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Are You Stuck in Resume “Groundhog Day”?

Male reading resume

You know the movie: Bill Murray is forced to re-live the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over again until he gets it right. An extended job search can feel a lot like that. Are you sending the same resume over and over and over again without results?

Not hearing back from potential employers can drain your confidence and positivity, making you lose track of your unique qualities as an employee. Before sending your resume out again for the umpteenth time, take a step back: Rethink the story your resume tells about you.

We asked Aerotek recruiters to share their advice on how to rescue your resume from Groundhog Day.

Get a fresh set of eyes on it

Your resume should give an accurate sense of your qualifications and what kind of employee you’d be. But it can be hard to know if you’re getting the point across within the limitations of the resume format. So ask someone.

Aerotek recruiter Amy Hargrove suggests, “Find a friend that needs to update their resume, and offer to help each other.” Involving a trusted outside source who knows you is a great way to make sure you’re telling your story in a way that rings true.

Bringing a friend on board can have additional benefits. For example, rehashing your experiences loosely and conversationally can help you remember details you wouldn’t think of on your own. Plus, spending time with a friend who cares about you can relieve stress and boost your confidence as you continue your job search.

Don’t over-customize your resume

Isn’t it best to customize your resume for each and every job you apply for? Well, yes and no. It’s a balancing act.

According to Hargrove, “If you spend too much time trying to make your resume stand out, you could be missing the things that employers are actually looking for.” What are employers actually looking for? Hargrove explains, “The biggest thing you can do to stand out is add detail to your job duties for each position. Not too much detail though. Just sum it up with 3 to 4 bullet points of what you did on a daily basis.”

Aerotek recruiting manager Julie Lewis adds, “If a candidate has broad experience, they may want to create different (but accurate) resumes that focus more on the specific skills or experience necessary for different types of positions.” If your career path has been more of a squiggle than a straight line, try separate headings for “relevant experience” and “additional experience.”

You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your resume each time you send it out, but at least scan it to make sure it speaks to the expectations mentioned in the specific job listing. Using keywords wherever possible can make a big difference. Aerotek strategic delivery manager Kate Keller says, “Typically, I look at a candidate’s most recent position to see if the top three requirements of my job [opening] are included in the description.”

Be in a good mindset while you work on your resume

Writing and updating a resume isn’t most people’s idea of fun, but you can take steps to feel as relaxed, comfortable and confident as possible.

Hargrove recommends that you “play some music while you update your resume.” If you’re feeling discouraged, listen to music that gets you pumped up. If you’re feeling anxious, play music that soothes you. If you’re feeling distracted, try something that helps you focus. In general, don’t be afraid to experiment with how, when and where you work — whatever gets you in the ideal frame of mind can help.

Get professional help

You can also rely on professional contacts to take a look at your resume and point out any issues they see. Try the career services team at your alma mater, or connect with an Aerotek recruiter for resume advice. There are plenty of people out there who can help you break free from the resume Groundhog Day cycle.

Aerotek recruiters Amy Hargrove, Julie Lewis and Kate Keller contributed to this article.

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