Dear Sam: I am struggling to get any attention or response to my current résumé. People look at my résumé and see that I have never held the specific job title I'm applying for, whether it is administrative assistant or receptionist. Although I've never held these titles, it is everything that I have been doing at my current job (plus my actual position) for the past 5 years. I also feel that the personality that people love from me isn't shining through my résumé either. I've tried numerous different attempts to get some sort of response and am at a complete loss at this point as to what to do. Is it okay to list my job title as an administrative assistant or receptionist? — Desperate
Dear Desperate: Thanks for attaching your résumé so I could see what you are submitting to prospective employers. In less than two seconds, I could see several issues with your résumé. Let me take you through what employers will see/think when they look at your résumé:
(1) Uninteresting and non-differentiating design – You used a very common Microsoft Word résumé template, so you will immediately look like many others who applied for the same job. Incidentally, I use this same template when facilitating seminars, to show how you should not design your résumé.
(2) You have a major typo in the first line of your résumé – did you know that 23% of hiring managers discard a résumé with one typo? If claiming HIPAA knowledge you should spell the acronym correctly; it’s not HIPPA, even though I know it sounds like it should be.
(3) Poor prioritization of duties – You open with your photographer/customer service role and immediately present a bullet point about resolving customer service complaints. This will make the reader wonder how well you did your job if you spent this much time resolving complaints, especially when it seems you are the one with direct customer contact.
(4) Too many short-terms jobs – You have presented two jobs that you held for just a few months, when instead you could completely omit these short-term jobs—presenting only years of employment so not to show gaps—and focus on your customer service experience in a consistent retail setting. You could title this section “Related Professional Experience” to ensure the strategy is not looked at as misleading. This would bring alignment and fluidity to your résumé.
(5) Vacant content – Let me ask you, if you have provided no explanation of what you did for a given employer, how do you expect a prospective employer to “see” the value in that experience? Don’t put something on your résumé and then not explain anything about it!
Literally, these are the errors I saw in a very brief review of your résumé, and ones prospective hiring managers also will see. I urge you to revamp your résumé using today’s standards. You don’t need to resort to changing your titles to something that isn’t accurate; you just need to do a much better job “translating” your experiences into the language that will attract your target audience.