Your Resume is Not Getting You the Job and Why

The other day, I sat down with my friend James and gave his resume a massive overhaul. He got his Master's last May, went to career services on campus to get assistance in writing one and they gave him one they said was solid. Meanwhile, I explained that if you're not getting calls in ten months, that resume is NOT solid.

I hired people for retail for years, plus I have helped a lot of people with their resumes. It's just one of those things I do well, so it was important to me to help James with his. Over the years, I've given a lot of people the same information: your resume is a SALES tool! You need to make the person looking it over think 'hey, this James person has done some interesting things and his portfolio looks fantastic. I want to meet him." It's not going to happen with a resume that looks something like this:

James G
address, Tampa FL
email address


Master of Arts, Instructional Technology
USF, Tampa FL
May, 2010

Bachelor of Arts
USF, Tampa
May, 2008 Experience

Job A
Tampa FL

video production

Job B
Tampa FL
sound engineer
production staff
video staff

Yes, the people who are PAID to help students prepare resumes gave him something approximating the above. I switched a little information, but each item listed was not descriptive in any way. James and I had a good conversation about what employers look for, what will draw them in, and why this doesn't work: he invested seven years of his life into higher education that should warrant at least a full page of information! The sad thing is that James is not the only person starting out after graduation with a lackluster resume, wondering why no one is calling them for an interview.

What this resume tells me is that the person who is sending it in will just do the bare minimum to get the job. This is the resume of someone who just went to classes and went back to their dorm room, or booked it off campus so fast it'd make your head spin. This is someone who couldn't wait to finish that degree, because school wasn't exciting.

Is your resume like this?

I'll tell you, James now has a resume that gives you an idea of just how involved he was. This is a guy who, if I'm hanging out with him on campus, knows EVERYBODY! The things I asked him, and encourage any new graduate to consider putting into their resume:

  • What courses did you take? What special software did you use? You might have a specific skill that is in demand.
  • Did you make Deans List or graduate with a GPA of 3.5 or above? Share it-it shows you put a lot of effort into academics.
  • Were you involved in any campus organizations? Doesn't matter if you held an office, it shows you are more likely to be a team player.
  • Did you participate in any community outreach or volunteer for anything? It shows compassion for others.
  • Did you win any awards?
  • Were you a residence hall advisor? It shows you can handle difficult situations and think on the spot to resolve conflicts.
  • Did you work while in school? It shows effective time management skills.
  • While not the case with James, I have seen some people spend far more time creating a profile on a dating site than they do on their resume. One might get you a couple of dates, if you're lucky. The other can give you the money to go on those dates. Which is more important?


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