I’ve been there. You know you’re an awesome employee waiting to happen, but have not been getting call backs from the 10,000 job applications you have submitted. From the countless conversations I have had with friends and colleagues in human resources, 9 times out of 10 it’s not you. It’s your resume.
Your resume should be a snap shot of how you’ve contributed to an organization’s bottom or top line. In layman terms, how did you save a company time and/or money? How did you make the company more money? Why was this company better because you were working there? For your resume to reflect this, you’re going to first need to put time and research into yourself and the job/s you are applying for. That’s a whole other article. But assuming you’re pretty well versed in your capabilities and the job you deserve, here are 3 reasons your resume is not doing you justice.
Put yourself in the position of a HR professional. S/he receive hundreds, perhaps thousands of job applications a day. Make it easy for them to see YOU. A good amount of white space. Clear font. Decent font size. Put your basic information clear and concise at the top i.e. name, address, contact information and summary of qualifications. Save your resume as a PDF so formatting is consistent no matter who opens it. Clean formatting also helps for applications that require a resume to be sent within an email.
Too often I see stylized resume formatting that isn’t necessary. Even those in creative fields, I say save the extra flavor for your portfolio or additive materials to submit with your application. Keep your resume clean, clear and easy to read. In the initial reception stage, HR folks are usually checking if you meet the bare minimum. “NY-based, college-grad, marketing experience… great. Throws resume into another pile for further inspection.”
STOP USING GENERAL TEMPLATES. Remember the time and research mentioned in the beginning? Yeah, do that. It’s okay to pull from different resume styles and refer to a mentor or friend’s resume, but you need to make it your own. Not by using pink font with a weird layout either. Formatting is not the way to customize your resume. The text is.
Get specific with bullet points. Be quantitative as possible. Who? How many? How much? Don’t regurgitate general job responsibilities. Make it your own by showing how you handled a specific role or duty better than the average person can i.e. your competition. For example.
Answered phone lines.
Managed phone lines and messaging for two busy Vice Presidents of Publicity.
See what I did there, ahh ahh? [raises eye-brows up and down] Now a 2-year-old can answer a phone, but not everyone can successfully assist a high-level executive. The second example speaks specifically to managing TWO busy phone lines for EXECUTIVES. This is a bullet point you can expand on in your interview: showcases you can multitask while paying attention to detail.
I won’t even text a man who can’t spell correctly. I can’t imagine how it feels when a HR professional is reading a resume full of grammatical and spelling errors. This is a no-brainer. Bad grammar leaves a bad impression. Proof read, proof read and proof read! A good rule of thumb, have two people you trust look over your resume for errors too. If you don’t have anyone, don’t proof read when your brain is tired. Step away and come back to it when you’re, your most alert self.
Don’t be defeated with your search. You aren’t alone. Go after the job you want with passion and tenacity, and be informed and proactive about the job you want. Opportunities are especially plentiful in entertainment and media, but it’s competitive out there. Take the time to make sure that when you hit send on that job application or email, that you’re putting your best self on paper.
Written by Anastasia Wright, Executive Director of Minds Behind the Music, Inc.