Applied to 100 Jobs With No Response? 10 Immediate Resumé Fixes
Whether you are entry-level or mid-career, applying to jobs can be stressful, frustrating, and demoralizing if you are not receiving positive responses. If you’ve applied to seemingly endless jobs without a single response, there is probably something wrong with your resumé.
On average, hiring managers spend about 30 seconds browsing your resumé, so if your resumé doesn’t give a great impression right away, it will end up in the trash. Below are just ten of the most common fixes I make to my clients’ resumés.
1. Remove Your Summary Objective
With very few, well-worded exceptions, your resumé should avoid a summary objective at the top of the page. Your objective is typically redundant, obvious, and takes up space that would otherwise be better used to display your experiences or skills. It also uses up a significant amount of the 30 second (or less) time period the hiring manager has to make a decision whether you’re worth interviewing. Skip it.
2. Move Your Skills to the Bottom
I’ve seen countless resumés with a 2-inch list of skills at the top just underneath the applicant’s name. Don’t do this. It looks fishy to a hiring manager if you list 25 well-spaced skills before you even start to mention work experience. If you include skills or certifications, which is a great idea, make sure they are relevant to the position and condensed at the bottom of the resumé under your experience.
It looks fishy to a hiring manager if you list 25 well-spaced skills before you even start to mention work experience.
3. Reduce the Resumé to One Page
This shouldn’t need to be said, but it’s still an issue. Condense the header, skills & interests, and education if you’re struggling to make it all fit.
4. Use the Right Font, Size, and Formatting
Remember the 30 second review? A large part of that review is based on how your resumé looks and how easy it is to read. If your resumé consists of clumps of paragraphs in a small font, your hiring manager won’t even bother to attempt to read it. With the exception of creative resumés, aim for Times New Roman or another traditional font, size 11 or 12, and use consistent formatting.
5. Use Bullet Points, Not Paragraphs
Speaking of formatting, use bullet points to express your work experience and other skills. Paragraph-form is acceptable, however, it is the opinion of most hiring managers, including myself, that bullet-point formatted qualifications are exceedingly easier to digest.
6. Bold Statistics & Numbers
If your job involves quarterly performance numbers, percentages, or other success metrics, add them and then bold them. Particularly in Sales positions, bolding performance statistics is a way to stand-out from other candidates and enables the hiring manager to quantify your potential impact.
7. List Major Achievements & Awards Strategically
If you have one or two achievements or awards, feel free to list them via bullet points underneath the relevant work experience in which you received them. If you have a list of achievements or awards, it looks great to list all of them in a separate section entitled “Awards & Achievements.” Here you can list (and bold where relevant!) any and all accomplishments relevant to the position you’re applying for.
8. Spell-Check and Check for Tense
Spell-checking and grammar-checking are the most important and most overlooked part of drafting a resumé. Particularly for positions involving a level of detail orientation or writing capability, your resumé not only demonstrates your experience but also serves as a writing sample. A picky hiring manager will immediately disregard your resumé if there are several (or even just one) errors.
9. Print it Out
You catch more errors in spelling, grammar, and formatting when reviewing your resumé off the computer screen. Print it out, hand it out to your friends and family or other professionals, and make sure the document is perfect.
10. Formatting is Important
The way the document looks when you print it out or open it on a computer should look the same on your screen as it does on the hiring manager’s screen and in the recruiter’s hands. Using Word, TextEdit, and other processors can lead to messy formatting on various computer systems. Using Adobe locks the document, preventing another system from opening the document in a messy format.
Have you considered hiring a professional resumé writer? With over 8 years of experience helping others improve their careers, I founded Unfold Careers to provide affordable career advice to students and professionals struggling to meet their career goals. Send your resumé to firstname.lastname@example.org for a complete resumé makeover.