Resume ignored? Find out why
When you write your resume (with or without advice and professional help), who is your target audience? Who are you trying to satisfy?
First of all, you’re not writing your resume to satisfy yourself. For that matter, you’re not writing it to satisfy any “expert” – the author of the resume book you just read, or the recruiter you’re working with, or your career guidance counselor, or your cousin Fred who is a human resources manager, or even a professional resume writer.
You are writing your resume for a particular kind of reader: a potential employer. And if you’re like most of us, you make some very, very optimistic assumptions about that reader. You are certain that your reader is eager to find the best person for the job. Your reader, you are sure, is going to read the important things in your resume, and his or her eye will be drawn to all of those clever formatting tricks you’ve used (columns, underlining, different fonts, boldfacing, italics, strong verbs, skills, numbers, results, etc.).
But you’d better take off the rose-colored glasses. Your resume has a better than 98% chance of ending up in the garbage can (real or virtual).
Here are 7 characteristics of the psychology of the typical resume reader:
1. Resume readers are some of the smartest and most skeptical readers in the world. They know that at least half of what they read consists of lies, exaggerations, half-truths, and semantic and formatting “tricks.” They don’t accept anything at face value. Remember, the typical resume reader sees literally thousands; they know every trick in the book by now.
2. Most readers are in a bad mood, not a happy mood of eager expectancy. They’ve got 300 resumes to read, and nobody is giving them an extra penny to carefully peruse each one. They are rushed for time, annoyed at having to read yet another resume, and hostile rather than sympathetic. Reading yet another resume is a burden that is keeping them from their attention to what they consider much, much more important matters.
3. Therefore, the typical resume reader is looking for a quick and convincing reason to throw out yours. Some will even discard it if they don’t like the envelope or the way the email looks. Some will read only the resume and not the cover letter, or vice-versa. And they are unwilling to open up a zip file. You know how annoying it is to get an email that requires you to open up several files? For the resume reader, it is triply annoying.
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