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Advice / Job Search / Resumes

Ask Yourself This if You Want Your Resume to Actually Lead to an Interview

We ask ourselves a lot of things when submitting an application to our dream job: Did I say enough? Did I say too much? Did I spell the hiring manager’s name right? If I didn’t, how can I fix that before she notices? Can I sneak into her office? How hard is it to hack into a computer? And so on and so forth.

It’s so easy for us to fixate on the little details in order to get that interview—our lack of qualifications, missing keywords, spelling errors. But because we’re so set on being “perfect” ourselves we forget one important factor: the person reading it.

Brian de Haaff, Founder and CEO of Aha!, points to just this in a recent LinkedIn article on five reasons your resume might get tossed. “[B]efore you send in a resume, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes,” he says. “Will your resume inspire trust and respect?”

Notice, it’s not, “Will your resume make you look good?”—it’s about making the hiring manager feel good about you.

To emulate this, he suggests you ask yourself this question before hitting that submit button:

“Am I being considerate?”

Think about it for a second. You may think you can skip the tailoring process because your resume looks spectacular and makes a clear case for your candidacy, but did you consider what the hiring manager will see in the six seconds he’ll take to look at it? Remember: He’s never met you. So if it’s not clear you’re the right person right away from your application, you have to ask yourself a few more follow-up questions.

  • Did you highlight the experience they made it clear they’re looking for (as in, what’s asked for in the job description)?
  • Are all your experiences relevant to the position?
  • Is your value clearly outlined with quantified bullet points?
  • Does your cover letter make it obvious why you’re a fit for this specific position at this specific company?
  • Is everything easy and fast to read?

Being considerate in your application isn’t about sounding polite—it’s about making it easy for a hiring manager to see that you’re someone he could trust in the role. It’s about showing that you can listen to directions and provide exactly what’s asked. And most importantly, it’s about showing you took his time and energy into consideration when crafting it (think: one page). As de Haaff puts it, “Respect the hiring manager’s time, and they will respect you back.”

Don’t tailor your resume just because The Muse, or your mom, or your friend tell you to. Do it because it means the difference between a hiring manager thinking you’re OK and one who thinks you’re great. And ultimately, only great candidates turn into employees.

Photo of person on laptop courtesy of Alys Tomlinson/Getty Images.