Hiring is an expensive process—it takes resources and time from an employer to sift through resumes, interview, do background checks and bring in new personnel to a company. With that in mind, the last thing a hiring manager wants to do is waste the company’s time with an applicant who is not standing out.
Those who do not take the time to craft a compelling, sharp resume may find that they are not getting any calls back from potential employers. The reason may not be a lack of experience or qualifications; instead, it could just mean that the resume made it seem that the job applicant didn’t care about the job.
How Could a Job Seeker Not Care About A Job?
With unemployment remaining a top concern for job seekers—particularly those in the younger crowd—it isn’t that professionals do not care about working. However, the eagerness to simply get a job and get paid has been met with many perusing through job boards and blindly sending off resumes and formulaic cover letters in the hopes that one employer will bite. Simply put, a lot of job seekers are just looking for a job—and it may not matter who hires them.
As noted above, employers will be on the lookout for any candidate who is less-than-serious about accepting the position. As such, they will look for any indicators on a resume or cover letter that there was no real consideration of the actual position and the company hiring. Here are a few ways a job seeker may give off that impression:
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- Generalizing Skills
If a resume lacks specificity, it may look like a job applicant is sending out his or her information to several employers in several different industries. While it certainly great to have strong soft skills, it is essential to make sure that every resume sent out correlates to the needs of the specific position an employer posted. To show an employer that you truly care about the job and will make a difference to the company, try highlighting past achievements to illustrate how you will contribute to growth.
- Using a Customary Template
It is true that resumes should follow a specific format and aesthetic to make it easy on the reader’s eyes. For instance, you want to try to get all the information on one page and to leave enough white space to create balance. However, this does not mean that you have to opt for a basic resume template that looks like every other candidate’s resume. While it is important to follow the typical guidelines for resume flow, try personalizing yours with a crisp font and putting the resume on professional resume paper. If you create a resume from scratch, rather than fill in the blanks on a preexisting template, you will likely have a one-of-a-kind resume that still looks polished.
- Listing Skills Across the Board
In addition to avoiding generalized skills, job seekers should make sure to avoid listing a skill set that is broad and not really in touch with that a specific position requires. Remember: it is okay to edit and change skills you have in your “Core Competencies” section if you have plenty to choose from. If you list everything, particularly irrelevant skills, a recruiter or hiring manager may question your actual understanding of the position that is open.
- Using the Same Cover Letter Over and Over Again
It’s totally worth it to apply to as many jobs as you can—it increases your opportunities to land a great position. However, it is not okay to submit the same cover letter repeatedly by only switching out company names and the job title you are applying for. Believe it or not, hiring parties can read right through a cover letter you have sent to other companies. A generalized cover letter will discuss your skills, your experience and your desire to become employed—but everything will be vague.
While it’s all right to use a similar flow for each of your cover letters, take the time to write specifically to the job that is being applied for. A great way to connect with the reader is to identify the employer and explain why your skills and values are a great fit for that specific brand. If you connect the dots in a cover letter, employers will appreciate the fact that you’ve taken time to get to know their company and explain your enthusiasm for potentially working there.
Get Started With a Strong Resume
While it is important to be specific and appeal to the individual employer of the job you are applying for, it does not mean you have to start from scratch every time you see an open position. Instead, it is better to work with a strong, comprehensive resume and detailed cover letter from the start. With these resources in hand, you can edit and revise each document for each job you apply for as you see fit.