With this post, I am going to go out on a limb using some strictly unscientific data I’ve been quietly gathering from all of my discussions with hiring managers, recruiters, headhunters, and human resource professionals.
Are you ready?
Ok, here it is:
80% of all the résumés out there suck.
Yes, I mean really suck. As in spelling/grammar/usage/punctuation errors, ugly or non-existent formatting, lack of keywords, cutting and pasting job duties instead of listing valuable contributions, inclusion of photos and other non-relevant personal information, and the ever-so-outdated objective statement which is the constant thorn in the side of anyone who reads the document, just to name a few.
All of these horrible elements are still out there and still being circulated as application materials in all of their hideous, error-ridden, and totally ineffective glory.
Now before you start rolling your eyes, clucking your tongue, and thinking indignantly, “Certainly, she’s not talking about not my résumé!” consider this:
Most of these hiring professionals I’ve talked to have indicated that the 20% of the ‘good’ résumés that they see are only ADEQUATE (meaning the documents give them the basics of what they need to consider the applicant).
Out of that 20% , less than 5% absolutely pop and crackle in the way we all think and hope our document does when it lands on the screener’s desk.
Actually, I totally agree with that 5% number… Lots of prospective clients send me their documents, brimming with confidence that their résumé is superior and just needs some 'minor' tweaks or touch-ups.
Oh, really? “Well, let’s take a look,” I say, and open up the file.
What pops up on my screen isn’t pretty… most of the time.
There’s a reason why so many résumé writers, human resource managers, and career professionals are constantly tweeting and writing articles on this subject. We are literally screaming at the top of lungs… job seekers simply HAVE to punch it up a notch in today’s highly sophisticated job market.
But the problem is that there are lots of people who simply are not ‘getting’ it whether they are just plain ignorant or too egotistical to admit their résumé isn’t up to current snuff – to their own detriment.
To defend John and Jane Public, they don’t make a career out of tracking résumé trends. Most of us usually go through this update process perhaps every few years until we find a job, then we let the dust settle before calling up the résumé again years later.
As a writer, I see technology continually reshaping the employment marketplace, and it is going to boil down to how you position and then format your credentials which will determine whether you attract the attention of first an applicant tracking system (ATS) and then a human resources live human being.
However you go about it, you need elevate your résumé to the next level whether you buy a ‘how-to’ book to do it yourself or hire a professional. It is a constantly evolving landscape, and if you want to stand out as a superior candidate, your background and accomplishments alone won’t cut the mustard anymore as ‘stand alone.’
We’re talking pushing yourself harder than you’ve ever pushed yourself before. Everyone needs to see their résumé as a living, breathing roadmap of their career, and invest in themselves. Their livelihood depends on it.