March 09, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Dear Matt: I’m a recent college graduate who is struggling to get interviews. I have sent in over 30 resumes and applications but haven’t received one call for an interview. What am I doing wrong?
Matt: I still remember the very first resume I ever sent after graduating from college. I applied for a research position with a local business publication. I never got a call. And I know exactly why. In fact, I am 100 percent certain the person never read past the first sentence of my resume. Why?
Because my opening statement included this language: “Seeking entry-level opportunity that will help me advance my career.”
What’s wrong with that?
First, it made it about me. I get it. You are excited. You worked hard to graduate from college and are now eager to start your career. But if you learn one thing from this article learn this:
A resume is never about you!
How so? Isn’t a resume my career biography? The document that tells employers why they should hire me?
A resume is not about you. It’s also not a career biography. It’s a marketing document that quickly tells the employer that you may have the skills and background that fit their needs. For that research position, a more appropriate summary statement should have been:
Recent college graduate with 3 years of award-winning college newspaper leadership experience seeking opportunity as research coordinator for business publication.
In that summary I would have showed them:
- I had college newspaper experience.
- I had leadership experience (resume would show I worked as an assistant editor)
- I was part of a team that won a few college newspaper awards.
- And that I am directing this resume exactly to this position.
The reality is this:
A resume should show that you have skills, experiences and a background that would fit a specific job opening – their job opening! It’s about how you can help the next employer fill their needs and solve their problems. Their problem is they have a job opening. They need someone to fill it. That person, whether it’s you, or someone else, should use the resume to show the employer that you have the skills, achievements and combination of soft and hard skills that would entice them to bring you in for an interview. Then in the interview, the employer can learn more about you, see if you truly are who you say you are, and most of all, find out if you are the right fit for the position, with the team you would be working with, and within the company culture.
The second thing to remember is this: The resume doesn’t get you hired. It does though, help you get you an interview.