The number one pet peeve of job searchers? Being ignored. You know what I mean: you comb through job boards, and finally find something that your experience seems tailor made for. You jump on the opportunity by firing your resume and cover letter through cyberspace, straight at the hiring authority’s or recruiter’s inbox.
And that’s the last you hear of it.
Well, sometimes it’s due to the sheer volume of responses a recruiter gets to a job posting… many perfectly awesome resumes get skipped over when the recruiter has to sort through hundreds of responses to a job posting. Unfortunately, unless you have a contact within the company, there’s not much you can do about this except keep trying.
But more often, you're being ignored because your resume is nowhere near as good as you think it is.
Hmm. What could possibly be wrong with your masterpiece? Well, lots of things:
- Typos: One is damaging. Two or more are fatal.
- Rambling: Make your point. Make it strong, but make it brief. With 98 other resumes to get to, a recruiter isn’t going to have time or patience to read a novel. A one page resume is awesome. Two pages is acceptable if truly necessary. Three pages? You’re killing trees, as well as any chance of getting the job.
- Tiny Font: If it’s hard to read, it won’t get read. 11 or 12 point font is good, though you can use 10 in an absolute pinch. If you have to use 10 point, though, refer to the previous bullet point; in other words, don’t use a smaller font just to cram more on a page.
- Crystal Ball Syndrome: Don’t expect the person reviewing your resume to read between the lines. For example, don’t assume they’ll know you excel at team building simply because you listed “department manager” on your resume. There are lots of department managers who can’t build a team using illustrated instructions, believe me.
- Buzzwords & Catch Phrases: Too many is bad. Too few is bad. And just right is bad, too, if you use them in a way that illustrates you don’t know what they mean.
A good way to avoid these issues is to have a friend, relative, or former coworker take a look at your resume. If they have questions or have constructive criticism to offer, please remember that they are trying to help. Now's not the time to shoot the messenger. Instead, take an honest and dispassionate look at what their response is telling you. They may have hit on why your resume is being ignored.
The bottom line to all of this is, you have but a few seconds to impress the reviewer, and make he or she want to read your resume in more detail. With a hundred or more resumes to plow through, you don’t need to give them a reason to move on... they already want to.
So give them an eye-pleasing, easy to read, insightful document that catches their attention, because that’s the resume that gets put on the “I want to look at this more carefully” stack. That’s the resume that gets a response.
Anything else leaves you wondering why you never hear back.