When It Comes to Resumes – Some Things Never Change

February 10, 2009 at 3:32 am 3 comments

In August 2007 I wrote a blog piece about how job seekers were letting themselves down in what was then a low-unemployment market. They had become casual because the jobs were there seemingly for the asking.

What many didn’t realise was that recruiters were still judging them on the standard and relevance of their resume and cover letter, and many were being dismissed on that basis.

How the figures have turned, and are turning still with the unemployment figures steadily rising. Now, more than ever, it is time to pay close attention to the points I outlined in that blog post over a year ago.

I’ve included here below those comments – direct from recruiters – that I posted back then:

<begin quote>

“Lately I have been finding more and more that I am receiving consistently poor resumes, which I generally put down to:

  • Laziness of applicants
  • Not knowing any better or
  • A perceived lack of importance seen by candidates at this stage of the recruitment process.

It may simply be a Generation Y thing where candidates feel the jobs will or should come to them with little or no effort made on their behalf? Some of the most common issues I find with resumes are:

  • They don’t sell the person well (e.g. are just a description of employment history, etc)
  • They are far too wordy: generally I feel they should be shorter, sharper, punchier and attract interest (sell someone) more quickly
  • They are not specific in content towards the role or industry people are applying for (are obviously generic resumes being sent for any job)”

This recruiter’s complaint was that he simply could not see any value in these applicants. He finds himself constantly having to tell candidates they are less likely to be selected for an interview, or will be totally rejected by either himself or the client, by presenting with documents full of mistakes, irrelevant, too wordy and with unattractive formatting.

Interested, I went on to contact other consultants and here is the feedback I received:

“People flick off CVs here there and everywhere without much thought. Often we don’t even get a cover letter, the formatting is poor, spelling mistakes, too much jargon and buzz words which don’t have much depth.”

And from another source:

“Whilst the media continues to ramp up the candidate short market there is the perception from candidates to up-sell themselves and have above-market expectations of their worth (both financially and technically). There is the misconception that there are fewer applicants for the jobs. When it comes to the top jobs there is no change, there was and will continue to be strong competition amongst candidates.”

If you think it is easy for an applicant to walk into an interview today without taking too much trouble, then think again. Unless you present yourself in the best possible light, you still may not capture that interview.

Strong communications and excellent presentation will never be redundant.

<end quote>

This is sound advice when you’re preparing your resume. Some things really never do change.

Here’s to writing powerful resumes

Beverley Neil

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

International Resume Writing Awards Side-Effects of Unemployment Uncertainty

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa Olinda  |  February 11, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I would imagine in this tough job market we will see an increase in resume excellence. Thank you for keeping us on task.

  • 2. Josie Rizal  |  April 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Applicants should really be careful in writing their resume as it shows a valuable portion of their personality/character. Great advice!

    • 3. writepowerfulresumes  |  April 28, 2009 at 10:15 am

      It’s often all too easy to be too close to your own work to be able to assess it accurately. Another pair of honest and detailed oriented eyes is always a great move.


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