Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why you are not Getting Job Interview Invitations

The fundamental function of a resume is to get you invited for interviews. Have you been sending your resume for positions that you know you are qualified for, but nothing in the mail box for you and the phone remains silent? If so, you sure need to take a critical look your resume. Following are possible reasons and a framework to revise it against:
1. Including an objective statement that tells the reader what you want.
Have you ever heard of customer-orientation? If there is one major rule to keep in mind as you write your resume, it is that all of the content should be written to be employer-centered. Objective statements that tell the reader what you want are inherently self-centered. The more modern way of providing focus for your resume is to include a summary or profile section. A profile is fundamentally different from an objective in that it is employer-centered, conveying to the reader what you offer them, rather than what you want from them.
2. Writing your resume to be intentionally broad in scope.
Many people will write a broad resume out of fear that focusing too precisely will exclude them from certain opportunities. Unfortunately, this strategy almost always backfires. Resume readers are notoriously lazy or under pressure of time. They give your resume only a few seconds at most before making the decision to screen it out or screen it in. If résumé is ambiguous and you haven't made it crystal clear how you will fit in the company, you certainly expect the reader to make the effort to figure it out. Often he does no have the time or inclination
3. Including a generic profile/summary statement.
The reasons are close to the one immediately above. While it has become common and even expected that your resume will include a profile/summary statement, far too often they are just generic statements that do nothing to differentiate the individual from their competition in the job market. Like they say in marketing, differentiate or perish! What is it that differentiates you and make your contributions to the companies you have worked for better and unique than your peers? What is the value proposition that you are making to the reader of your resume? What sets you apart from the competition and what uniquely qualifies you to meet the needs and solves the problems of the employer?
4. Describing your job scope and responsibilities in detail.
Think about it: Being “responsible for” doing something certainly doesn’t mean a person does it. What a person is supposed to do and what they actually do are two different things. Many people make the mistake of selling features (responsibilities) rather than benefits (achievements/results) in their resume. Always remember, you won’t get hired for what you know how to do, you will get hired for what you do with what you know how to do.
5. Focusing solely on the achievement and forgetting about the results.
Just telling the reader that you have achievements isn’t very effective unless you present them in terms of the results and benefits they have produced for past employers. You should always try to think in terms of the “so what” of your achievement. What did you improve, save, increase, enhance, etc? What impact did the work you do have on the companies? At the root, every single job is designed to solve a problem, save money, make money, or improve efficiency. It is crucial that you understand and be able to communicate the impact of your performance. Whenever you can do so, you should use numbers to illustrate your results, but even if you are unable to quantify achievements, the emphasis should still be on the results/benefits of your work.
6. Writing an autobiographical style resume.
Your resume is a marketing document. It is not an autobiography. Always think in terms of relevance and impact. Does a particular piece of data or achievement support your personal brand and value proposition? Does it help promote your qualifications in relation to your current career goals? If not, you probably should not include it. In fact, by including irrelevant data, you dilute your focus and make the recipient wonder if you truly understand the position you are targeting.
7. Using a template design for your resume.
Avoid using resume template, if you can. Your resume should be uniquely designed to highlight your unique qualifications and selling point and to set you apart from other candidates. If you use a template (or a format that looks like a template), you ensure that your resume will simply blend in with all the rest. To really compel action, your resume MUST attract immediate attention and present an unquestionably professional appearance. Create an eye-catching design, but forego the templates!
8. Using old and obsolete structure and resume writing techniques of eon years ago.
A common error made by experienced professionals is overemphasis of education. As an experienced professional your history of accomplishments and proven ability to produce and deliver results is far more important than your degrees. The most important thing is that you prioritize and organize your selling points, listing categories of primary importance first. The best structure in almost all circumstances is a combination reverse chronological order.
9. Listing all your achievements in a section separate from your career history.
It is critical to show progression and a consistent, repeated ability to produce results. By listing your achievements separately from your career history, you lose this. Go ahead and use specific achievements to illustrate the value proposition and personal branding that you convey in your profile. In fact, it is crucial that you do so. But, for the most part, the majority of your achievements are best presented within the chronological and situational context in which they happened. In other words, go ahead and include a SUMMARY of achievements that are selected to illustrate your value proposition and brand, but the body of your resume should also include achievements and results that illustrate your impact in each company or each position.

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