7 Reasons Why Recruiters And Employers Dread Reading A Resume
August 21, 2014
By Bob McIntosh, Career Trainer
Here’s a fact: Very few people like reading resumes, especially those who read hundreds of them a week. Ask any recruiter or employer. I critique and write resumes as part of my job. I’ve read hundreds of them and have conducted numerous critique sessions, but I’ve got nothing over recruiters and employers.
The only bright spot in this whole process is reading a resume that doesn’t give me a sharp pain between my eyes, one that is relatively sound. A resume that is outstanding—now, that’s a WOW moment.
Once you understand that recruiters and employers are not dying to read your resume, you can focus your attention on writing one that pleasantly surprises them, one that prompts them to recommend you for an interview. To entice them into inviting you in for an interview, you must avoid making the following mistakes.
1. An apathetic approach to writing your resume.
Don’t let your apathy show in the quality of your product, which shouts, “I’m not into writing a resume. It means I have to think about what I did.” This sentiment comes across loud and clear from people who feel this way. They resent having to write a resume and would like others to do it for them. Do not rely on others to write your resume, it’s your responsibility.
2. Your resume is a tome.
It’s a five page document consisting of every duty you performed within the past 25 years; and it’s so dense that the person reading it puts it in the “don’t read” pile simply because it’s nearly impossible to read. I recently glanced at a resume that resembled what I’ve just described. I made no false pretense and simply put it down after two seconds saying, “I can’t read this.”
3. It lacks accomplishments.
I know, you’ve heard this a thousand times. But it’s worth repeating because you want to stand out from the rest. Recruiters and employers relate to quantified results with dollars, numbers, and percentages. Many people think accomplishments should only be highlighted in the “Work History” section or under “Career Highlights.”
One or two of your accomplishments should be stated in the “Performance Profile.” “Develop processes that improve operations and result in double-digit revenue growth.” A statement like this is meant to grab the reader’s attention. This assertion must then be backed up in the “Employment History” section with explicit examples and dollar amounts.
4. Failing to show recruiters and employers what you’ll do for them.
Recruiters and employers don’t want to know what you did, they want to know what you can do. You’re probably thinking, “If my work history is in the past. That’s what I did. How do I show employers what I can do?” It’s what we in the field call prioritizing your statements, or targeting your resume to each company to which you apply. In other words, illustrate how your qualifications and accomplishments match the employers’ requirements in order of importance.
5. You don’t know what recruiters and employers want.
Many people don’t take the time to dissect the job ad to discover the most important skills and experience the employer wants to see on your resume. If the ad is skimpy, go to the company’s career section on its website.
Better yet, if you know someone at the company or know someone who knows someone at the company, call him or her and ask more about the position. Social networks make a great tool for finding influential people at companies. The bottom line is that you can’t write a targeted resume if you don’t understand the requirements of the job.
6. You lack keywords and phrases.
As a major job board points out, keywords are the skills applicant tracking systems (ATS) search for to determine if your resume will be the first of many to be read by recruiters and employers. Your branding headline, much like the headline on your social network profile, is the first place on your resume where you’ll utilize keywords. Then, you will make sure they’re peppered throughout the rest of your resume.
Now you know how to ace a telephone interview. The next step is face to face, and that’s one interview you can’t do in your jammies!
7. You apply for a job for which you’re not.
I know the urge to find a job, any job, is great; but don’t waste the time of a recruiter, employer, or yourself by applying for a job for which you’re not qualified. You may think there’s an inkling of hope that you’ll get an interview. But if you have only five of the 10 requirements necessary to do the job, there really is no hope. And this can be determined within the first ten seconds of reading the resume.
A woman in HR recently related this story to me, “I received a resume in a USPS photo envelope (heavy duty mailer) certified mail. The resume is on lovely cream-colored card stock, beautifully formatted. The problem, she is applying for the Assistant Town Accountant position and for the last ten years she has been a dog groomer.”
These are but seven faux pas you must avoid if you want to write a powerful resume that is enjoyable to read and gets you a spot in the hot seat. Once you’re at the interview, you’re one step closer to a job offer.
About the Author
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer at the Career Center of Lowell, where he leads more than 20 workshops on the career search. Bob is often the person jobseekers and staff go to for advice on the job search. As well, he critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews. One of his greatest accomplishments is starting a LinkedIn group, which is one of the largest of its kind in the state, and developing three in-high-demand workshops on LinkedIn. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. Please visit Bob’s blog at www.thingscareerrelated.wordpress.com.