Dear Lifehacker, In the last few years I have found my career veering off into a very different industry to the one I had hoped to enter. I had hoped to get into the IT/online industry but have found myself somewhat stuck in retail operations). I have been applying for a number of jobs that I believe I am qualified for but am receiving almost no responses.
Given the fact that I meet all of the requirements but am getting no responses, I have to believe there is something wrong with my resume, although all the friends/colleagues I have shown it to tell me it is fine. How am I supposed to fix whatever it is that I am doing wrong when I cannot get any feedback from the companies rejecting my applications? I've attached my resume and would welcome any feedback you can offer. Thanks, Pro-In-Waiting
Resume picture from Shutterstock
Resume editing can be tough, but there are some fixes you can implement. We're not going to publish your resume in full here (that would be a horrible breach of privacy), but we can suggest some areas where you could easily improve it.
Try and keep it to a single page. Reading through resumes takes time, and multi-page documents make the task seem harder for harried managers. Yours runs at two pages, which isn't shocking, but if you can make it more compact, that will be beneficial.
Don't list contact details first. Your skills and qualifications are more important than how to get hold of you -- if an employer is interested, they'll check for those details on your cover letter or towards the end of the resume. (That said, including your mobile and email address in the header, as you did, is a sensible move.)
Use specific examples. Your list of key strengths starts off well in this area, specifying exactly which software you have experience with. However, your discussion of business skills is too vague: "Proven ability to see beyond just the numbers in a data set to the underlying meaning that has seen me called upon to assist across many departments at all levels." Give a more specific example: "I identified problems in our processes which led to a 10 per cent productivity improvement." You have examples like this under your Achievements sections for individual jobs, but they should be more prominent.
Don't use the same level of detail for every job. It's questionable whether you need to list every job you have worked in. You definitely don't need to string out 'achievements' in roles that aren't particularly relevant to the job you are applying for. Focus on those areas that demonstrate relevance to the role you're seeking.
Don't use ampersands (the & symbol) in body text. Yes, that's being picky. It's important to make a resume look concise, but using abbreviations of this sort can make it seem too casual.
One important overall point is that your resume is not a fixed document. You should keep a master resume and then customise it for each job you apply for. Check each detail and ask: "Will knowing this improve the odds that this employer might hire me for this particular role?"
We'll conclude with a related important reminder: your cover letter or introductory email is more important than your resume. That's your first chance to persuade an employer that you might be worth hiring. You also need to rewrite it every single time, to ensure you're addressing the exact criteria the ad refers to.
Good luck with the job search!
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right.