Why don't you get interviews?

Why don't you get interviews?

Written by Thanh Quach @thanhquach

February 14, 2022

(4 minutes read)

The truth about building your resume in 15 minutes

In today world, with a few keystrokes on Google, you can build a nice-looking resume within 15 minutes by using many resume-writing software. Don’t know how to write a work description on your part-time jobs? Just google it and tons of pre-written sentences and phrases are ready to be added to your resume. This approach has worked well for some job seekers, but not so well for others, especially those who just graduated and don’t have much work experience.

 

After building 15-minute resumes, a lot of fresh graduates are still struggling with the question: “Why am I applying a lot but having no interviews?”

As a recruiter and career coach helping hundreds of fresh graduates write their own resume and land interviews, I can see there are two reasons:

#1 - Lack of differentiation

When I was reviewing resume for my team at a bank, every resume looked alike and it was hard to find a resume that stood out. I was not surprised because we all probably went to the same source (the internet) to write our resume. 

You just need to type “how to build a resume” and Google will show you hundreds of resources. Obviously, we mainly use the resources (software/articles/guides) ranked on top of Google ranking to start building our resume. I mean, who is diligent enough to go to the 2nd page of search result? Because the majority just follow this process, we lack differentiation.

Don’t get me wrong, all free resources on Google are a very useful to build a resume such as instead of spending hours on Word to build a resume template, you should just download a nice template on the internet. 

Similarly, if you have no idea how and what to write about your part-time job experience, pre-written phrases that are ready to copy-paste are your best friend. However, this is the furthest that these resources can get you. If you stop right here with slight editing, your resume won’t stand out from the crowd. Why is that? That leads us to the 2nd reason.

#2 - Lack of personal achievements (results)

When looking for jobs, you always want to differentiate yourself from the pack.

But by following the 15-minute resume approach, you ironically end up being the same as everyone else. Thus, after building a 15-minute nice looking resume, the next step you need to do is taking time to understand your journey, pick out the best achievements and put them on your resume.

The biggest source of differentiation is your personal achievements which are derived from your part-time jobs and projects at school.

 Now, you might say “But I don’t have any achievements. I didn’t graduate first-class, I didn’t have an internship and I just worked part-time at a coffee shop.”

Let me clarify, when I say “achievement”, I don’t mean that you have to graduate top-class from Harvard or you have an internship with one of the biggest companies in the world or you are working on a school project that will save mankind – the kind of projects that Elon Musk is working on. If you have one of these, it will be nice. But the truth is 99% of us don’t and you don’t have to.

My definition of “achievement” is the proof that you did your best at a part-time job or at a project to generate results that benefit your employer and your customers.

How can you add achievements (results)?

Check out this 1-minute video in which I share with you a few examples of how you can add results onto your resume.

Example of adding results/achievements

Let’s say you work at a coffee shop. This is how you describe your work on the resume:

Crew Member   Tim Hortons | Toronto, ON 

  • Maintained café cleanliness at all times, including cleaning tables, maintaining condiment bar, and removing trash
  • Greeted customers with a warm smile and positive attitude
  • Made coffee to provide quality performance
  • Fulfilled orders and handle cash and credit transactions

 

It’s very likely that you won’t get an interview with this work description because:

  1. Recruiters have read this kind of work description hundreds of times from a lot of candidates who work in restaurants or coffee chain and customer service in general
  2. You simply list your tasks, not achievements (results).

 

Now, let’s look at a result-oriented work description that shows your achievement at the coffee shop:

Crew Member      Tim Hortons | Toronto, ON 

  • Advised customers on coffee selection and delivered great service experience to achieve customer satisfaction
  • Processed 100+ daily transactions and daily cash reconciliation to ensure accurate accounting record
  • Checked and monitored inventory level to ensure sufficient supplies that resulted in faster services

 

You might think that “Oh I have never thought of customer satisfaction, accounting record, faster services as achievements.” It’s understandable as you, just like other crew members, might not think beyond your daily tasks. But these are all the results you achieve daily without even realizing it, I just point them out for you.

Now, what if you want to describe a mobile app that you built in school? Let’s have a look:

Full Stack Developer

Farmer Fresh | Toronto, ON

  • Android app for ordering fresh farm products directly from farms through a mobile app
  • Group was consisted of 4 designers and 3 developers, and it took us 4 months to develop an MVP of our idea
  • Group meetings were held twice every week to discuss about improvements bug fixing and later tasks for each member in the group.
  • Technologies: React (Landing Page), Native Android (Java), Linode, Node.js (Express), MySQL

 

Similar to the previous example, you simply list your tasks without showing the results. The employer are very interested in the following questions that they can’t find on your work description:

  1. How many farmers (users) have used your app?
  2. What is the main benefit/advantage of this app?
  3. How does it help farmers earn more money or save time?
  4. What is the problem you are trying to solve?

 

Your answers to these questions are your achievements in this project.   

Key Takeaways

A great resume that generates interviews must be unique enough to tell employers about your journey and achievements. It takes time to explore and understand your part-time jobs, school projects to answer the tough question: “What is my achievements?”. Until you know your achievements (results), it is extremely hard to stand out with the general 15-minute resume built by software.

Here is the key takeaway from this article:

  1. Using Google to get the basic elements of your resume – template, structure, pre-written phrases
  2. Taking time to think about the achievements/results that you did in the past
  3. Putting those results on your resume to get more interviews

Feeling stuck in identifying your achievements/results?

If you would like to save time in building a unique resume, you can schedule a 1:1 free consultation with us below.

 

You can job-search on your own, but you don't have to.

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