Is Your Resume Working for You?

John Krautzel
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Resumes have a job to do — sell your skills and motivate employers to contact you. If your job search is short on results, your resume might not paint an attractive picture of the value you offer. A solid resume gives you an opportunity to stand out and should demonstrate your relevant capabilities. Give a tired resume a tune-up to boost your job search and connect with the right employers.

Are You Getting Responses?

Weeks of dead air is a sign that your resume isn't reaching key people. Online job postings make it easy to apply for jobs, but tough applicant-tracking systems can stop your resume from ever being considered.

Write a resume that targets these refined software filters by using keywords from job postings. Employers look for specific skills and titles, and your resume might immediately get tossed into the unqualified pile if it doesn't include relevant lingo. Avoid keyword stuffing and spread words naturally throughout you resume to keep a friendly, professional tone.

Should You Customize Resumes?

Generic resumes don't make the cut in a competitive job search. Employers want to know how you measure up to other candidates, so you should prioritize roles and responsibilities that closely relate to each position. Change the order of your duties and achievements to grab and hold the attention of each employer, and always give recruiters a reason to keep reading.

Also, make sure your resume does a good job of differentiating your accomplishments. You dealt with unique challenges and work experiences that shaped your skills and strengths. Write a resume with distinct facts, numbers and outcomes that show how you contributed to an employer's success.

Do You Land Quality Interviews?

The quality of responses matters more than the quantity. Your resume isn't working effectively if most of your interview offers are for narrowly related jobs. The more you refine your brand and target employers during your job search, the easier it is to project an image that speaks to the right people. Don't try to be a jack-of-all-trades, since this strategy often ends up confusing people. Not to mention, you're likely to experience job-search burnout when you waste too much time on pointless interviews that clash with your goals.

Narrow your focus and pinpoint a few clear selling points that set you apart. Whether employers ask for one or not, include a cover letter to add personality, communicate your work ethic and provide context for your career path. A cover letter offers more flexibility than a resume, letting you connect on a human level and make a brief, but direct statement of how you can solve problems for an employer.

Is Your Resume Up to Date?

Expect employers to use a variety of sources to vet you and be prepared with a consistent story. Many recruiters get suspicious and move on if they see different information everywhere they look.

Update your resume whenever you get a promotion or achieve a significant accomplishment. Revise your online profiles at the same time to ensure accuracy and leave no doubts about your credibility.

Use your resume as a magnet to attract quality leads throughout your job search. When it's working properly, a resume should speed up your journey through the hiring process. What strategies do you use to measure job search success?

Photo courtesy of Lauren's 365 at


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