Don't let your resume sell you short during your job search.
In today's job market, most employers rely on recruiting technology to screen potential candidates. Consequently, job seekers have to worry not only about impressing recruiters with their resume, but also whether the resume makes it into their hands at all.
Recently, TopResume commissioned an independent, two-part study to understand just how a professionally written resume impacts the hiring process. The study found that recruiters identified candidates with professionally written resumes to be worth seven percent more than those with self-written (DIY) versions. Candidates with professionally written resumes were also more likely to secure interviews, land a new job sooner, and advance their career faster. You can read the full results of the study here.
What does this all mean for you? Well, with all the obstacles of the hiring process, your resume might not be hitting the mark and getting you in the door. Here are five ways your self-written resume could be selling you short.
It is getting stuck at the ATS
What's the point of having an impressive resume if it never reaches the hiring manager's desk? Most employers nowadays rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen through potential candidates before calling them in for an interview. The ATS is designed to vet resumes and eliminate the candidates perceived to be least qualified for a particular position. Between keywords and formatting, making it through this digital gatekeeper is a careful science — one that most job seekers don't know how to manage.
It doesn't present a compelling career narrative
A strong resume tells the right story to the hiring manager. Remember, your resume is a marketing document that should be written with two objectives in mind: showcasing your job goals and impressing your target audience (recruiters, hiring managers, etc.). Therefore, every single piece of information written in your resume should highlight your qualifications and achievements. Recruiters are not interested in knowing about every type of task that you have handled in the past; they only want to know whether you're the right fit for the role that they're interviewing for right now. This means creating a powerful narrative from your career history will help you stand out from the competition.
It lists responsibilities instead of describing your impact
Your resume shouldn't just be a laundry list of responsibilities from each of your job roles up to now. Instead, it should showcase your achievements throughout your career and outline the impact you have made in the organizations. Instead of writing that you “processed recruitment paperwork and maintained personal files,” for example, write that you “ensured both legal compliance and employee engagement by managing an interactive orientation program.” Without utilizing quantifiable results and impactful action verbs, your resume has no chance of making its way to the hiring manager's desk.
Your achievements aren't quantified
When recruiters in the study were asked to rate how well each resume they reviewed demonstrates and/or quantifies the candidate's ability to deliver results, the professionally written resumes received higher scores than the DIY versions — 57 percent vs. 35 percent.
Recruiters will gauge your potential based on your past accomplishments, which means quantifying your achievements is extremely important. Anyone can claim that they have a certain talent; however, the candidates who show proof of their skills are the ones who will catch an employer's attention. Rather than saying you “improved sales,” be more specific. Stating that you “increased revenue by 50% last year” will surely get the recruiter's attention!
It is incorrectly formatted
A polished resume clearly articulates what you do, outlines your goals, and tells your narrative. However, you also have to balance the visual elements in your resume so that readers can quickly scan it and understand your story. Resumes with fancy designs and colorful fonts might seem like a good idea, but they're actually considered a turn-off to most employers. Recruiters want to see an uncomplicated resume design that strikes the right balance between content and white space. If your resume is not easy to read, recruiters won't think twice to bin it and simply move on to the next application.
How can you ensure that your resume won't continue to sell you short? Professional resume writers, like those at TopResume, know how to create a resume that gets through the ATS, highlights your qualifications and achievements, showcases your best self, and helps you stand out from the rest. Click here to learn more about working with a writer today.