We are often asked why it is so hard to land an interview, let alone a new job. It is especially frustrating to young job-seeker, recent graduates, when talking to Boomers and they learn how different the job market was in the good old days when boomers were looking for their first and only lifetime job. Today is so-o-o-o different in the job marketplace. Today, young job applicants, and older ones, too!, feel frustrated because they must pump out literally hundreds of resumes and still don’t get invited to interviews, not even a nibble. So we often here, “Why aren’t job seekers being invited to interviews?
There is no one answer. Yet we may learn by considering some of the generalities common to many failed resumes.
Today, recruiters are swamped with job applications. Think in terms of thousands or tens of thousands of applicants. Even for minimum wage jobs. They have to filter through and read those applications to find the proverbial needle in the haystack while under severe time pressures. When the resumes start pouring in, for them, the pressure begins. To be able to meet their own job objectives and expectations recruiters of big companies will pass cover letters and resumes through scanners. So scanners become your first hurdle.
Those scanners, Optical Character Recognition Systems, (OCRs), don’t think. They can’t appreciate smudges, fancy fonts, logos, or decorative graphics. To scanners, those are either mistakes, sloppiness, or confusing distractions and may not work in your favor. You submit only clean, graphic-free resumes, unless instructed otherwise. Turn your attention to your use of key words.
Keywords and key phrases in your resume should match the keywords and key phrases in the job ad. The OCR scanner will read those key words best if you use a traditional, non-serif font, (no curly tips on the letters). Since you will not know the specifications and the optical sensitivity of the scanner reading your resume, it is highly advisable to use one of the more traditional, long-term fonts: Ariel, Helvetica, Futura, Optim, Times New Roman, and Palatino. At this point, your resume should be legible, readable to the OCRs.
Given that you did use good font and you made good use of key words, your resume ought to be en route to the desk of the recruiter. At this point, the question becomes, “How do you motivate a recruiter to invite you to an interview?” But, wait! Do you think your resume is travelling all by itself? Not a chance. Your resume is likely travelling in the company of hundreds or thousands of other resumes which passed the OCR screening. What will make your resume stand out? What will motivate the recruiter to call you for an interview?
When your resume reaches the desk of the recruiter, it must educate, entertain, captivate, and most important of all, differentiate you from your competition. Yet, it must do all this honestly and factually. THIS is the art of resume writing. An art that very few people can master. It takes much more sensitivity and training than merely reading a few books and websites. If you aren’t skilled in this art, seek a professional who is. Else you may be floundering forever.
To help you write a motivating, captivating resume, requires considerably more room than this particular “nugget” allows. We will address that in the subject of one or two other “nuggets” in the near future.
In the meantime, if you have an urgent question, post it to our discussion board, our Q&A FORUM. We have some experts in the field of personnel and human resources who are just itching to pitch in to make our collaborative FORUM a roaring success. So, go ahead and ask by clicking the large orange and yellow “button” below.
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