For more recent advice from the Staffing Advisors team, read our 2023 post “Job Searching 101: Why Am I Not Being Selected.”

There is a good reason your resume is not helping you land interviews.

As a headhunter, an executive search consultant, my friends, their recently graduated children, friends of my friends, and total strangers are constantly asking my opinion about their resume. “Is there anything wrong with this format?” they ask. “I have great experience, but don’t seem to be getting any results when I apply for jobs online.”

People obsess over their format, font, list of accomplishments and other features of the inanimate object that is their resume. But they miss the broader context–what happens to all those resumes after you submit them.

If you are answering job ads, your resume is just one of hundreds of resumes that will be sent in response to a job advertisement. Who is your competition? What is the hiring manager looking for? Did anyone even read your resume? Not knowing can drive you mad.

Did you hear about the guy in Manhattan who ran his own fake Craigslist ad just so he could see who he was competing with? He received 653 responses in 24 hours, for a job that pays $13/hr in Manhattan. 

Your font will not help you overcome that level of competition. But if you knew who you were competing with, you would devise a better job search strategy. Like developing your skills, volunteering and networking to make connections, joining social media groups and starting conversations with new people. Start asking your contacts about what kinds of people you are competing with, and then set about making yourself more competitive, instead of sitting at home rewriting your resume.