Job hunting isn’t easy. We’ve all been there, refreshing LinkedIn over and over, checking and double checking your email inbox (don’t forget the the spam filter!) and wondering if every resume you send out is being shot into the vacuum of space. Endless custom cover letters, introductions, emails, online applications, and networking events start feel fruitless and futile and you wonder if you’ll ever find a job. Frustration mounts and soon you’re applying to jobs you’re not qualified for, or jobs you don’t even want.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Everyone gets discouraged during the job hunt, but that’s no reason to give up. Often times, making simple changes to your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profile, and overall approach can make a huge difference in how often your resume gets noticed. Here’s a few common resume mistakes, and some simple ways to get your resume to work as hard as you do.
Applying for jobs that you aren’t qualified for
Feeling frustrated that you’re not getting the results you want and deserve? Maybe you’re applying for the wrong positions. Everyone wants to level-up in their career or find an interesting change of pace, but aiming too high or straying into an unfamiliar industry can waste valuable time and resources that could be spent getting you into the job that’s right for you. Companies want employees with the skills to get the job done right, so look for companies and positions that make sense for your experience and skill set.
It can take hours to apply for a single position. Filling out online corporate submission forms with information that’s already on your resume is annoying and time-consuming. Instead of wasting hours uploading resumes and filling out online applications, first look at the job requirements and compare them to what’s on your resume. Ask yourself “am I a good fit for this position? If I were in the hiring manager’s shoes, would I hire me?” If the answer is no, don’t waste your time. Instead, look for positions that won’t require the hiring manager to take a leap of faith in hiring you. This realistic approach will help you get hired faster, creating more opportunities for advancement within the company.
Your resume has typos, misspelled words, and grammatical errors.
When hunting for the next step in a professional career, every detail matters. One small typo or grammatical error on your resume can be the difference between landing a new job or ending up in the recycling bin. Don’t make the mistake of proofreading your own resume. Most people can’t spot all of their own writing mistakes, even after carefully proofreading every line. Even the best writers in the world have an editor they trust to make changes and corrections.
Always send your resume to someone else for proofreading and editing. It helps if that person is a seasoned professional in the field you’re job hunting in, so they will understand industry terminology and have a better understanding what employers in that field are looking for. But the best resume proofreaders are people whose job it is to help you get hired. Recruiters, staffing agents, and professional resume writers have a wealth of information and experience that is key when trying to find a job in a competitive industry.
Your resume and profile aren’t optimized for search
Recruiters and employers often use keyword searches on sites like LinkedIn to pre-screen qualified candidates for positions that require specific experience and skill sets. These keywords can cover a broad range of topics, and often change depending on the industry you’re applying in. Ideally, your resume and LinkedIn profile should contain the right keywords to get you noticed in your specific field. Unfortunately, not even the most skilled and trained professionals know all the keywords and search terms used by recruiters.
The best way to optimize your resume for industry-specific searches is with the help of a professional resume writer with recruiting experience. Recruiting professionals have up-to-the-minute information about what search terms are hot in your industry, and can help you tailor your resume to maximize its potential.
Your resume is being screened out by an Applicant Tracking system (ATS)
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are designed to allow companies to automatically screen out resumes before they ever reach department heads or hiring managers. The tracking system “robots” decide if your resume will be seen by a human based on the presence of (or lack of) popular industry-specific keywords, education, and skill sets. The companies with the most coveted, competitive positions screen out roughly 70% of resumes submitted. Screening resumes saves time and money, but can often leave qualified candidates getting left out in the cold.
Optimizing your resume to make it past a company’s ATS is a crucial step in creating a career-building resume, but adding ATS keywords isn’t as easy as it might sound. ATS technology is hard to fool, so for the best results, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional resume writer with a background in recruiting that’s familiar with ATS technology and the best ways to use it to your advantage.
Your resume doesn’t highlight your strengths
Some of the most talented and accomplished professionals have poorly written resumes that don’t highlight their strengths or effectively sell their skill set. Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, with coveted jobs receiving hundreds and sometimes thousands of qualified applicants. If your resume isn’t effectively highlighting your experience, strengths, and accomplishments, getting an interview is nearly impossible.
Sometimes even the most qualified applicants struggle with self-promotion, often underplaying major career highlights in order to avoid sounding cocky or egotistical. Though it may feel uncomfortable to shamelessly promote past accomplishments, this is exactly what employers look for. We all have strengths and special skills that can be highlighted, and that is what a good a resume should focus on.
Many people who struggle with self-promotion on their resumes enlist the help of a professional resume writer. A qualified resume writer understands effective communication, industry-specific terminology, and isn’t afraid to pull out all the stops when it comes to highlighting your strengths.
When it comes to resumes, a little professional help can go a long way. A professional resume writer can help ease the burden of searching for the perfect job, and might even help unlock some career potentials you’ve never even thought of. Looking for a job is stressful enough. Give yourself a break. Hire a professional to write your resume.
— Valerie August, owner, gorillacareertactics.com
For more information about professional resume writing, LinkedIn makeovers, professionally written cover letters, career consultations, and more, contact Valerie August at gorillacareertactics.com