So you’ve been sending resumes out left right and centre for months and… crickets. Nothing. Nada.
Are you inadvertently sabotaging yourself by making these common (but fixable) mistakes?
Not tailoring your resume to each job advertisement. Your resume should not be a static, unchanged document. Yes, I know it’s more work tweaking it each and every time to the requirements of the job but consider this. Those small tailored tweaks are actually addressing exactly what the ad is asking for, meaning you’re more likely to match the requirements and be contacted, land the job and not waste time sending tens or hundreds of applications in the future that go nowhere. Target your applications. Short term pain = long term gain is the aim of the game here (ok ok, enough rhyming!).
Not including a cover letter. A resume and cover letter go hand in hand these days, and like the previous point, make it personalised to the job. Highlight key words in the job ad and address them. If the marketing coordinator job wants someone with ‘creative flair’ then use those exact words and provide examples of how you exhibit that: “I showcased my creative flair by doing XYZ”.
Applying for a government job and not addressing the selection criteria. As someone who has worked in various government departments/agencies for over ten years, I can tell you right now that if you don’t include a response to the selection criteria, you are going straight to the ‘no’ pile. It doesn’t matter how good your resume is, if you don’t follow those instructions it’s a no-deal, unfortunately. If you’ve never worked in government before it’s easy to see how you might not have understood these requirements so don’t feel silly. I’ve been able to help brilliant applicants overcome this, it’s kinda my specialty!
Including outdated ‘career objectives’. Recruiters know what your objective is: to get a job. Wishy washy statements like “I’m seeking to advance my career and achieve my goals whilst contributing to the success of your business, etc…” doesn’t serve anyone. To be quite frank, employers don’t care about what you want, they care about what they want. What you need to do instead is include a professional profile / career summary which is snapshot or brief personal blurb of your experience, skills and values. Then the recruiter can identify if you match what they are looking for.
Including a photo or other irrelevant personal details such as gender, the year you graduated high school, marital or religious status. Unfortunately, even though it is absolutely illegal, you could be opening yourself up to discrimination or unconscious bias based on your age, gender or physical appearance. If you include a web address for your LinkedIn profile on your resume, recruiters can go there to see what you look like from your professional profile image.
Spelling and grammar. This is really a no-brainer and I don’t even need to go into detail with this one. Just proof-read, ok guys. Let’s not eat Grandma.
You are putting out an unprofessional image of yourself. If your email is still firstname.lastname@example.org then smarten yourself up, stat. Create a new professional email address that is simply your email@example.com. While you’re at it, lock down the privacy settings of your social media accounts and be aware of your profile picture, lest prospective employers disagree with your political views or be offended by the images from that boozy hunting trip with the boys last year. And if you take umbrage with the ethics of employers checking out your socials, well that’s an argument for another day, but whether you like it or not, it happens.
So there you have it! Don’t let these sins sabotage your future prospects; implement my recommendations (or ask how I can help you) and you’ll see the fruitful results.