| March 2023 |

I had a professional resume drafted – why have I been unable to secure an interview?

Professional resume draft - Empowered Decision

Do you feel your application gets lost in a black hole?

WRITTEN BY: Michelle White

My stomach turns every time a client contacts me with this opening line: “Michelle, I had my resume drafted by an expert resume writer and I have applied to so many jobs without any luck, why is this happening?”

At face value, your resume could well be accurate with all your details, skills and qualifications, employment history and so on. It could also look professional and well presented. Unfortunately, there are a few behind-the-scenes factors that are important to consider which impact on whether your resume is identified and selected for the interview process.

Many companies, especially large corporates, direct the resume via a portal to a CRM or ATS to host and categorise the large volume of applications received across all areas of the business. Resumes can be accessed when the recruiter / talent acquisition advisor enters keywords to extract suitable applications. To ensure your resume is read by an ATS see our blog where we explain issues such as font sensitivity, plain text conversion, and the limitations of headers and footers and graphs in accessing information.

Once in the ATS the recruiter may use a keyword search, as well as work through job applications, to match the information of the critical skills to resumes. The ATS prioritises candidates who most resemble the criteria on the job description and the reader might extract the top 5, 10 or 20 resumes to look at in more detail.

It’s important to remember that the individual conducting the initial screening and shortlisting might not be the hiring manager or a subject specialist; they therefore might not able to interpret important information that is written in a highly technical or different way. You might need to get through this person to get to the Line Manager / subject expert.

Then, there is the urban legend of a “10-second” rule that probably holds some validity. Resumes are generally scanned for an obvious fit and minimal time may be spent understanding a candidate’s experience, and analysing or transferring relevant skills and experience for suitability.

These factors may mean that your resume does not land on the hiring manager’s desk.

“See your application through the eyes of the decision makers”

“Preparing and adapting your resume to a particular job application is a skill”

Preparing and adapting your resume to a particular job application is a skill; consider the following:

  • Extract the most critical skills required for the role and demonstrate your capability and the value you will bring in a summary
  • Don’t use the order of your base / generic resume – instead tailor it to what you need to highlight
  • Prioritise your suitable skills in order of the requirements – don’t expect the reader to find the information in different areas e.g. technical skills
  • Ensure your suitability is clear in the first half of the first page – ten second rule
  • Match your Resume language and terminology to critical keywords
  • Make sure the resume can be easily read by a layperson as well as a technical expert
  • Carefully read the tone and values mentioned in the job advertisement as well as on the career pages / about us page of the company’s website to reflect in the resume / application
  • Resumes are often read on mobiles so don’t go over 3/4 pages
  • It is not just the resume – comply with the requested formatting of your application such as cover letter, statements of claim or selection criteria and maximum length stipulated

This process really helps you to showcase your relevant skills and experience, and to understand where your skillset may be lacking and address it. We understand developing a tailored resume is a time-consuming process with no easy fix, but it is worth the effort to attempt to minimise the risk of your application disappearing into a black hole.

We highly recommend you work through the process of understanding HOW to modify your application, how to read the role description, how to ensure compliance with the application requirements and how to highlight your value to that specific role with an expert who, is not just skilled in resume writing, but who has sat on the other side of the desk in the recruitment and selection process.