Friday, October 23, 2009

7 Reasons Why a Potential Employer Won't Read your Resume, and What to Do About it

4. They are unimpressed by the latest resume “fad.” For a long time, it was (and to a great extent still is) ‘verbs.’ Since a verb is an action word, we think, the reader will be impressed by lots of great verbs. They’re not. The latest craze is numbers. You’ve got to have lots of quantitative data in your resume, or no one will take you seriously. I see resumes now that are nothing but a bewildering array of numbers, and I do not believe it is any more impressive to the typical resume reader than is a bewildering array of verbs.

5. None will read in detail – that we all know. All will skim-read for about 20 seconds or less. They are looking for certain information FIRST, to see if the resume is worth reading in more detail. Usually they look for job titles and academic degrees first. Some look first for gaps in employment, some for certain skills, some for length of employment. Each reader has his or her own top priority to scan for first. And even if they read it in detail, they’ll give it to 5 other people who will skim it.

6. Most readers know that their company is in no hurry to hire. Even if they are interested in you, they will take their time responding. They are not interested in calling you back right away, even if they like your resume.

7. They are not interested in your personal objectives for your life and your career. They are only interested in how you can help their company solve its problems and achieve its goals—that’s why they hire. But they are totally unaware of your unique strengths and value that you can potentially bring to the organization. That’s because in most resumes, the person’s unique strengths and potential value are buried somewhere in the middle of the resume and not written for a skimmer/reader.

So, when you write your resume (or have anyone else help you write it), keep the above characteristics in mind. You have got to give your reader 1) what they are looking for FIRST, and 2) what you want them to find FIRST. That means that you cannot emphasize everything equally in your resume. You’ve got to write it so that they see their priorities and yours instantly. Make sure to keep that in mind, and you’ll have a much better chance of having your resume taken seriously.

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Sander Marcus, Ph.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Resume Writer in Chicago. He has over 3 decades of experience in providing career counseling, aptitude testing, job search coaching, and resume writing to tens of thousands of individuals. He is the co-author of 2 books on academic underachievement, various tests, and numerous articles. He can be contacted at,

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