How To Get Call Backs On Your Resume Submittals


It is 2:00 a.m. and Sue cannot sleep. Another week of her intense job search has once again yielded no responses to her resume. Tired, worried, and demoralized, her confidence is at an all-time low.

Most of us can relate to Sue’s angst. Many of us have experienced lost sleep during a job search. Hopefully, this article will assist you in getting call backs on your resume as well as a fitful night’s rest.

Get the Reader Salivating—Scrutinize and Customize

In my career, I have read thousands of resumes, so I’ve witnessed firsthand the glaring mistake on what I call the unappetizing resume. I was hungry to hire superstars, and like anyone else in hiring mode, I was deluged with resumes. When a hiring professional is recruiting for multiple vacancies and reviews hundreds of resumes, the motto is: 10 seconds-read on or toss. In those ten seconds, I was looking for those candidates who had scrutinized what I wrote in the job description and specifications, and in turn, had a resume that stood out to me the most. 

The best way to get responses is to take your generic resume and edit, reframe, or change the sequence of your entries to get that hungry reviewer interested. Yes, this is a pain and takes time. However, the game is won in the first few bites! I specifically wrote the job post to gain attention to the position and find the perfect candidate. I did not have the time, patience, and energy to do a deep dive into a resume that failed to quickly catch my attention.

Headlines of  Contributions and Achievements

When building my clients’ resumes and LinkedIn profiles, I interview them extensively so I can draft their headlines of contributions and achievements. The approach I use is akin to writing compelling headlines. I want the reader to quickly envision my client performing the job in question. As an HR executive, I knew that a majority of the resumes coming in would regrettably read like job descriptions and to-do lists; few had compelling headlines that suggested I was holding the paper of a potential candidate that would make a difference. 

Stating you were responsible for customer service, or that you prepared and managed a $2MM operating budget is interesting, but certainly not compelling. Instead, illustrate your achievements with descriptions such as: “Drove high levels of customer retention through quick problem analysis and making resolution effortless for customers.” Or, “ Delivered a 15% reduction in operating costs through discipled negotiations with vendors.” Headlines like these tell me that you have had success doing what all organizations seek—someone who could deliver results and impact the bottom line.

Less is Actually More

The ability to craft a concise and compelling cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile is the key to getting your phone ringing. When I was in the corporate rat race, I had Visine and Tylenol handy at all times. Reviewing resumes 8-9 hours a day, five days a week, would often leave me yearning for a root canal procedure. In our day-to-day experiences with information overload, we have little tolerance for written communication that fails to immediately grab our attention and curiosity. The ticket to opening doors—a concise resume that is presented with an engaging narrative. In addition, be super critical in reviewing and editing all job search documents, including thank you emails, telephone and in-person interviews. 

In closing, great writing is rare and when you push the right buttons, you get call backs.

Keep a positive attitude and the opportunities will be endless. I wish you great success in your job search efforts.