A common question resume writers and career management professionals get is “I’m not getting interviews, could it be my resume?” By extension, this includes questions about LinkedIn profile, which stands in as your online resume.
The answer is clear:
It’s important to make the distinction that a resume is a tool to get you an interview, not a guarantee to get you the job. A resume today is akin to an elevator pitch and the ‘product’ you’re trying to build interest in is you, specifically what you know and can do. Your resume has to tell a story of your accomplishments and how you can repeat them for a potential employer.
That said, your resume could be the issue. Here are some things to think about if you suspect you’re not putting your absolute best forward in your resume content:
Have you tried reading your resume from the perspective of another person? One of the fundamental laws of communications is this: No one can read minds. Don’t make assumptions that your audience knows the lingo of your industry or otherwise gets every reference you might make.
Is your resume persuasive or is it simply a biography? European CVs are know for focusing on hard data only and resumes in the US used to be that way too. They’re a collection of your ‘particulars’ plus a chronological listing of job history and function descriptions. While that’s functionally a resume, but not necessarily an effective one today. An effective resume has to show why you’re a person worth talking to. If it’s boring, the reader might think you are too.
Is there too much information? Some resumes are what we call ‘data dumps’ because they contain excessive details about everything you know or have done thrown into a document. A solid one-page resume of concise data beats a lengthy 5-page monster that doesn’t get to the point. Generally, resumes are hardly ever read line-by-line but rather they’re skimmed for 10-30 seconds- so be brief and memorable.
So let’s say you’ve got a great resume that hits all the notes and you’re still not getting calls? What gives then? If the resume tool is good, it’s worth looking at how it’s applied strategically.
How into the search are you? Long dead are the days of a reverse recruiter who’ll go out and find your next job. The best we have now are search engines sending hints but the responsibility and effort for finding a new position rests squarely upon the shoulders of the seeker. Job seeking that’s only a part-time side gig vs. one that’s a full-time side gig is going to impact the number of responses you get.
Are you playing the law of averages? Job seeking for open positions through the application process is about applied statistics: the more you put out the more likely you are to land at least a call-back. This is an tried-and-true sales method and it is why you get cold calls, robocalls, and spam. There’s payout of some kind because the more times you reach out the higher the probability somebody reaches back. The downside of this method is it involves a lot of rejection, but it works.
Are you working with your network? If the thought of job hunting like a salesperson is unappealing then perhaps consider looking at it as an actor does instead. Professional actors are similarly in a constant quest to find work but they know that being a familiar face and being known for talent makes this much easier. For those of us outside showbiz, this just means that we leverage who we know. In fact, this is one of the best ways to find a job. Connecting with people who can connect you with the people who are hiring isn’t always easy but worth the effort.
So, if you’re doing all those things and still not getting picked, do NOT get discouraged. We can narrate in our own heads all day long as to why we didn’t get the job we are perfect for. That is a recipe for more discouragement, not insightful analysis. Consider working with a career coach, resume writer, or your professional network to help you shore up the gaps in your documents, approach, and interviewing skills. Even with today’s economy at ‘full employment’ it’s a tough world out there to find jobs and getting help can be the leg up you need. It’s always been that way.
Be certain of this: Do the work and keep going.
You will get there if you don’t lose hope.