Using a Generic Resume? Why You Should Stop & What You Should be Doing Instead

Hey, dear job seekers! Are you ready to dive into a topic that could make or break your job-hunting game? We’re talking about the not-so-fantastic world of generic resumes. You know, those one-size-fits-all resumes that might seem like a time-saver, but in reality, are a ticket to the “sea of sameness.”  Here’s why:


While struggling to get called for interviews, I decided to audit my resume. After extensive research, I found out what was wrong… the hard way.


Generic resumes are the equivalent of bots – they lack thought and effort and only provide basic information. This realization made me question myself, “If I don’t put in any effort, why should they?” So, if you’re still getting those robotic rejection emails, you may have an idea of why. It’s time to step up your game, put in the effort, and create a resume that truly represents who you are and what you’re capable of.


In this article, we will talk about:

  • Why you should ditch generic resumes
  • How to write a resume that gets you noticed
  • Getting your professional image right
  • Identifying the generic mistakes that can hold you back


Why You Should Ditch Generic Resumes

Generic resumes can often get lost in the shuffle, failing to make a lasting impression on potential employers. Here’s a few reasons why ditching generic resumes in favour of customized ones can significantly enhance your job search success.

Failing to Stand Out

Creating a generic resume is tempting for job seekers who want to apply for many positions at once. However, by using a generic resume, you run the risk of not standing out among other applicants. You see, recruiters and hiring managers are drowning in resumes, and if yours doesn’t grab their attention in 6-7 seconds, it won’t get you to the interview. Customizing your resume to the specific job description and responsibilities makes a HUGE difference in catching the attention of the employer.


Missing Important Keywords

Another issue with generic resumes is the lack of industry-specific keywords and buzzwords.  You know, the secret language that can open doors to your dream job? A generic resume often doesn’t speak that language. It’s like going to a foreign country and not even trying to order your favourite dish in their local lingo – missed opportunities, my friend!


Including these keywords will align your resume better with the job description and demonstrate your understanding of the industry.


Ignoring Applicant Tracking Systems

Nowadays, many companies use these super-smart systems called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter through resumes. These systems scan resumes for essential qualifications and relevant keywords. If your generic resume lacks such important details, your application might not even reach the hiring manager’s desk.


Including job-specific keywords that appear in the job advertisement significantly increases your chances of passing through the initial screening and landing an interview.


So, generic resumes are a time-saver but could cost you some seriously exciting job opportunities. The better path? Tailor your resume for each job by highlighting specific qualifications and experiences and including important keywords.


Crafting a Resume That Shouts ‘Pick Me!’


Tailoring to Job Description

You need to personalize that resume like it’s a tailored suit. But how? It’s actually not that complicated. First up, analyze the job posting thoroughly, like your favourite detective on a crime scene. Ask yourself:

  • What are they looking for?
  • What skills and qualifications do they fancy?


Focus on including the most relevant skills, experience, and qualifications that match the job requirements.


Valuable tip: Use action verbs and clear bullet points to illustrate your work experience effectively. Don’t forget to include relevant job titles and your contact information on your resume.


Highlighting Achievements

The best advice: showcase your most significant achievements. Don’t just list your past jobs and call it a day. Show off those wins!


Start by assessing your past work experience to identify key accomplishments. Did you boost sales by 30%? Manage a team like a pro? Or maybe you’re the Einstein of cost-saving, saving your company a cool $50,000 annually. Use numbers, percentages, or any other metric that demonstrates you can contribute to their company’s success too!


Targeting Relevant Skills

Every resume needs the right mix of skills – hard, soft, technical, and anything else important in your industry.


Focus on the skills the job description is looking for. Listing unrelated skills may dilute your resume’s focus and could reduce your chances of getting an interview. By tailoring your resume to the job, highlighting your achievements, and locking onto the right skills – you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream job.


Nailing That Professional Image On Paper!

Design and Formatting

Ever heard the phrase, “dress for success”? Well, your resume deserves some dressing up too. It is essential to create a professional image. No one likes to read a cluttered, chaotic resume. So pay attention to things like clean fonts and proper spacing.


Use bullet points, bold text, and whatever formatting magic you’ve got to make the essential bits like your skills, achievements, or job responsibilities “pop” for hiring managers.


But be cautious. Especially with the use of colours and graphics. While a dash of creativity is nice, don’t go overboard. You’re not entering a design contest. Also, avoid common mistakes such as spelling errors and grammatical blunders. Always proofread your resume multiple times to eliminate any errors and maintain readability.


Language and Tone

Language and tone matter in the professional world. Ensure that you use concise and direct language. Ditch the jargon and clichés. Instead, let action verbs and industry-specific keywords do the talking. Maintain a professional and friendly tone throughout your resume. This balance can showcase your ability to fit into the company culture and communicate effectively with colleagues and clients. Remember, you’re not just impressing robots (ATS), but also showing you’re a good fit for the team!


Resume Summary

Forget those generic objective statements. Go for a personalized summary that screams, “I’m the one you’re looking for!” Highlight your best stuff, like your top skills and achievements. It serves as an introduction to the rest of your resume and can encourage recruiters to continue reading.


Don’t Let these Resume Mistakes Hold You Back

From typos to irrelevant information, there are basic mistakes that can prevent you from landing an interview. Learn about the common resume mistakes and how to avoid them to ensure your application stands out to potential employers.

Including Irrelevant Information

Only include relevant information showcasing your skills and experience for the job you’re applying for. Your resume is not your life story; it’s your professional highlight reel. So, skip the irrelevant details like hobbies and interests, as it may distract potential employers from focusing on your professional qualifications.


For example, unless you’re applying for a graphic design position, it’s not necessary to highlight your proficiency in Photoshop and Illustrator. Instead, focus on presenting your relevant work history and years of experience in the field, such as your role as an accountant.


Using Incorrect Contact Details

This one should NEVER happen, but it does. From an employer’s perspective, it is the height of carelessness. Not to mention the potential for missed opportunities because you didn’t double-check your phone number or email is correct. The easiest way to avoid this is to work off of a master copy where your contact information is already there. That being said, always double-check before hitting send. You never know when your finger (or your kid’s) accidentally hit a key, preventing you from ever hearing back from your dream job.


Not Proofreading

Speaking of double-checking things, one of the most common resume mistakes is neglecting to proofread. Typos and grammatical mishaps can also leave a negative impression on employers, suggesting carelessness and a lack of professionalism. Read it over, use spell check, read it over again, and try and get a friend to give it another once-over.


So, there you have it. No more generic resumes – tailor yours to the job, highlight your achievements, and target the right skills and watch those interview offers roll in. It’s time to create a resume that shouts, “Pick me!” 😏

77 thoughts on “Using a Generic Resume? Why You Should Stop & What You Should be Doing Instead”

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