How To Make Your Resume Work For You When Job Market Is Tough.

Are you having a hard time with getting enough responses or interview calls from your resume? You are not alone. This is actually quite a common complaint I get from job seekers. This can be very discouraging when you are looking for a new job, and particularly stressful if you are currently not working. Let’s look deeper into what could really be going on and what can you do about it.

There is nothing wrong with you, so stop guessing…

The first and the most important thing I want you to get and really believe is the fact that you are good enough. Seriously. I know you think I’m just saying this to make you feel better, and I hope you do feel better. But it is also the truth. When your resume goes into a “black hole” and you never hear from anyone, the easiest and most common explanation is that the hiring manager didn’t like your resume.

Here is the fact, unless someone tells you specifically why they didn’t call you for a job interview, you don’t know the reason. And, unfortunately, companies almost never give you the real reason for either legal or personal reasons. So, all you are left with is guesses and assumptions. And that isn’t very helpful.

There may be many reasons why your resume was not selected. One of the most common ones is the fact that the person in charge of hiring never actually saw your resume. Or, perhaps, they didn’t read it thoroughly enough to see that you are the right person for the job. Maybe there was another candidate ahead of you who was referred by a trusted source. Or maybe you didn’t read the job description thoroughly enough to understand what they were looking for.

Now, let’s talk about what you can do instead…

Understand what the employer is looking for.

Many job seekers are so focused on themselves, they hardly pay any attention to employers’ needs. When reading a job description, we have one question in mind: “Do I qualify for this job?” Then, based how we feel about the answer, we either apply or don’t apply. Do you see how this approach is more about you? “Are they going to like me enough to call me or am I better off applying somewhere else?”

Instead of looking at qualifications and trying to evaluate how you fit in, I encourage you to pay more attention to what the company is looking for. What are the challenges they are facing? Why are they looking to fill this role? What would it take to be successful at it and how can you approach the solution to their problems?

Know your value.

You may not be a paper perfect candidate they described, but so what? No one really is and, to be honest, I am not sure that’s what the company is looking for anyway. What any company is looking for is someone who will solve their challenges, keep up with the workload and be the right fit for the team and the company. And that is very hard to explain in the job description.

Instead of trying to fit into some measures or parameters, think about what value can you bring to the company with your knowledge and expertise. Once you understand their challenges, think about your approach to solving them and what difference can you make for them with your unique abilities. Instead of trying to measure up, think about how you can impress them.

Make your resume memorable and impactful.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of an impactful resume. Visual graphics work. Well designed, visually pleasing resumes are attractive and stand out from the crowd. And, based on my experience of working with multiple job seekers over many years, they get more attention. Candidates who had visually pleasing graphic resumes got interview calls faster than the ones with the plain resumes. Make sure your graphics don’t mess with applicant tracking system, because that can hurt you as well.

Additionally, your resume should create an impression of accomplishment, yet be easy to read and follow. A hiring manager needs to be able to find what they are looking for on your resume quickly and easily. If they can’t find what they are looking for, they will move on regardless of how qualified you really are. It is worth investing in a professional resume writer to make sure your resume looks superb and sets you up to win.

Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.

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