If you’re sending out your resume and not hearing back – this is probably going to be a question you want the answer to! As a resume writer, this is a question people often ask before they work with me. When you’re sending out your resume again and again, and still not hearing back (even though you’re qualified for the role), there may be a problem with your resume.
In general, there are three main reasons you’re not getting any interviews after you send out your resume.
Resume With the Wrong Format: Not Compatible with ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are human resources software designed to streamline the hiring process for companies. With hundreds of job applicants for every opening, it’s impossible for recruiters to read through every application. ATS ranks your resume based on how well it matches the job description. If your resume doesn’t have a format that is compatible with ATS, it might not ever GET to the recruiter in the first place.
A few tips on how to effectively format your resume for ATS:
- Use a one-column format. Two column format resumes are often incompatible with ATS and the data may end up getting garbled.
- Eliminate graphics, images, charts, and photos. All of this content is not compatible with ATS and could end up causing information to be missed completely.
- Use a clean design and stick with simple fonts/bullets. Keep a standard resume structure with specific headings, minimize tables, and use standard fonts and bullets to ensure the data will be processed accurately.
My article on Applicant Tracking Systems, The ATS-Friendly Resume Guide, will take you through all the details you need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems and how to make sure your resume meets these requirements. If you’d like to learn more about how this software works, check out this article.
Resume With No Target
A resume with no target doesn’t make it clear what you do or what you want. I generally define a resume with no target as one that I can’t identify what the person wants or does within the first 5 seconds.
Today’s resumes need to be very targeted to the role you want to apply to. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still sending out general resumes that highlight their skills and abilities in a very broad way. General resumes that aren’t focused on the requirements of a specific role just won’t work anymore. It needs to be clear to the hiring professional that you’re a fit for the role.
Your resume needs to demonstrate that you have a clear job target, and here’s why:
- Resumes written by those who are unsure of what they want tend to be unfocused and scattered. This is not what a recruiter wants to see.
- Recruiters & HR Professionals only want to see resumes that are aligned with the posting’s requirements.
Think about it from a recruiter or HR Professional’s perspective:
If it isn’t clear right away why you’re qualified for the role, why would they send your resume on to a hiring manager? The hiring manager isn’t going to see how your experience is relevant either – and they’re probably not going to be happy with the recruiter for sending on a resume that is NOT what they’re looking for.
What if you aren’t clear about the type of position you want?
I often hear from clients that aren’t sure about what they want to do – or are considering two different types of roles. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, you might want to get some clarity first before writing your resume. Career coaching and counselling can help with that!
If you’re considering two types of jobs, you might need to create two different versions of your resume. My video – do you need two resumes – provides more information on this.
Resume With No Plan
A resume with no plan doesn’t demonstrate that you have the abilities to do the job.
Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just have a clear target. This definitely helps, but the next important thing you need to do is come up with a plan to show the recruiter or HR Pro that you have what it takes to effectively do the job.
How do you do this? Research! Luckily, job postings tell you what hiring professionals are looking for in a candidate. To make a plan, what you need to do is research postings you’re interested in and put together a plan to convince the reader of your resume that you can do the job. Remember – you don’t need to meet all the requirements for this – most successful candidates DON’T have everything.
Three Steps To Creating a Resume Plan
Step 1: Review the Job Posting in Detail. Read through the job postings/descriptions carefully and identify the keywords you see repeatedly.
Step 2: Make Notes of the Keywords You Observe. Keywords = Skills, Abilities, & Qualifications that are important to the role.
Step 3: Compare – Are These Keywords Consistent Between Jobs?
Applicant Tracking Systems come into play here too. The ATS scans your resume for relevant keywords and content. Reviewing the job posting and identifying the right content will ensure that your resume gets noticed.
Not Getting Interviews & Interested in Learning More?
Download my FREE resume checklist to learn more about the 3 simple steps you need to take to write a resume that starts getting you interviews.