Are They Even Reading My Resume? (And how to make sure they are)

When you are on the lookout for a new job, finding an exciting job posting in the industry you want is cause for excitement! You organize your resume, apply for the job, and now all you can do is wait for a response from the employer.

But, as time ticks on, it becomes clear that that phone call is never going to come.

You are likely feeling confused and wondering “are they even reading my resume?” The truth is, they might not be!

The expansion of the internet and increased automation has changed the way jobs are posted and applications are received.

We have long moved past searching in the local newspaper and dropping off a resume in person. Job offers, once made based on personal appearance and employment experience, have shifted, and one must simply upload a resume to apply for a job.

In many ways, this process has eliminated some forms of discrimination but it also means that employers and HR managers are inundated with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes.

It is no surprise, then, that employers turn to artificial intelligence (Applicant Tracking Software or ATS) to scrutinize resumes for specific keywords, creating a swift and systematic elimination process. While this is beneficial for the employer, many excellent candidates are left to the recycling bin because their resume was missing a few small items or because of formatting errors.

The following are some of the most probable reasons that employers and HR managers may not be reading your resume and a few tips to help your resume get noticed in the future.

The Resume Design Needs Updating

We all know the look of the quintessential resume. It has lots of words, some bullets, dates, and a recount of your skills and work experience. Someone probably made it by using a template.

Believe it or not, the format and font on your resume matter.

The ATS may not recognize your font if you use Times New Roman. Some ATS systems can not recognize Serif fonts because there are extra lines on the letters. An ATS should be able to read a resume using a Sans Serif font more easily.

If your resume can bypass the ATS, or if the employer does not use this type of software (which is becoming increasingly rare), your resume will still need to not only carry the required keywords, but will need to stand out above the rest to be noticed by a hiring manager.

And, since employers can’t see your smiling face, your resume is left to make a first impression on your behalf. Scrap the resume template and trade it in for a personalized resume that is formatted professionally and clearly.

You should include a section in the resume that indicates the qualifications and key competencies you possess in a requirement for the job. We will delve deeper into this later, but this is where the bulk of the keywords needed to get noticed by ATS do your resume is promoted to the next round of the interview process.

Your resume will need to clearly define your work experience, skills, and other essential features like any certifications you have or associations you belong to.

You Used Unnecessary Big Words

It is tempting to use “big” words to sound smart when job seeking.

Adding jargon or unnecessarily long multi-syllabic words will be more of a hindrance to your resume. A hiring manager is looking for someone who has the skill and experience to fit the job opening. Going overboard with language use may cause the HR manager or employer to look past the skills you have and discard your resume.

You Need Keywords

Keywords are arguably the most critical part of a resume, especially for a business that hires using ATS. In fact, over 40% of employers use ATS for hiring, so including keywords is very important.

Many applicants are unaware of the importance of the keywords, which may cause qualified candidates to be rejected and not receive a callback from a potential employer. Employers who use an ATS will admit that the system is not fail-proof, and some great candidates have fallen through the cracks. In fact, some older ATS software requires exact word match, whereas newer software recognizes synonyms.

When a resume is submitted, it is scanned by bots before it even reaches human eyes. ATS is used to search for pre-selected keywords that match the job specifications. A little research is required to understand which keywords are necessary to bypass the software algorithms. Find and note frequently used words in similar job postings (including the one you apply for) for the right wording. These words will be the keywords that match the job.

Once you have noted the keywords, you can optimize your resume to the position you want.

To include the applicable keywords in your resume, they must fit organically. If your resume makes it onto an HR manager’s desk, it needs to be readable, so throwing a keyword in here and there without context will make your resume hard to read and may even eliminate it from the competition.

Your Resume is Too Long

When the prospect of landing a highly coveted job is on the table, it can be tempting to want to tell a potential employer about everything you have done. Unfortunately, you only have a hiring manager’s attention for a mere seven seconds, and a long resume is distracting and time-consuming. 

Keep your resume to one page by only incorporating experience and skills applicable to the job you’re applying for.

Your resume will be more visually appealing if you break it into small sections. As we said earlier, a hiring manager only looks at your resume for about seven seconds, so you have seven seconds to make a great first impression.

You may have many things that you wanted to include in your resume, which is ok, but you will need to break the writing into smaller paragraphs that are easier to read quickly. 

If you can creatively weave your keywords throughout a single page, your potential employer will be able to digest and read it more thoroughly for consideration.

You Didn’t Customize Your Resume

It would help if you created a unique resume for each role you want. Of course, if you apply for the same job at two different employers, you can create one resume and tailor it to fit each employer’s task.

If you are very enthusiastic about a position, you might want to put extra effort into creating a custom resume for the job. Remember to research the job posting and similar ones to get a good idea of what the company is looking for in each candidate.

You Did Not Ask for Help

Crafting a resume that makes you stand out above the crowd can be daunting, especially when there are so many intricate details involved in making it a good resume.

One way of ensuring that your resume is outstanding is by hiring a professional resume writer. Help from a career-development specialist will ensure that your resume contains the correct keywords, is the right length, and outlines your experience and skills in a way that is pleasant to read.

Career Marketing Centre has taken resume writing to the next level. Amy’s skilled resume writing could be just what you need to turn your resume into an interview. Contact the Career Marketing Centre and start your job search on the right foot.



Amy WattAre They Even Reading My Resume? (And how to make sure they are)