How do you know if your resume is working?

Repeatedly sending your resume out and not ever hearing back is torturous. At least if you hear back, even with a generic "no thanks" email, you can get some closure. But hearing nothing is brutal because you never know where you stand and whether you are still in with a chance.

If this is happening time and time for you, it is highly likely there is an issue with your resume. And without the luxury of knowing what the successful resumes looked like that won an interview, it is difficult to know what you need to do differently in your resume to make it a good one.

We have compiled a set of tried and tested questions that will help you identify the quality of your resume.

Question 1: is your resume making the right impact?

Typically you have 6 seconds to make an impact with your resume. In this candidate flooded market, it may even be quicker than 6 seconds as recruiters have hundreds of resumes to screen for every role. Having the right template is the first step. The look and feel should match your level of expertise and professionalism. Particularly, be careful with using any colour. Stick to blue, black and grey. Other colours can be divisive and not present you in an appealing way.

Question 2: is your resume easy to read?

Generally, when we scan documents in English our eyes naturally go from the top left-hand corner to the bottom right hand corner. That invisible diagonal line is our “line of sight” and the zone we spend most of our time looking at. Given you have 6 seconds to make an impact, it is ideal to ensure your key information is within this line of sight, particularly on the first page (which is where most of the initial 6 seconds will be spent).

Questions 3: is your resume the right length?

Your resume needs to position you in a professional way, and also in a compelling way, utilising the limited space (up to 4 pages maximum) to capture what makes you a stand out candidate. Your resume should be 2 pages if you are early in your career and never any more than 4 pages for senior people.

Question 4: are you appealing to the algorithms as well as human eyes?

Another key consideration when putting your resume together is making it Applicant Tracking System (ATS) friendly. ATS is software many organisation’s use to do an initial screen of your resume. They are designed to rank candidates in order of their suitability for a particular job. Because no ATS is the same, you should appeal to as many as possible - do not use tables, pictures, or icons. These all mess with how your resume is being scanned and ranked.

Question 5: Are you presenting the right information?

The structure of your resume is super important in making sure you have all the necessary headings to showcase your skills and experience. Standard sections would include Profile Summary, Education, Career Summary, Professional Experience, Professional Development. Because these are common sections, a recruiter would be looking for these to compare candidates' appeal and suitability, so they are the base-line "must haves" within your resume.

Getting an interview doesn't have to be as hard as it seems if you have a well-written and well-structured resume. By ensuring you can answer "yes" to the above questions, you should be getting some traction. But if, after answering these questions and making modifications to your resume you still aren't getting interviews, consider getting a professional to review your resume before agonising any further over what you may or may not be doing wrong.

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