Last year, I worked with a client (I will call the person X) who had been sending out resume after resume to companies but wasn’t hearing back. The individual was highly qualified and had a stellar work history so why was X’s job search dragging on month after month?

If you are like X and not hearing back from employers, either your job search strategy or a poorly written resume is obstructing your path to success.  

X had worked with a few professional resume writers (via career centers and big-box firms) and ended up with a version that looked and read like a hundred other resumes; a version that opened with a vague summary that could fit any number of candidates; and a version that literally (word-for-word) came from an online sample.

> Not all professional resume writers are created equal. A true professional resume writer will take the time to help you define your unique value, guide you in unearthing relevant success stories, and ask you to clarify your career goals, target audience, and accomplishments. They are invested in helping you reach your goals vs. the “professional writer” who simply asks for your employment history and provides you with an uninspiring career obituary that is a rehash of your original and a carbon copy of the hundreds of other resumes they’ve written.

You are competing against hundreds of applicants for a job, it is critical your resume tell your career story with authenticity.

  • Take the time to do some research. Go beyond slick websites. Ask who will be handling your project (some firms hand off writing projects to staff writers); what certifications the writer has and how long they’ve been certified; how many documents they produce daily / weekly. The answers to these questions will help you find a great resume writer. Be sure to double check credentials.   
  • Samples do not tell the whole story. Behind every compelling resume, there is a strategy that is driven by the individual’s career goals, job target, and employment history. Work with a writer who will take the time to create a strategy based on your goals and experience. Note: Many great writers stopped providing samples because of plagiarism but will give you a glimpse of there work when asked.
  • Every writer has their own process. There are varying opinions on what the process should be, but the best writers will always ask for more information from you. They might do this via a phone consultation or a questionnaire filled with questions specific to your background, skills, and achievements. There are terrific writers on both sides of this fence.

> People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. You can work with a professional resume writer in the crafting of an attention-grabbing resume, but you also need to give your job search direction by establishing a plan of action at the forefront.

  • Stop casting a wide net. Many job seekers believe chances of finding employment is increased when they apply to every job posting –whether their qualifications match or not.
  • Spend time creating a focused plan. What does your ideal title, duties, and company culture look like? Use this information to create a list of companies you’d like to work for.

Only 1% of Job Seekers are Successful Sending their Resume Blindly to Every Job That Pops Up. (source statisticbrain.com)

  • Tap into the hidden job market. Employers fill positions via networking, referrals, and word-of-mouth. Optimize your job search success rate by leveraging your existing connections and building professional connections (via LinkedIn, attending live networking events, and even volunteering).
  • Create and use a value proposition letter. VPLs are short (around 150 words) and quickly communicate your value (showcasing your quantifiable results). Focus is placed on what you can do for the company as their next thought leader.

If you are hearing from employers (called in for interviews) but are not receiving job offers, I would encourage you to review your resume (where is it guiding the reader?); list questions you have been asked and review your responses (should your resume emphasize a different skill set?); go beyond giving “pat” answers by practicing your why (Why you’re the best employee for this job. Why you’ve been unemployed. Why your skills are a perfect match.) Proactively preparing will help you clarify your answer and gain confidence!

As always, my mission is to help YOU build your authentic brand –one that will put you ahead of your competition and help you gain clarity, confidence, and control of your job search.

Be bold and set yourself apart!

Tammy Shoup is a Certified Master Resume Writer and career storyteller who helps career professionals, thought leaders, rising stars, and high-level executives create branded resumes that demonstrate their unique value, engage their target audience, and give them a competitive edge in their field. She is a multi-certified advanced resume writer with 20 years’ experience writing words that change lives.