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  • Nigel Nolan

Why your resume might be ignored

One of the main complaints from job hunters is that they send out dozens and dozens of resumes, but rarely hear anything back! Does that sound familiar? Perhaps you too have sent out lots of resumes and applications, but are not called for interview. That is not only frustrating for job hunters, but demoralising too.

Having spent a lot of time and effort in preparing a resume that you think is great – and sometimes spending money on resume writers – nothing happens when you e-mail or post it to a company for a job you want. But there is a reason this happens – you are sending out a generic resume!

When most people have finished all the ’donkey work’ in preparing and crafting their resume, not only are they relieved that they have finally ‘completed’ it, but they believe that they can send it out for any job they are interested in. Most people don’t realise that when they have ‘finalised’ their resume, what they have is merely a “master copy” – at this stage, at best, it is a generic resume. At this stage, the resume is about themselves. To get noticed, a resume must be about the company you are targeting for that particular job and that job itself!

Understanding what happens when a person submits a resume or job application will help clarify the situation. When a job is advertised, it states most or all of the responsibilities of that job and also states some of the requirements for the job. Even when a person 'hears' about a job from their network or networking, usually also mentioned is certain skills that are required to do it. Sending a ‘generic’ or ‘master copy’ version of their resume doesn’t demonstrate that they will be able to do that job well – it merely tells the story of that persons work life up until that point of time.

To be noticed, a resume should show how the applicant fits the job specification and the requirements for the job – sometimes called the ‘person specification’. Unless it does this, it gets rejected because it is a generic resume. It does not get past the gatekeeper.

The gatekeeper can either be a computer software application or a human person. Either way, they are both scanning the resume for key words – words that relate to the requirements for the job. If they are not there, the resume gets rejected. When a human person is scanning resumes, usually they only spend about 30 seconds doing so – a software application does this in even less time! So if a person’s resume is not focused on the specific job in a particular company, it is a generic resume and is not going to get past the gatekeeper.

Furthermore, even if it is read, a generic or unfocused resume indicates to the hiring manager that the applicant didn’t do their homework – they didn’t research the company or the actual job. This is a glaring admission that they are ‘uniformed’, and all hiring managers admit that they won’t hire an uniformed candidate.

So people need to stop sending out the same resume for different jobs – it is a waste of time and effort because it is not focused – it is generic. And generic resumes get rejected!


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