Attention New Grads - Why Your Resume Isn't Generating Interviews

Just the other day I spoke with the mom of a recent grad. Her daughter had graduated two years ago and continues to struggle with finding a suitable position. The young woman had industriously started her own business and that was keeping her afloat, but it's not where her heart was.

The story reminded me of a client from a couple of years back. Similarly she struggled to find a job in her chosen field of marketing, and similarly she began her own business. This client, let's call her Marcie, established a pretty good track record of success within two years' time and in an up and coming field too, which allowed her to sell the business! Now free of the intense responsibilities, she turned her attention to getting a well-paying corporate job.

After her own resume got no attention, Marcie connected with me and went through my process of homework and fact-finding interview - both of which are intense and require introspection as well as digging through memory banks, old emails, performance reviews, job descriptions etc etc etc!

Great resume in hand, Marcie began connecting with a few people who worked in companies that were of interest to her. Over an informal coffee, as is her style, she asked questions, got answers, and quickly landed a position in the marketing department of one of Canada's leading retailers.

Here's the take-away: a resume is not just a resume as you may think of it. Its message represents your first impression; its language conveys who your are; its content demonstrates your value. If this critical document is not grounded in solid strategy, it flounders.

I have seen many new grad resumes and for the most part, they have similar issues:

- they contain few, if any, of the key words and phrases associated with the position to which they are applying

- the content is often generated from a list of bullets created by the career department

- the resume does not make the most use of transferable skills

And what these three add up to is this: your resume doesn't make it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that parses resumes, and your documents never get reviewed by a human.

If your resume doesn't pass the ATS (widely used and certainly by major employers), you've no hope of landing an interview as no human will review your resume and cover letter, "google" your name to find out more about you, and select you as a possible candidate.

There are jobs out there for new grads, as my new grads are landing jobs. However, with skimpy resumes, with content that is less-than-professional, with no strategy, how do you expect to win the competition?

I feel like a crusader for new grads! Like I am holding a secret that can unleash their futures! Are you ready to invest in your career? If so, hire a professional and put all that great education to good use!

- championing great resumes for great grads, Stephanie