En Route: A Career Blog

So Your Shiny New Resume Didn’t Get You the Interview

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: May 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm

All too often, job applicants believe that if they have the perfect resume, employers will scramble to hire them.

Unfortunately, that’s not close to reality for several reasons.

The Hard Truth About Resumes

1. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ resume. A resume may be flawless (no errors), detail exactly what you can offer in terms of knowledge, skills and abilities, be organized well and still not gain you the interview. Why? Most likely because another candidate was better qualified or more uniquely qualified for the position. Remember, you’re competing against dozens, perhaps hundreds of other individuals for the same position. Employers can afford to be choosy.

2. You’re sending your perfect resume to a myriad of jobs without bothering to change the document’s focus. Let’s say you’re an accountant, but you also worked in retail management for many years. With your accounting-focused resume, you begin to apply for retail management jobs – just in case. However, none of the hiring managers for those positions call you in for an interview. You’re mystified. Your resume is perfect! Well, not exactly. If the focus of your document is accounting and the hiring manager wants retail management, they won’t care if your resume is perfect or not. You’re not who they’re looking for.

3. You’re overqualified or under-qualified for the position. Again, if you don’t match the qualifications better than anyone else, you won’t be called into interview.  It’s an unfortunate truth that you can’t simply send out a thousand resumes to every available job, hoping that some will stick. They won’t. Not in this economy.

4. You’ve failed to target what the employer wants most. Your resume may read well and have a lot of good data about you, but again, it’s not what the hiring manager wants or needs to fill the vacancy.

‘Perfect’ Doesn’t Exist

In today’s job market there is no such thing as a perfect resume or a one-size-fits all document. Each time you apply for a position, you need to tailor your resume to fit specific needs.

If you don’t, it won’t matter how perfect you believe your resume to be.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

» Read Full Bio

Sign Up for the En Route Newsletter

Career articles, resume advice, and interview tips delivered every month!

Propel Your Career

Get to the next level faster with professional Resume Writing or Editing products.

I was totally satisfied! My cover letter was perfect, no edits needed. I must say that I've never worked with a company that has been so professional and efficient. I am Australian and was a bit hesitant, as all countries do things differently, but I am so happy to have such a great resume and cover letter.

— Clayton R.
Hospitality and Tourism
New South Wales, Australia
» See All Testimonials

We're Busy Little Bees

Resumes Written This Month
Resumes Written Since 1998