This past weekend I posted a tongue-in-cheek photo to my personal Facebook page (the one featured on this blog).

While funny, I don’t believe the message to be entirely true. To my surprise, I had an outpouring of responses from friends and family. From smiley face emojis to sad face emojis. From comments that it was all too true to comments that job seekers were not placing their efforts accordingly in their job search. Not to diminish the difficulty of finding a job; but I tend to agree with the latter comments that job seekers are not doing the right things in their job search and more often – they are hurting themselves.

How do I know this is true?

As an Executive Recruiter and Career Coach, I have reviewed thousands of resumes, and I have seen some good resumes and some really bad resumes. Here some tips that I can provide you, as a job seeker, to greatly enhance your chances in landing an interview:

  • If you’ve been using the same resume for months on end with no success in landing an interview, it’s time for a change. Take a good look at your resume and ask yourself the following question: Am I including too much or too little information? The purpose of the resume is solely to get you an interview, no more, no less. Typically, job seekers provide far too much information. Provide just enough for the reader to understand your background and to see if it is a match with the job requirements.
  • Proofread your resume. Most recruiters and hiring managers that I have spoken with have little tolerance for poorly written resumes and they will simply toss your resume in the ‘no’ pile if they encounter a typo. I’m a little more lenient, but if I get the sense that you put very little effort in your resume, I too will move forward with other candidates. If writing is not a strength of yours, have someone proofread it for you.
  • Don’t make it difficult for those reading your resume to guess why you even applied to the position. Ensure that your resume is properly formatted; titles and companies are clear, as well as dates of employment. Provide clear headings and adhere to a chronological or to a functional format.
  • Update your resume with a branding statement that will really catch the reader’s attention. The Balance provides helpful tips and examples to developing a custom branding statement for your resume.
  • If you are planning a career change, I recommend providing a cover letter. It’s about the only time I recommend someone write a cover letter, but it will help you clarify why you are applying to a job that may seem far afield to your prior experience and/or skillset.

Here are some other miscellaneous tips not directly related to your resume but are just as critical to your job search:

  • As a career coach, I see all too many people disheartened and frustrated with their job search because they can’t land an interview, let alone a job. What I always tell them is to change their personal framework. I remind them of the Law of Abundance, that there is a job out there for them and they will land it sooner rather than later – but it takes hard work. A job search is like any other job, it takes careful planning and execution. That does not mean apply to any position that may seem relevant. Instead, take the time to read up on the position and the company and ask yourself: Would I want to work here?
  • Your resume is just one part of the equation. Do not jeopardize your chances by not developing your LinkedIn profile. As a recruiter, before I reach out to any candidate, I look to see if they have a well-thought out LinkedIn profile that follows a similar structure to their resume. Recommendations are always a plus!
  • Don’t forget about other channels to apply to jobs. While not as common today, many industries are still holding career fairs. Attend these to have direct access to personnel at the hiring company. Be presentable, come with plenty of resumes, and you may just land an interview then and there. Another alternative is to try and find the LinkedIn profile of a recruiter or hiring manager. If you can, connect with them and send them a message that you are interested in their open position. And, finally, always be sure to reach out to your network and announce that you are looking for a new position, you never know what positions may be open or who they can refer you to.

Ultimately, your ability to land an interview and then a job, is all up to you. It’s incredible to me what a simple mindset change and a little effort has done for job seekers I have coached in the past.

If you’re still struggling with your job search, leave a comment. If you would like specific and actionable feedback on your resume, connect with me on LinkedIn and send me your resume, I would be happy to review it for you.

Your personal action plan:

  1. Update your resume and proofread!
  2. Completely revamp your resume if necessary
  3. Add a branding statement to your resume
  4. If those tips don’t work feel free to send me your resume for review