3 Resume Mistakes That Cost You The Job

October 27, 2017

“I was beyond frustrated in my job search. I could not get anyone to respond, or talk to me.”
You meet all the qualifications stated in the ad; apply, apply, and apply some more; but no one will call you back. And this cycle has happened dozens – if not hundreds – of times. Too often this stems from conducting your job search in a habitual manner – just going through the motions and applying for (most) everything under the sun. Instead, take fewer motions, but make those steps individualized, customized, and more meaningful. Here’s how to do it:

Decide Who You Are (And Who You’re Not)


Let me tell you who you’re not. You’re not, “highly organized, detail-oriented and dependable; able to multitask and handle large workloads; a team player who’s results-focused.” Does that sound normal to you? I defy you to tell me the last time you said anything remotely close to that in a regular conversation.

: If the words on your resume could, literally, be on EVERY other person’s resume, regardless of job title or industry, then those words don’t need to be on your resume.

Use the bar-b-que trick: when you’re at your neighbor’s house in the summertime for a bar-b-que, you are likely to get into a conversation with someone new. That conversation can easily veer into, “So what do you do?” And you know what? You don’t sit there and say, “well, I’m an excellent multi-tasker with a consistent record of meeting tight deadlines in a high-pressure environment.” You say something in plain earthly English, “I’m a sales director for an industrial products manufacturer.”

Use the answer you give at the bar-b-que as the starting point for expressing who you are on your resume. Formalized the bar-b-que statement into, “Director-level sales leader who delivers multi-million-dollar results in the B2B manufacturing sector.”

Commit To Doing Some (Real) Research

“Research” does not mean hopping onto the corporate web site and glancing over the “about us” page. If that’s your process, congratulations! You just found out the exact same information as the next 1,000 people who are applying for the same job the same day you are.

This is a social media world we live in. Use that reality to your advantage. The “about us” page is about history. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are about what’s happening now. Follow the company and the decision makers to find out what the problems are in their organizations, then position yourself on your resume as the ideal candidate to solve those problems.

The resume can’t be all #youYouYOU, unless you want to #notNotNOT get a call back. Once you find out what’s going on in a particular organization, tailor your resume, cover letter, and email messages to the relevant decision makers to suit the business’ unique situation. Employers are looking to hire candidates who can solve their problems and grow their businesses. Use your resume real estate not for self-congratulatory filler, but to showcase specific achievements that illustrate how you applied your expertise successfully.

Just Do The Ugly Cry

I’m talking about the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) resume. It’s ugly: there’s no formatting allowed, it’s plainer than plain. No one wants to look at it. But guess what: you need an ATS-friendly resume because statistics say 80% of US employers are using ATS scanning technology to screen resumes. Therefore, if you insist on using a Word resume to apply, the only thing that’s happening is that it’s getting sucked into the black hole never to be seen by anyone – ever.

Translation: even if you meet every qualification stated in the ad, even if you illustrate accomplishment after accomplishment after accomplishment, and even if you have done all the research you can possibly do…if the resume is not ATS-friendly so the scanners can extract your information, then you’re sunk. End.Of.Discussion.

See exactly what to do to find your killer keywords, research the right way, and make your resume ATS-friendly, in our free online master class, “Resume ReVamp Version 2.0: 3 Simple Steps To Get Recruiters To Respond – FAST!” Once you register, you can even submit your resume to be used as an example in the live demonstration.

2 comments on “3 Resume Mistakes That Cost You The Job
  1. It’s true – NOBODY sees the big picture but is detail oriented, action oriented but process driven, blah blah blah. But EVERY. SINGLE. JOB. DESCRIPTION lists these skills and attributes as either required or preferred and in order to bypass the ATS screening criteria you need to match a majority of the “key words” from the employer. So how do you NOT list these? How do you align yourself with the requirements if you don’t mirror the specifics? It’s a joke to call yourself all these things that nobody is in reality but you need to “play the game,” right?

  2. Jewel Bracy DeMaio says:

    While every ad does include these words, the thrust of this article is about not overly-relying on these descriptors, to the point where you neglect to indicate what you actually do for the company that’s unique and value-added!

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