Is There Something Wrong With My Resume?

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

Is there something wrong with my resume?  I’ve applied to over 100 jobs over the past 6 months and have gotten only a handful of responses which haven’t led anywhere.  I understand that I don’t have a lot of “real world experience,” but I do have an MBA along with 5 internships.  I’m at my wit’s end; any help would be greatly appreciated!

It can be extremely frustrating when you’re putting a lot of time and effort into something, in this case your job search, and getting very little in return.  Let me start by asking a few questions.  What type of positions are you applying to?  Are you sending out a generic resume for each position you are applying to?  What type of networking and self marketing have you done?

Let’s start with the positions that you are applying to.  With 5 internships, you’ve probably accumulated about 1-2 years of “real world experience” so you will want to make sure to target your search for positions that require a degree and require minimal experience.  If you are interested in a position but it’s requiring 5 or more years of experience, I can pretty much guarantee you will not get a call for an interview.  Know your skills.  Make sure the positions that you are applying to are positions that you are qualified.  Often times I have clients wonder why they’re not getting calls on positions they’ve applied to only to find out after some probing that they are applying to positions that “sound like something I’d be good at” but in reality do not have any of the required experience.

Have you changed up your resume for the different types of positions you are applying to or are you sending out the same resume for each
position?  Are you including a cover letter?  In addition to writing a customized cover letter for each position, it’s also very important that you customize your resume for each position that you apply to.  When I say customize, I mean change your heading to the title of the position that you are applying to, change your summary/objective to match the position and make sure your bullet points are showcasing the things that you have done in past positions that make you a strong candidate for the one you are applying to.  You want your resume to be focused.   If you need help, you might want to talk to a professional resume writer for ideas or take a resume writing class that teaches you how to customize your resume for each position.

Have you started networking yet?  No one can market yourself with more passion than you.  Make sure you join professional networks like LinkedIn or professional organizations in your area.  I can’t tell you how often I hear from people who have found their job through networking; myself included.  The last two positions I’ve had were due to being on LinkedIn, the jobs found me.  Don’t be afraid to join groups on LinkedIn or other professional organizations and be active.  These are professionals all there to help each other.  Ask questions and learn from others.

Is there something wrong with your resume?

To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com or on twitter: resumesurvisldy or connect with her directly on LinkedIn by sending her an invite to connect:  resumesurvislady@gmail.com

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Do I add a photo to my resume?

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

I was talking to a Professional Resume Writer and he suggested I add a picture to my resume.  I had never heard of this before.  Is this something new and I’m behind the times?

I have started to see more and more resumes come through with pictures on them, however they are still very few and far between on them.  So no, I don’t think you’re behind the times with that one.  My personal opinion regarding photos on resumes is to save the photos for your LinkedIn profile but leave them off your resume.  Why?  I left my opinion out of it as I posted this question in one of the many Recruiting groups I belong to on LinkedIn. What I found was the responses I received echoed my own thoughts on the matter.

Before I get into the reasons, I just want to remind everyone that I am NOT an attorney.  Now that we have that business out of the way, let’s talk about why there should not be pictures on resumes.  The first reason you will want to leave your picture off your resume is because most electronic means by which you will be submitting your resume for a position will not be able to read the photo and will instead replace it with gibberish.  When your resume is read electronically and comes across something it cannot interpret, it turns that into a bunch of symbols, numbers and letters which in turn takes out the formatting of your resume and makes it very difficult for the person on the other end of the resume.  If the recruiter or hiring manager cannot read your resume, they will not be able to give your resume proper consideration.

The second reason you will want to leave your picture off of your resume is that if it does make it intact through an electronic applicant tracking system, your resume might not be looked at due to the fear of discrimination based on what you look like.   Again, I am NOT an attorney.  If you submit a resume with your picture on it, there could be pre conceived notions about age, race, etc.    So, if it’s notice during the application process that there is a picture file attached, they will not open or consider the resume to avoid what could be perceived by others as a bias.

So why is a picture okay on LinkedIn but not on a Resume?  The answer might surprise you.  A LinkedIn profile is not considered an  application however a resume that’s been submitted for a position is considered to be expressing interest in the position.  In simpler terms, it’s the difference between being an applicant and being a social networker.

Bottom line, leave the photos off your resume and instead put them to good use on your LinkedIn profile for networking purposes.

To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, or have her help you with your resume, email her at: resumesurvislady@gmail.com or on twitter: resumesurvisldy or connect with her directly on LinkedIn by sending her an invite to connect: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Online Application Portal or Black Hole?

Did you ever wonder what happens to your resume once you apply to a job?  You finally find the perfect job posting, you’ve read the job description a hundred times and KNOW you can do the job; it’s the dream job you’ve always wanted.  So, you sit down and write a carefully crafted cover letter outlining your skills and how you would be the perfect fit for the job.  You edit your resume to better showcase your skills as they relate to the position.  Finally, after spell and grammar check, a last-minute once over; you submit your resume through the online application portal.  You did it!  You applied!  You just know as soon as the recruiter reads your resume you’re going to get a phone call.  In fact it’s been 15 minutes since you submitted your resume, you should be getting a call any minute….

So, did your resume really go through the application portal or did it enter the proverbial black hole?  More often than not I find that people applying for jobs are not qualified for the position they are applying for.   On average I would say that two-thirds of applicants for any given position are not a fit.  While they may state a good case in their cover letter as to why they would like the job and think they are a good fit for the position; in reality based upon the experience listed on their resume they have no relevant experience and it is really a “dream job.”   As a both a resume writer and a recruiter, I view hundreds of resumes a day and my biggest “pet peeve” is when someone applies to a job that they are not qualified for.  If I specifically state in my job description that the successful candidate MUST HAVE PLC programming experience or a CPA certification, I will only consider candidates that have that experience listed on their resume. 

So, what can you do to increase your chances of making it through the initial screening and getting your resume in front of the hiring manager? Make sure you play close attention the job description of the position you are applying for and have a “real” handle on what your skills and experience are.  Make sure you edit your resume and create a new cover letter for each position.  Utilize key words found in the job description and work them in to your resume.  If the job description states that a requirement is to have PLC programming and troubleshooting experience, detail that not only in your cover letter, but also in your resume giving specifics as to what types of PLC’s and what your responsibilities were.  If the position requires a CPA certification and an MBA, again, list it.

Lastly, never be afraid to seek out and contact the company for follow-up if you haven’t heard anything about your application after a week.  It is perfectly acceptable to call or email to verify that your application has been received and to ask what the process is for resumes to be reviewed.

Good luck!

Send questions regarding resumes and job hunting to:  eesurvissolutions@gmail.com