Dear Sam: I feel like I send my resume into a black hole when applying online. I submit and rarely hear anything. I’m beginning to wonder if my resume even arrives! When I hear back, I get an email saying thanks but no thanks. What am I doing wrong? –

Dear Olivia: Let me paint a picture of your existing resume for readers: Your resume opens with an objective statement followed by an education section, two pages of experience listing positions back to 1994, and lastly, computer skills and affiliations sections.

The good news is that you have much room for improvement, so your job search could potentially yield great results once you revamp your resume. Let’s review each section to see what areas need to be addressed.

Objective: Remove your objective statement and present a summary of your qualifications. Based on your two fields of interest, I recommend two different versions of this summary, one for HR and the other for accounting. Trying to accomplish both objectives in one resume will only diminish its strength and the effectiveness of your search. Remember, the top third of page one is the most valuable real estate on your resume; hence, make the most of this space by telling the reader what you offer as a candidate through a qualifications summary.

Education: Given you graduated from college in 2007, this section should be relocated to the end of your resume. Only recent graduates, or candidates whose degree is a crucial qualifier, should present their education section up front. Also, remove your high school information, as it is assumed you graduated from high school if you attended college.

Experience: This section needs to be more robust and tailored to the field of interest. You seem to have performed accounting and HR functions in your most recent position. When revamping your resume, prioritize this information based on which resume you are writing: accounting or human resources. This section of your resume also heavily focuses on your daily responsibilities; instead, you should focus on your achievements. This information is vital in positioning yourself ahead of the competition. Accomplishments demonstrate that you have gone above and beyond and predict your ability to do the same in the future.

I recommend removing the first three positions you have listed, including the cashier, banquet server, and telemarketing positions (pre-2011), as these are unrelated to your current career targets. By doing this, you will have more room to focus on your recent and related experiences and will still present an ample 11 years of experience.
Lastly, in this section, remove your months of employment. Presenting the months and years of employment only shows employment gaps.

Computer Skills: I would recommend incorporating your technical skills into the qualifications summary, especially when developing your accounting resume, as it will be important to note you have proficiency with accounting software.

Affiliations: I would recommend removing this section as the affiliations you are presenting stem from personal and not professional interests. When presenting affiliations, you must ensure they reinforce your professional image. So, if you are a member of any local or national accounting or human resources organizations, those would be wonderful to present.

After painting a more strategic image of your background, I am confident you will stop feeling like you are sending your resume into a black hole and begin generating some interest.