Not Getting Calls Back? It's Not You, It's Your Resume.

May 7, 2013
By Alex Showerman | 0 comments

I'm in charge of hiring the incredible staff we have at DFA, so I have seen a lot of resumes -- the exceptional, the presentable and the very very bad. You need your resume to work for you, as it’s likely the only first impression you have to give a potential manager. Here are five ways it might be working against you.

  • It's more than a page long. The field of job-seekers is a crowded place, so recruiters are culling through dozens of resumes. We don't have time to read pages and pages of lists of your jobs you've held previously. And I'll just say this: I haven't yet dismissed a multi-page resume completely, but I've wanted to. Is that the first feeling you want a potential boss to have about you?

  • It's just a list of your previous jobs. Your resume should demonstrate why you'll be awesome at the job you're applying for, not communicate all the work you've done so far. So consider the responsibilities of the position you are applying for and include experiences on your resume that show you would be excellent at those responsibilities. The skills and talents you have that make you great for this position need to leap off the page. It hurts you if they are buried within too-crowded lists, so tailor your resume for each job you are applying for.

  • It isn’t specific. You’ve got to demonstrate that you know your stuff and you’ve produced results. “Managed the organization’s Facebook account” doesn’t go far enough. “Grew Facebook fans by 30% over a three-month period” is not only more specific, it demonstrates that you were results-oriented and therefore really accomplished something.

  • It's formatted poorly. You might roll your eyes at this one, because it seems so small. But consider this: you need to present yourself as professional, attractive and more than capable of doing the job you’re applying for. Sloppy, disorganized and amateur do not help you. The recruiter should be able to scan it, so put those accomplishments in bullet points, not paragraphs. Reverse tradition by putting your education at the bottom and leading with your most recent job. That way, the work you’ve just completed won’t be buried at the bottom.

  • You describe yourself, rather than show what you've done. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” is never more important to follow than when writing your resume. Anyone can describe herself as ‘a problem-solver’, ‘goal-oriented’ and ‘a team player.’ So drop that summary of yourself from the top of your resume and use the space to list a couple more accomplishments from your previous jobs, ones that will show just how talented you are.

So, if any of the above looks familiar to you, how do you fix it? Take a critical look at your resume, make sure you’re tweaking it for every job you’re applying for, and ask three people to proofread it. But not just any three people. If you have a friend or relative (or relative of a friend) who hires people, have him read it. You’ll get much more valuable feedback on the resume than if you ask your roommate the accountant to review it.

Mia Moore is Chief of Staff at Democracy for America , and she’d be happy to critique your resume. Give her a tweet to make your request.

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