We come into contact with many applicants who are aggressively attacking the job market, treating it as a full-time job. Most times, individuals feel comfortable enough with us to vent their frustrations, which we listen to and address by offering the best advice we can possibly give based on the individual’s specific situation. Sometimes, applicants who’ve applied to positions for several weeks or months without receiving offers bluntly ask, “what am I doing wrong?

 Good question, but with multiple answers.

In terms of the almighty important Resume, some of the most common problems we have seen that can have a devastating effect on job applications include:
  • Careless grammatical and spelling errors, which indicate the applicant is not detail-oriented
  • Cookie-cutter resumes, which are typically created from a template (completely fine), but are filled in with little detail or useful information. Important bullet points are missing because the applicant chose to fill in only the information that the actual template includes sections for.
  • Resumes that are more than a couple of pages in length and/or cover letters that exceed one page length.  Many recruiters are overloaded with applications, so wordy documentation that lacks straight-and-to-the-point information is skimmed very quickly, and with little interest.
  • Your summary of skills match those listed as requirements in the posted job description, but your resume lacks past job duties and experience which clearly indicates you’ve actually applied said skills in the workplace.
  • laundry list of previous job responsibilities.  We want to see numbers, accomplishments, ways you’ve improved both your position(s) and company(s), as opposed to a list of job requirements you met. It’s not impressive that you followed previous job descriptions; instead, describe how you exceeded those responsibilities.

Cover Letters, which can be an asset to job applications and/or resume submissions, can also hinder one’s likelihood to get past the first application review. In the second part of “What am I doing wrong?”, I’ll detail innocent mistakes commonly made in the introductory letter that can have a negative impact on even the strongest of resumes.