When a recruiter opens your resume, they aren’t looking for why they SHOULD interview you.
Instead they are looking for reasons why they SHOULDN’T.
Which means that any glaring red flags are sure to put you in the NO pile and ruin any hopes you have for that job.
There will always be those jobs that we won’t get an interview for, maybe we are missing a key piece of experience or education or maybe there is a gap the hiring manager is trying to fill. We don’t want to stress too much about that because it is completely out of our control.
But there are many red flags that are entirely within our control, ones that we need to address in order to increase the odds of ending up in the YES pile and keeping our dreams alive for landing that job.
1. Resume is Messy
By messy I mean that there are mistakes present that shouldn’t be present. Typos, spelling mistakes and grammar issues are problems that could instantly destroy your chances of moving forward.
There are times when those errors are forgiven but for many roles that require writing skills or attention to detail then chances are this easily avoided mistake could be the end of the road for you.
Beyond the written aspect of your resume, pay attention to your formatting. Make sure it is consistent throughout and that there aren’t any glaring formatting errors. That way you can get that call inviting you in for an interview.
2. Resume is Confusing
As soon as the recruiter has to think about what you are trying to tell them you are in the NO pile.
If your resume is a Functional resume that is skills focused then chances are it is never even read by the recruiter. Why? It’s just too confusing and the recruiter has to figure out where you worked and where you used those skills. Too much work for a 6 second read.
Employment Gaps fall in this area too. I don’t stress too much about gaps that were more than 10 years ago, but if they fall in the last decade include them in your resume. Call it an Employment Sabbatical and describe quickly why you had the gap (in a way you are comfortable with and that is short and sweet).
This also goes for any interesting career journeys, maybe there was overlap in roles or you were working two jobs at once. If that is the case, edit yourself first. Keep only what matters to THIS job in the resume. If those extras don’t matter then keep them out. If they do, then using 2-3 words include a brief note in your content about the overlap.
If don’t want to raise a red flag, address these issues ASAP!
3. Resume isn’t the Right Length
If you have more than 5 years of experience then a 1 page resume might not be for you. If you have less than 5 years of experience, then don’t have a 3 page resume.
Create a resume that tells your career story, don’t skimp on it or pad it.
If you have 2 or 3 pages in your resume, make sure those extra pages are at least half full. A 1 ¼ page resume is annoying and not aesthetically pleasing!
Any of these mishaps can land you in that pile you dread.
4. Resume Doesn’t Sell You
There is a lot of push on accomplishment based bullets points and, honestly, rightly so. But what can get lost there are key tasks that are a part of your job and the job you are applying for. Your content for each position should demonstrate what you do, how you make a difference and your accomplishments.
To determine how much focus you need to have on the tasks, take a look at your career and the role you are applying for. Is it task based or results based? If it is task based and you haven’t focused on that, then the NO pile is where you’ll end up.
5. Resume has a Bad Case of TMI
Is your resume full of information? A Skills Highlight section which is like an essay? Or a block of bullet points that looks like a copy and paste of the job description.
A recruiter is skimming resumes and when they skim, any big block of text will overwhelm them and raise a red flag. Which means you end up in the NO pile.
6. Resume Doesn’t Tell Your Story
Your resume is a marketing document, like an advertisement. It needs to tell the story of your career and how you are the ONE for the job. We tend to jump straight into our tasks or accomplishments instead of giving the recruiter a sense of what you’ve done. A simple sentence outlining the overall purpose of each role allows them to finish the skim satisfied. But if a recruiter skims your resume and doesn’t know exactly who you are and what you do then they won’t bring you in for an interview.
Red flags pop up throughout the entire job search, if you need help identifying and removing them, then the Career You Love Academy is the place for you.
One red flag is starting your job search with your resume, one of the nine most common mistakes that job seekers make. To fix that and the other 8, watch the free masterclass, "The Secrets to Finding a Job You Love".
I’m obsessed with networking. Mostly because I know how valuable it is, but also because I just don’t like to do it.
It’s a total love/hate relationship.
Love because I’ve gotten so many opportunities from ALL forms of networking. Hate because I wish networking wasn’t so important.
So I’m always on the look out for networking ideas that suit my introvert self but that work. Which is how I came across Michelle Warner’s Networking System. She developed it based off a networking course she took in her MBA program and uses it to build her businesses through the creation of a referral network.
I saw some amazing potential in this system immediately, the same night that I heard about it I told my clients about it. They needed this in their lives.
But I also knew that it wasn’t perfect for job seekers, so I worked on tweaking it to make it more relevant. I wanted it to be easy, push us a little out of our comfort zone and take almost no time at all.
Once I had it all figured out, I wanted to get it out to the world. So I hosted the Networking Challenge over in the Career Networking Group on Facebook. I went Live each day to talk about the day’s challenge, I posted ideas and sample emails (come join the group to get them).
It all boiled down to this:
5 days. 5 minutes. Advocates Galore.
Monday: Be Thankful
On Monday, we sent out emails to say “thank you”. We did this to old colleagues, managers or even someone we didn’t know.
