Here’s Why Your Resume Isn’t Getting Read

The short answer: Your resume isn’t read if it doesn’t have what the employer is looking for.

Now for the longer, more actionable answer…

According to The Ladders, “Hiring authorities are trained to match your background with their open position.”

That means they are looking quickly to see if what’s on your resume matches up to their needs. That means they are looking for signs that you speak the language they do. Today, too many resumes are focused on reciting all the great things you’ve done, and not enough on telling how all those great things create value for the prospective employer.

Too many resumes are “lists of tasks” and not enough “statements of value.”

Your ultimate goal is to share your past experience in a way that appeals to the future employer. While accomplishing that goal, you’ll get away from task lists and more into speaking the language of the employer and how you can bring value.

Here are 5 ways to learn the language of your industry, get your resume read… and get the interview…

1. Review 30 or 40 Target Jobs

Using LinkedIn, job boards and employer websites as a resource, read the job descriptions and desired qualifications. Jot down the keywords you see repeatedly. Then search for other jobs using those same keywords. You’ll end up with a good list of words you can select from to strategically use on your resume.

In the examples below, you see numerous keywords relating to both the industry, as well as the qualities of the successful candidate:

Example 1:


Example 2:


2. Emulate Those Who Worked for Your Target Companies

In their LinkedIn profiles, what words are they using in their headlines or summaries?

To do that, use the “people” drop down on the LinkedIn nav bar, and enter the industry or company that you are searching.


3. Investigate Associations, Organizations, or Networking Groups Related to Your Desired Field

Take a look at industry associations, professional organizations and networking groups related to your chosen career path. Notice what you hear people talking about, and the specific terms used in those conversations.

4. Review Publications from These Organizations

Check apps, online and hard-copy publications. What terms are used consistently throughout?

Often you’ll see articles by thought leaders and innovators that will provide some insight. Follow the links, research the authors… and learn from how they speak the language.

5. Participate in Free or Low Cost Webinars for Your Target Industry

Chances are very good that there are online webinars available for your target industry. Google search will give you a sense of what’s out there. By participating in these you’ll quickly be able to notice the language of the industry.

Bonus points: You’ll sound uber-smart in networking and interview conversations.

Use these 5 strategies to find keywords and to understand the industry language that must be integrated into your resume, cover letters, and interview conversations.

Speak the language… and get your resume read!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!



Lea McLeodAbout the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. Follow her on Twitter and her blog:



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