In theory, you’ve done everything right. You’ve applied across the board, you’ve been professional and enthusiastic, and you’re confident about how your experience matches up with the roles you’re interested in. Yet instead of having your choice of offers, you’re met with only crickets.
When you’re struggling to be interviewed, one potential stumbling block might be your resume. In some cases, changing your resume might be the key to unlocking your next career move. However, making unnecessary changes can be a waste of time and may even make your chances worse.
Keep reading for our favorite advice on knowing how to tell if your resume is showing off your best side.
Avoid basic mistakes
Your resume should, at a bare minimum, be:
- Completely up-to-date
- Free from spelling and grammar errors
- In the requested format
- Attached to a professional email
If you’ve been putting off updating it to reflect your latest achievements, or if you’ve been known to struggle with the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’, this is a good place to start.
Make calculated changes
The one way you should be editing your resume on a regular basis — every time, or nearly every time, you send it in — is by tailoring it for each job opening you apply to. These are rarely deep edits, but are instead tweaks meant to direct your audience’s attention to your most relevant skills.
The easiest of these changes is to reflect the wording used in the job posting. It shows you’re paying attention and ensures that you won’t be misunderstood.
Get a second opinion
A resume is a piece of business writing, and all writers need a good editor. Think about your brewing industry network: is there someone who might be willing to look over your resume? The ideal editor here is somebody with hiring experience, but don’t disregard the usefulness of advice from another job-hunter as well.
When asking for advice, remember to set aside your ego while still relying on your own judgement. It’s important not to take suggestions personally, but if something sounds wrong to you there’s no reason not to investigate further.
Stand out in the right way
The brewing industry is a creative place, but your resume is not the right arena for you to show off your artistic side. If you’ve previously tried to stand out using funky fonts or confusing designs, it’s time to strip your resume back to the essentials.
Find a basic resume template — classic and modern varieties both work, though stay away from excessively complex designs — and build from there. Ideal fonts include Times New Roman, Arial, and Open Sans, which are all easy-to-read and professional. In most cases, it’s best to stick with one font and to use sizing, bold, or italics to differentiate between sections.
Play it close to the chest
When taking a second look at your resume, it’s easy to start imagining what other people see in it, and tempting to write a few notes for clarification. After all, maybe the hiring manager thinks you’re flaky because you only stayed at your previous brewery for a year — wouldn’t it be better to explain why you left?
Resist this impulse. While showing your personality is a good thing, these kinds of justifications and explanations rarely reflect well on you. At best, they’ll come across as irrelevant. At worst, they’ll appear to be unprofessional excuses.
Design for your strengths
Not everyone has years of experience in the brewing industry when they start applying to jobs. If you’re applying for entry-level positions but still can’t get your foot in the door, it might be time to try switching up your resume style.
In some cases, particularly for people transitioning from other careers, a functional or skills-based resume might work in your favor. Instead of focusing on work history, these lead with a list of relevant skills (including details of how you have put them into practice), followed by a brief chronological work history. However, this format does make your introduction or cover letter that much more important, so focus on writing one which explains your previous history and your interest in moving into the brewing industry.
Update the substance, not just the style
If you’re job hunting without a current position, managing the application process (along with your stress!) can feel like a full-time job. However, there’s no reason to place yourself on the sidelines. Internships and volunteering may not offer much for your wallet, but they make for engaging additions to your resume.
If no opportunities are available in your area, consider taking an online course. These are often affordable, and they give you the chance to broaden your skillset both within and outside the usual boundaries of the brewing industry.