5 Reasons Why Your Resume May Not Be Getting Call Backs from Recruiters
Career Coach Central Podcast with Career Coach Griz: Episode 2- Condensed Show Notes.
Recently, I've had a lot of conversations with people about their resume. As you may know, the job market is bananas right now. Everyone is looking to make a positive change in their life—especially when it comes to their career—and they're looking to update their resume.
By the time job seekers get to me, though, it's usually because they have sent their resume out to a multitude of places, they’ve completed many job applications, and they're hearing nothing but crickets back from recruiters.
After having a multitude of conversations with recruiters, it turns out that there are many reasons why this could be happening. From them, I’ve learned the common reasons why resumes are being passed over regardless of whether the person has awesome qualifications for the job.
From those conversations, I created an online resume-writing course which is now available on my new online school if you're interested in gaining some insights from recruiters and learning exactly how to create your resume that stands out in today's job market.
If you are sending out your resumes and not hearing anything back, let's talk about five reasons why your resume may not be getting you a callback, in no particular order, and what to do to fix the problem.
#1- Not Tailoring Your Resume
The biggest mistake job seekers make is that they’re sending the same resume to every job they’re applying to.
I worked with a client a few months ago. A Director in the tech industry at a huge company. He considered himself to be a “jack of all trades” and his resume read exactly like that. His resume was several pages long resume, listing all of his experience, and he was using that one resume to apply for different types of jobs. By the time he got to me, he had sent his resume to 149 different vacancies and had heard back from maybe three of them. When we sat down to look at his resume, we found out why. His resume wasn't focused on the jobs to which he was applying.
For your resume to stand out, it has to be tailored to the job to which you're applying. Why? Because tailoring your resume gives the recruiters a more focused perspective about who you are and why you might be a good fit for that particular role. If you're applying to different "job families," create a template for each job family and cherry pick only relevant information from your vast experience that matches the requirements and duties of the vacancies in question.
#2- Your Resume Isn’t Designed to Stand Out in Today’s Job Market
When job seekers look at updating their resume, most of them either update a resume they’ve used previously, or they go to the internet and look at resume examples. Sometimes, they’re also reading articles and getting conflicting information about how to design a resume that stands out.
What happens to a lot of people is that they get overwhelmed. They're trying to put all these pieces together, but they can't figure out how to do it, and so they just end up going with what they think they know. The problem is that what you think might work for your resume may not actually be what is going to work in today's climate.
A recruiter friend of mine made this very important point about resumes. She said, “Griz, can you please just do me one favor? Can you let job seekers know that their resume should not be a research project for me, please? It needs to be short, and it needs to only include their proudest accomplishments. Otherwise, it’s not clear why they’re a good fit.”
A common mistake job seekers make is to think that if they can showcase all of their experience in each job role, that recruiters will create their own image about the person’s capabilities in hopes that they’ll be offered a job interview. But it doesn’t work that way, sadly.
What recruiters are repeatedly saying to me is that if you're putting too much information on your resume, it will likely get passed over.
Your resume must be formatted in a way where the right information pops out in the review process and only include information that is pertinent to the role to which you're applying.
#3- Your Resume Has Way Too Much Information
This point relates closely to the previous point: Your resume should be no longer than two pages, and it should only include your proudest accomplishments in your various roles that showcase the skills needed for the roles to which you apply.
In other words, the accomplishments you choose to add to your resume should be directly tied to the job that you're applying to so that recruiters can see what kind of results you've achieved in this space. Also, it isn't necessary to include experience beyond the last 10-15 years of your work history. Recruiters are looking mainly at your most recent experience that relates to the role.
Bottom line: do not put everything but the kitchen sink in your resume. What I mean by that is don't go list off all of the responsibilities that you've had in every role, because that makes for a very long and unfocused resume. Recruiters are likely not going to take the time to review it, and your story will get lost in all of that information.
Remember, only list your most notable accomplishments and validate those accomplishments with numerical values whenever possible to show the outcomes you've achieved in your work.
#4- Your Resume Isn't Skimable
If you had to take a guess how much time recruiters spend initially looking at our resume, how much time would you guess? Would you guess five minutes? Ten minutes?
The real answer is six seconds. That's according to the recruiters I've personally spoken to, which have been several.
