Disclaimer:  This is not new information.  It is not earthshattering or groundbreaking.  It is however, apparently worth repeating–the mass of vague and ill prepared resumes we receive each week tells us so.  Therefore, it is to the hundreds upon thousands of applicants who send out the exact same blanket resume for all applications that we say: take heed already and personalize that resume!

It’s true; the generic resume is alive and well!  Each week, we comb through hundreds of resumes.  From engineers to technicians to programmers and professional sales people, no group has proven to be an exception—candidates of all experience levels and backgrounds do it.  Time and again, we receive resumes that were obviously written for a different job, or they are so general it was clear that there was no particular job in mind at all.

Why the untailored resume is a bad idea.

Ever had a waiter try and serve you the wrong order?  One quick glance and you say, “That’s not mine.”  The meal is sent away before it even touches down on the table.  No matter how hungry you are, you are only interested in eating the bacon cheeseburger you asked for.  A hamburger would do, but you requested one with cheese and bacon on purpose.  No settling for a veggie burger either—no salads or chicken wings—you aren’t eating until that cheeseburger comes along, so you’re willing to hold out until it comes.

Same with a resume that is not what the position ordered, so to speak.  If it is vague or untailored to the specific job or company (at the very least), it is most likely an attempt that is dead on arrival.  Resumes like this signal one of two things to a recruiter:  the applicant is lazy and/or the applicant doesn’t really want the job.  Either way, like having a weak handshake or wrinkled suit, resumes of this breed do not make a great first impression.

Recruiters are busier now than ever before.

Hiring and recruiting efforts have changed drastically in the last five years.  Companies have had to lay off, restructure, consolidate and outsource in as many budget-saving ways as possible.   Whether recruiters are in-house or outsourced, they are all faced with a highly accelerated work flow today.  With an unemployment rate above 8%, there are more applicants to filter through and, often times, fewer recruiters left on staff to do so.

So, if recruiters are looking at more resumes than ever before, they really don’t have the time to spend on an applicant who failed to take their own time preparing it.

The common short falls.

Even with the wealth of information online about this very subject, job seekers, by and large, are still not getting the message. 

Believe it or not, we repeatedly receive resumes that:

  • List some other employer or company name in the objective—not ours
  • Say the candidate is looking for a job in industry “X”, when the position being applied for is in industry “Y”
  • Do not contain the keywords or highlight required skills mentioned in the job ad

Our best advice.

  1. Key skills and requirements are listed in job postings for a reason—use them!  If applicable to your skills or experience, incorporate the exact words/phrases into your resume.
  2. Always update your objective to match that of the job you are applying for.  Like calling your girlfriend by the wrong name, this is a bad move.  Again, it signals laziness, carelessness and/or lack of interest.
  3. Apply with intention.  We realize some job seekers have been unemployed for a long time.  Those who may have started out as conscientious, meticulous applicants have now grown jaded and weary.  But, like a flower among the weeds, a bit of effort can really go a long way.
  4. Know yourself and what you can do and apply accordingly.  If the job is too far of a stretch, a good recruiter will pick you off right away.

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