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What’s Wrong With Your Resume

5 reasons some resumes don't live up to their potential


Featured Expert
Featured Expert

You’re not getting enough calls. You’re not getting the right calls. You’re not getting any calls. You haven’t had an interview in a month. You may be thinking: What is wrong with my resumé?!?! The truth is: Your resume may not be doing you enough good.

While it’s important to be patient, yet persistent, when job hunting, sometimes reassessing your resumé is a good idea.

I’ve seen plenty of resumés. Some are pretty good, and some are pretty awful. The following are five reasons why some resumés simply don’t live up to their potential:

No. 1: Your Resume is Too General

Many people try to have their resumés appeal to the widest sector of job opportunities. It seems to make sense; if the resumé is applicable to more jobs, the better the chances are of landing a job, right?

When creating your resumé, get out of the job-application mindset and tell your work story.

The problem with this approach is that you come off as a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Then, you’re not going to be seen as a standout candidate.

Instead, don’t be afraid to be yourself. There are certain things that you’re good at. They’re your strengths! You’re not limiting yourself by showing you have your own area of expertise, so it’s best to communicate it on your resumé, unapologetically.

No. 2: Your Resume Takes Too Long to Read

I’m not advocating a certain length here. Some one-page resumés seem to take forever to read and some two-page resumés read very quickly. It just depends on how you put yours together.

The secret is to organize it well. Be sure to list your summary first and your skills right upfront. Then, pop in your education and, by the time the reader gets to these points, he or she will be motivated to read more.

No. 3: Your Resume Doesn’t Promote You

Some resumés do a great job noting the places the person has worked and the jobs he or she has had. But they lack a critical piece of information: they don’t highlight the person’s professional strengths!

Don’ be shy about who you are and what you do. Bring out all those achievements that you’re proud of, those outstanding skills you have, and all those results that came from your hard work. This is your chance to shine, so take it!

No. 4: Your Resume Only Lists Your Jobs

When creating your resumé, get out of the job-application mindset and tell your work story. If your former employers are not generally known, include a quick description of them. If your previous title didn’t match your job function, describe the job you really did.

Did you have special training or do you have special skills? Be sure those are communicated on your resumé.

You are much more than your past job title and responsibilities. Make sure potential employers know it.

No. 5: Your Resume Is Hard to Follow

Your resumé should tell your professional “story,” and like any good story, it should have a beginning, a middle and and end, which in this case is the present day.

While many careers read like a straightforward fairy tale, most take some unexpected turns. Your resumé needs to handle them with style, finesse and ease — as if that was the way you planned things all along.

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