A great resume can further your career. The stronger it is, the more interviews you’ll land. An excellent resume can even get you headhunted!
However, no matter how good your resume is, it can’t do all of the heavy lifting in the job search process. While it can make a fantastic first impression and provide employers with a detailed account of your career history, here are four things your resume can’t do:
1. It Can’t Showcase Your Level of Motivation
While many people write “highly motivated” on their resumes, it is much harder for your resume to prove that is true. Furthermore, because so many people include this generic statement on their resumes, many recruiters dismiss it altogether.
When it comes to proving your motivation, actions speak louder than words. Instead of saying that you are motivated, show it. Start by writing a strong, tailored cover letter — personally addressed to the hiring manager — to show off your commitment to the role. After submitting your application, call, email, or send a LinkedIn message to the recruiter to follow up. This simple act will show the employer you are highly interested in the role and keen to join the company.
2. It Can’t Fully Convey Your Personality
More and more businesses are hiring people based on personality and culture fit rather than technical skill sets. While a resume can explain your career history, goals, and past experience, it is not an ideal medium for getting your personality across while remaining professional.
The best way to show recruiters and hiring managers your personality is to speak to them. Push for a call or face-to-face meeting with the recruiter and/or hiring manager. This will give you an opportunity to convey your personality and passion through your tone of voice, body language, and verbal communication. As recruiters and hiring managers get to know you, they’ll get a better feel for the kind of person you are and what you can bring to the team.
3. It Can’t Explain What You Want From a New Role
Everyone has their own reasons for applying for a position. However, your resume is not the place to explain what you want for the future. Instead, your resume should focus on what you can bring to the organization and what you have done for previous organizations.
Still, the hiring manager will want to know why you want to work for their company. Your cover letter is the place to share those reasons. Similarly, you can join networking groups related to the organization and its industry, which will show recruiters you are genuinely interested in the role as a vital piece of your career.
4. It Can’t Explain Why You’re Leaving Your Current Role
On your resume, you only have a limited amount of space to sell yourself. You don’t want to use any of that space to detail why you can’t wait to get away from your current position.
Once again, this is a scenario in which your cover letter is the better bet. Here, you have room to explain why you are leaving your current role. Remember: Your reasons should be positive ones. Rather than complaining about your current employer, focus on seeking new challenges and outgrowing your position.
It can also help to pick up the phone and talk to the recruiter or hiring manager. That way, you can demonstrate your passion for the new role while explaining why it represents a positive progression from your existing position.
Andrew Fennell is a former recruiter and founder of StandOut CV.
Andrew Fennell is founder of the UK-based CV writing advice website StandOut CV. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes career advice content to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian, and Fast Company.