Your Resumé Should Make no Sense

If you sending out resumés and getting auto-rejected or never even contacted, let me help you understand why.

Yesterday, I wrote about writing a Job Statement, which is a very specific description of the job you want. You can think of it as the employee equivalent of an employer’s job description.

You are now looking for something very specific. And when you find one to apply to, you are also a very specific person.

So, why is your resumé generic? If you could send this same resumé to lots of different software developer jobs, then it’s going to get filtered out for a lot of them.

Consider the receiver. If this is a well-known company who will get a lot of applicants, they may get a hundred applicants to every position. I worked for small companies in small job markets and could get that sometimes (especially when we targeted new grads at the local colleges).

With such a pile, the reader has no choice but to skim each quickly. Imagine that they will read the very first lines and then skim for a few pieces of key information. If you pass that, they might give it a more careful read. It is also possible that they are using crappy software to score the resumé ahead of time.

Why will your application get chosen?

Here’s one way. Your resumé should be so specifically meant for that job that it would make no sense to send it to anyone else.

Doing this takes a little longer than just spamming job sites with your generic resumé, but the hit rate is worth it. And it’s really not that bad. You are going to start from a long generic resumé and edit it to be more focussed. I personally maintain a few styles because I have more than one domain I am willing to work in (and they are different enough to warrant this).

Read the job description very carefully and figure out the one or two most important things they are looking for. Take note of the words they use, especially jargon or technical terms, because you will use them as well.

The very first real sentence of the resumé, below your contact info, should be a concise argument for why you should be hired for this specific job hitting those two most important points.

Next, should be a concise summary of your technical qualifications, edited to be specific to this job. Maybe label this section “Relevant Skills” if you are afraid you are editing it down too much.

In every job you list, make sure the reader can skim and see the tech stack you used there (bold it). Use the job description as a guide to what you write about the job.

The description of your current job should be very specifically tailored for this receiver, and you can do this to a lesser extent as you go through the resumé (but it won’t hurt to do it completely).

If you need help, please get in touch.

Your cover letter is going to be even more customized. I’ll cover that soon.

Note: If you think your resumé will be auto-scored, the standard recommendation is to make sure your resumé has the keywords they are looking for. Since you are tailoring the it to the job description, you should be fine.