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Recruiters Not Calling You? Five Reasons Why — And How To Fix It

January 4, 2011

Today’s post is courtesy of Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach. For more career tips, visit her website at

You’ve been hoping for a new job, but your phone is silent. Does this sound like your job search efforts?

  • You’ve sent out hundreds of resumes but received little or no response.
  • You’ve left dozens of voicemails to recruiters —and they never return your call.
  • You’ve tweaked your resume so many times you no longer recognize it.

Many talented, qualified job seekers get ignored by recruiters and hiring managers simply because their resume has one or more of the following problems.

1. Your resume highlights your lack of industry experience
If you lack specific industry experience, try highlighting your transferable skills. Job seekers who lack industry experience can make it past the resume screener by proving their ability with skills they have that transfer from industry to industry. Examples of transferable skills include expertise gained in sales, customer service, finance, accounting, negotiation, cross-functional communications, and/or team building.

2. Your resume shouts “Overqualified!”
Nothing scares off a recruiter faster than a candidate who is obviously overqualified for the job. The two main concerns are (1) that the candidate would soon get bored and leave at his earliest convenience, and (2) that the candidate would be too expensive to hire.

There are many valid reasons job seekers wish to downsize to jobs with fewer responsibilities. Whatever your reasons, tailor your resume to fit your current career objective. This means you’ll want to play down your prior responsibilities, list only relevant education (don’t list a Ph.D. if you are applying for a mid-level management position!), and emphasize tactical experience over strategic planning when appropriate.

3. Your resume is crammed with information, but not the right kind
You’ll catch the recruiter’s attention if you have a clear, easy-to-read resume that highlights your skills and accomplishments, even at a glance. The first rule of resume effectiveness is relevancy, so edit out the past data and redundant facts that aren’t relevant to your current career path. Fill your resume only with the skills needed for that particular job.

4. Your resume has too little information
A resume that looks more like an outline just doesn’t give the reader enough to work with. Recruiters don’t want to guess what you did at your last job. You need to include enough information to give prospective employers a vision of the possibilities if they choose to hire you.

5. Your resume doesn’t include accomplishments
Remember, as a job seeker you are selling your talents, and you are competing with many others who have the same qualifications as you do. Accomplishments give recruiters a reason to choose you over others for the interview short list. Highlight how you have saved time, increased efficiency, cut cost, and increased client satisfaction. After all, if you don’t tell them, nobody else will!

If you use this five-point checklist to restructure your resume, you’ll soon hear back from recruiters who appreciate qualified, articulate and confident candidates. The time you spend enhancing your resume could shave off months of fruitless labor and frustrating effort in your job search.

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