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.
If you have one (or more) of these red flags, it is time to focus on a new resume. Take the time yourself or hire a professional to ensure you resume is red flag free and all set to nab those interviews!
The first couple of months that I started my business, I was doing what a lot of people do when they start something new. I was following lots of experts, reading their articles, using their free resources and trying to take their generalized advice and make it work for my specific circumstances.
I felt like I was putting together a puzzle but all the pieces didn’t really fit. Which left me constantly questioning my work, tweaking it and all around just feeling lost and confused.
It wasn’t until I finally sucked it up and realized that I needed to INVEST in myself and my business that I felt confident and saw the growth I wanted. I picked a coach that made sense for my business model and have never looked back. I got the clarity I needed and was able to grow my business much faster than I had anticipated and have had more success like being featured in numerous articles, writing for my peers and even interviewed on Blog Talk Radio.
As someone who is super frugal and who wants to do it themselves, it was really hard to suck it up and make the investment.
I know I’m not alone in that, so I wanted to provide some great reasons why you should consider hiring a Coach (business, career or life).
Reason 1: CLARIFY YOUR GOALS
There are a lot of voices out there telling us what we SHOULD want so it is really hard to cut through the noise to tap into our own motivations and figure out what we REALLY want. A coach helps you get crystal clear on how you measure success and happiness and what that means for your future.
Reason 2: GET THERE FASTER
You know what you want, now you have to make it happen. Having a coach to lean on, to cheer you on and to push you will help you get there faster.
Reason 3: PREPARE FOR THE WORST
Achieving a goal isn’t as easy as we'd like to believe. It is a tough journey filled with lots of ups and downs. A coach has seen it all, they have supported many on their journeys plus have usually been on a journey of their own. That means that they know the lows you are about to face and can help prepare you for them. On top of all that, they are there to support you during those tough times.
Reason 4: THE TOOLBOX
Coaches have a toolbox, full of strategies, perspectives, tips and tricks, making it easier to navigate your journey.
Reason 5: SUPPORT SYSTEM
A major key to success is having a strong support system, one that is there for you but one that is also there to keep you accountable. Regular meetings with a coach keeps you on track.
Reason 6: SETS YOU UP FOR SUCCESS
We all have bad habits, ones that prevent you from making your dreams a reality. A coach will help you figure out what those are and provide support and tips on replacing those habits with ones that support your path to success not destroy it.
Reason 7: SAVES YOU TIME
When you give up an hour a week to a coach you’ll actually gain time. Allowing you more work/life balance or time to achieve those goals. Coaches help you figure out time management and how to say “No” to yourself and others.
Reason 8: UNLOCK YOUR INNER WISDOM
When we clear away voices that aren’t ours, develop helpful habits and free up time, an amazing thing happens. We unlock our own inner wisdom that will help guide us in our careers and lives.
Reason 9: BE THE BEST YOU
We hold ourselves back in so many ways. A coach helps you live the life YOU want and help you face FEAR and to push you out of your comfort zone so that you can achieve those careers and lives that you are looking for.
I know that my clients have been helped in these ways as I have been through my own work with my coach.
Finding a coach that you connect with, trust and whose opinion you value is vital. To see if I am that person for you, schedule a free Discover Your Career strategy call.
It’s September and for most people, the feeling of a new beginning. But if you are one those people who hate their jobs, are sick of a long commute or struggling in a job search this time of year can suck.
You want a change and you want it now.
It doesn’t always work like that. But there is some work you can do today that is like pressing fast forward on achieving that change. Which is why I’ve compiled ALL of my top tips, tricks and resources to try and make that happen for you.
Step 1: Know what you want.
You know you want a change. But do you know what that change actually looks like? If you are struggling to define a specific career, job or industry it can have you flailing around and going nowhere.
Instead, if you are laser focused and know exactly what it is you are looking for that allows you to customize everything to achieve that one thing.
Need help? My favourite exercise is the Interests, Motivations and Skills and it focuses on what career fits in with your life, your skill set AND what will bring you joy. I wrote a whole article about it and how this exercise helped me figure out that this was MY dream career.
Cheap Resource: Find Career Happiness Course, only $4.95
Step 2: Write a Stand Out Resume
This is your primary marketing document. You are now a product and your resume is your pamphlet selling you to companies. So make sure that it is telling a cohesive story, one that is relevant to the job and company you are applying for.
And since Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are taking over the world, make sure it is optimized, such as having the right key words in the right format.
I've written a ton on resumes, like the Modern Day rules, how to optimize and writing a winning one.
Free Resource: The Ultimate Resume Checklist
Step 3: Don’t Just Hit Apply
You see an amazing job. You spend hours customizing and optimizing your resume. You hit apply and then you wait. Sound familiar?
I liken applying on job boards to a black hole, you send resumes out only to hear nothing in return.
If you want a job fast, you need to make sure that your resume isn’t getting lost with the rest of them (an average of 250!). So do something about it. Find the key decision maker or who may be the key decision maker and follow up that application with an email to them stating your interest and your differentiating factor.
Step 4: Outsource Your Job Search
Make sure you have has many people out there helping you out in your job search. That includes engaging your current network. A coffee with an old manager, or maybe a lunch with a colleague who works at company you want to work at. These are your strongest advocates, making sure they know what you want and are looking for will help them determine appropriate opportunities for you to consider.
That also includes optimizing your LinkedIn to be found. Found by recruiters. Having an “all-star” LinkedIn profile that is full of great information and keywords, getting as close to the magic number of connections and logging in each and every day will increase your likelihood of showing up in a recruiter’s search.
Cheap Resource: Purposeful Networking Course - $14.95
Step 5: Get Help
Outplacement services (those provided by employers to employees they are laying off) are very similar to Career Coaching services. I should know because I do both!
The great thing about outplacement is that they provide services to a large number of clients which yields great data.
And that data is very promising.
A person engaged in the process with a Career Coach lands a job 50-63% faster than the national average. Crazy right?
So maybe the biggest factor in speeding up your search could be as simple as hiring a coach.
Investment Resource: Career Coaching Packages or Job Search Rescue Plan
Free Resource: Strategy Call with Me
Step 6: Create a Plan
A lot of job searches are chaotic. They begin and end with job boards.
The problem with that is the math. Each job gets on average 250 applications and only 4-6 are selected for an interview. Of that 4-6, not all come from the 250, so only about 10% of applications get an interview (some stats say as little as 2%, eek!).
That means the majority of the time you send out a resume for a posted job, you will never hear anything.
So you need to do more than just applying for jobs but with our natural inclination to centre our search around them you need to create a plan so that you can make sure you do more.
Create a plan that encompasses all the key aspects of a job search, including networking, volunteering, research and preparation and social media.
Free Resource: Dream Career Planner
If you follow these 6 steps, I’m positive you’ll see incredible results. By Christmas, you can be in that dream job. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
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