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No Response to the Perfect Resume?

The Hiring Process Resumes and Cover Letters


It took me about six hours to write the perfect resume, not including the time required to tailor it to different jobs. Why is it that even with all that effort, so many employers still don't respond?


I understand your position. However, the reality is that many job leads attract over one hundred resumes each, and Human Resources (HR) people just don’t have much time to give to every resume received.

Believe it or not, the actual time an HR person spends on the average resume is often as little as six seconds. In addition, many HR folks have never done the job for which they’re scanning those resumes. They may not know what’s actually important in that job. They work from a list of qualifications: keywords given to them by the hiring manager. When they speed-read resumes, they’re looking for particular words or phrases.

Anything you do to make your resume appeal to that person makes it more likely that they'll read your information. In addition to using keywords as often as you can (while having it still make sense), use a simple font like Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Choose a reasonable font size, preferably 11 or 12 points. Remember the person who’s reading your resume likely has to read hundreds more today.

In addition, take your most important qualifications and put them right after your contact information in a professional summary. If you don’t like “Professional Summary,” you can call it “Highlights of Qualifications” or “Career Summary,” or something similar. This takes the elements that most interest the employer and puts them right up front, where that HR person is still paying attention.

You’re on the right track. Taking the time to tailor your resume to each new job is an important step that many job seekers neglect. Eventually, it will serve you well. Keep going and don't give up!


About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.