words and algorithm matching systems or ATS software, and the recruiters, in particular, are hooked on that gear Millenials to their smart phones. Maybe they want a business development manager that works in a change environment and has experience selling SAAS to health insurances in Perth. They put that into the search column and out pops matching resumes to consider for an interview.
Yet, if you fit that profile perfectly and don’t have business development manager, change environment, health insurance, and Perth in your resume, the search engine won’t consider your resume as a good match.
List your job skills, tailored to the role you’re applying for, including the soft skills that every job is supposed to have, because it increases the probability of a hit. Use standard job titles and include all the relevant ‘methodologies’ and locations from your experience. A person can’t see your story unless your resume gets spit out of the matching software as a possibility.
If you aren’t getting the calls for interviews even though you think your skills are spot on for a position, it’s time to go back to the foundation — the resume — to see where it can be improved to better reflect your work. You can’t shine in an interview unless you actually get an interview. So, spend some time looking at your resume with a fresh set of eyes and remember to hunt wisely!