We told them why we were thankful and how their advice/tool/resource had a positive impact on our careers.
Tuesday: Offer Help
This day was about generating good will and getting comfortable emailing. One thing I’ve noticed in my years in recruitment and career coaching is that saying yes and offering help always yields positive results.
Plus, a common thought that prevents or scares us off from networking is the thought that the person on the other end will feel like we are asking too much or being a burden. But by offering help, we take that fear away.
We offered help to new grads, other job seekers, sending information/articles and even connecting people.
LinkedIn networking is important. It tells the algorithm that you are active (making it like you more) plus it increases your network and name familiarity.
Now this day wasn’t about easy engagement, just hitting like or commenting on a friend’s post on LinkedIn.
It was seeing a post, having something to say but feeling a little sick at the notion of it. It’s about being scared to do it but doing it anyway. That’s a great habit to develop with networking.
Thursday: Ask for Help
On day 4, we pushed ourselves a little bit more. We chose someone we know (friend, colleague or old manager) and sent them an email asking for some of their time. A chance to reconnect, gather some information and ask for advice.
Why this works? When we’ve lost touch with someone we are no longer in their “recency bias” for when new opportunities pass them by. This is a time to remind them of who you are and tell them about what you want at this point in your career.
Friday: Be Bold
The last day of the week is about pushing ourselves even more, it's a culmination of the entire week. It’s very similar to Thursday, except we are reaching out to people we DON’T know. We looked at people who work where we want to work or in jobs that we want to work in.
We crafted an email that asked for a few minutes of their time so that we can learn more about they do. Not asking for a job, just asking for information. This helps us create a network of people who can support us find that RIGHT career for us.
Rinse and Repeat.
I recommend doing this every week. Carve out 5 minutes in your calendar each day and commit to it. It’s going to create SO MANY opportunities for you. You’ll have a powerful network that gives you access to that Hidden Job Market. You’ll have mentors and advocates that want to see you succeed.
Don’t forget, join the group to get support, the sample emails and more tips on how this will change your career success.
Things are changing, rapidly. We’re all on this roller coaster ride that isn’t fun at all. Our lives have been heavily impacted, especially our careers and our work.
The job market has been impacted just as much and the future has us living in the unknown right now. For anyone like me, that unknown is terrifying. It leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious and worried.
So I went digging into finding some answers to remove some of that unknown quality and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. This article isn’t anything “written in stone” but just a collection of insights about the marketplace that will leave you feeling a little surer of what’s to come.
First, let’s break down the immediate impact this crisis has had on the marketplace, especially the organizations and how they have reacted. Jenny Hargreaves over at tellent did an amazing job breaking this down. She noted that most organizations fell into 1 of 3 areas:
1. Ruin: these are the companies that are falling apart. They may be declaring bankruptcy, shutting down or on the brink of it happening.
2. Dormant: these companies were shocked and they are unclear of how this will impact them. They’ve entered a “wait and see” approach by having a hiring freeze, issuing temporary layoffs, having really scaled back on their goals and the staff needed to accomplish it. They anticipate and can survive this for 3-6 months and after that there is some uncertainty.
3. Hiring: These are the companies that are expanding and growing during this time. While all industries may see some growth, here is a list of industries that are experiencing expansion:
The anticipation is that all of these will continue to grow with the thought of 3 waves of Covid with social distancing measures needed for each, so we would expect this expansion to last 18 months -2 years.
Now not every department within these industries will grow. Some thoughts I have on the departments that will be important:
1. Risk Management & Cyber Security (obvious reasons)
2. Human Resources (unlike 2008, HR has saved the day for many organizations),
4. Communications (2nd most sought after talent right now)
5. Marketing (for pivots – but will be short lived, there is expectation that some lay offs may happen once we are done)
Some of the departments that have been streamlined are Project Management (in the short term and then will come back), Sales, Marketing and Administrative.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
So if you are looking for a job right now or will be in the near future, what are some of the actions you can take?
1. Explore the list of growing industries and examine your skill set. What skills do you have already that can be used?
2. Dig into the companies on this list to see who has a history of remote work. They are the ones we really want to target as they would’ve been able to pivot during this time a lot quicker and easier. All they had to focus on was the pandemic. Companies not set up had to divide their attention between setting up their workforce to work from home PLUS the pandemic.
3. Research and get familiar with the technologies that make working from home a lot easier. When applicable, update your resume and LinkedIn to showcase them.
4. Speaking of your marketing documents, focus on your experiences that involved TRANSFORMATION. Either transformation that you led or where a part of. Outline how you can make the lives of these companies and the people within it easier.
5. Networking is always the best thing you can do for your career. But this is especially true right now. People are more generous in spirit which means that they are more willing to agree to an online networking meeting. For my clients, a lot of great networking is happening right now. Speaking of, join my Career Networking Group!
Hope exists. The marketplace is going to change, that’s a fact. But when we focus on thinking about the opportunity that this time is giving us the we feel hopeful and we take actions that lead us to those great results we want to see.
If you are struggling with this right now, schedule a free strategy call. Let’s talk about your struggle right now, your vision for your future and how we can get you there.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
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