Those initial six seconds are used to determine whether your resume is going to merit more of the recruiter’s time in the review process. If you make it past those initial six seconds, you're going to get maybe 30 more seconds of their time before they make a quick judgment call about whether your resume is going to go into the “maybe” pile or into the “no” pile.
Your resume must be skimable because recruiters are not going to spend a whole lot of time on it. And when they're skimming it, it must be easy for them to connect those dots in their mind about why you are a viable candidate for the role that they're recruiting for.
Separate your sections out with standard headers, align important dates to the right margin of the page, and strategically use bolding to present a well-organized document. Pay attention to your formatting and ask for feedback from trusted peers, friends, or family members to test for skim ability. Alternatively, you can always schedule a free consultation with me where I will take a look at it and give you some feedback personally.
#5- Your Resume is Not ATS Friendly
Have you ever heard of an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS for short? If you're not familiar with the term, you should know that most larger employers use an ATS to manage the application process.
This is a system that collects, scans, and ranks resumes according to fitness for the role. The way it does that is by scanning your resume for keywords that the employer enters on the back end, and looks for those same keywords on your resume.
If the system determines that your resume has enough of the right information listed on it, then your resume is given a ranking, and if that ranking is high enough, your resume then goes into the hands of a recruiter.
Your resume has to be written in a way that it “beats the ATS system,” and that's really hard for a lot of people because job seekers don't often know if a company is using an ATS, or what an ATS-friendly resume looks like.
It is imperative that your resume is created in a way that is both ATS friendly and also skimable by a human.
Now, you can go out to the internet and start looking for ATS-friendly resume templates, but you run the risk of finding a lot of conflicting information about what makes for an ATS-friendly resume.
How to Write a Resume That Stands Out in Today’s Job Market
There are so many people out there looking to make a career change. People are desperately working on updating their resume, applying to many jobs, and they're not hearing anything back from recruiters. Their frustration level is increasing because their resume but it just isn’t getting them anywhere, and recruiters are frustrated because they’re not finding qualified applicants for the roles they’re trying to fill.
Knowing all of this, I saw a way to bridge that gap that exist between job seekers and recruiters. I’ve created an online resume-writing course that is self-paced and it's been reviewed by recruiters. This course is packed with additional insights from recruiters, and it walks you through, step-by-step, on how to create a strong, polished resume that is both ATS friendly and skimable by recruiters so that the right information pops out to both.
This course includes a resume template, easy-to-follow instructions, detailed videos that walk you through those instructions, and it shows you exactly how to pick out the information that needs to appear on your resume. In addition, it comes with an editable Cover Letter template that you can modify and submit along with your resume to stand out as a candidate, as well as tips on how to apply so you don't get lost in the sea of competing applicants. In addition, the course comes with a resume-review session with me, where together, we'll put the finishing touches on your new resume after you complete the course, and together, we'll make sure you're set up for success in your job-seeking efforts.
A note on cover letters...
Sometimes, employers make it optional for job seekers to upload a cover letter. When that option is available, I always recommend you include it. But, that often brings people a lot of angst because they don’t know what to write on their cover letter. In my online resume writing course, you also get a Cover Letter template that is customizable so that you can use it a springboard to craft your own cover letter with ease.
If you're interested in registering for that class, access my online school on this page and register for the online resume-writing course.
Creating your resume in the right way increases the likelihood it will be seen by recruiter. The way you format your resume increases the likelihood that recruiters will quickly connect the dots as to why you are the most qualified candidate for the job and offer you an interview.
I hope this information helps you to connect some of your own dots, in your own mind, about some things that you can change to make your job-seeking efforts more productive as you work on constructing your resume.
If you have questions or want to talk more about your own resume, feel free to schedule your free consultation and it will be my pleasure to chat with you.
Cheers to your success!
Grisel Scarantino, MA, ODPC is a Career Coach, better known as Career Coach Griz. She’s a coach, consultant, speaker, author, home chef, enjoyer of life, and lover of funny dog videos. If you want to fall back in love with your career path, learn how to gain more traction in your job seeking, grow your success as a professional, and better enjoy the life that you're working so hard to support, then follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Click here to schedule your free consultation.