If you’re looking for a new job, it’s natural to think the first step should be updating your resume. After all, it’s the proverbial calling card for getting a new job. Chances are, you don’t update your resume until it’s time to look for a job. Personally, I’d rather get a filling at the dentist before I have to sit down and work on my resume. It’s boring, tedious, and how many of us are really skilled writers?
It may also feel like a futile task because in today’s online job-hunting world, you can literally send out hundreds of resumes and not get a single response. Crickets. So what are you doing wrong? I kept asking myself the same question. I spent countless hours working on different versions of my resumes and I always did the same in asking for feedback. My friends didn’t understand my career path so they just checked my resume for spelling and grammatical errors.
I thought I was doing all the right things. Although I made plenty of resume formatting mistakes, I felt that my content was solid and it had been proofread for basic errors. But when I didn’t get a single call back, I knew I was missing something fundamental. Here’s the answer.
If writing resumes were a test at school, the key to the test is the job description. This is worth repeating.
We’ve all heard it before, you need to use keywords on the resume but where do you find those? The answer is the job description.
So the next time you sit down to update your resume, before you even start, make sure have a job description in mind. Even better, have it printed out or open in another window on your computer.
Not only will having a target make resume writing easier and more effective, but it will also greatly increase your chances of getting past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). ATS is a fancy name for the automated scanners that go through resumes before they even get to humans. The more your resume matches the job description, the higher your chances of getting your resume passed through.
So the next time you’re feeling lost and hopeless about where to start with your resume, find a job description to target and let that be your starting point.