Job hunting can be one of the most stressful, time-consuming processes you'll ever embark on. But while it's one thing to keep landing interviews that don't pan out, it's another to not get those interviews to begin with. If you're struggling to even make it to that point, then the reason could boil down to some fatal flaws on your resume. Here are a few changes you might therefore need to implement immediately.

1. Get rid of spelling and grammatical errors

Nothing screams "unprofessional" like a resume loaded with mistakes -- even the not-so-obvious kind. If you're convinced you have a strong resume yet no one is biting, review that document thoroughly and see if pesky errors are to blame.

Remember, running your resume through a spell-check program isn't enough to ensure that it's error-free. If you type in the wrong word, but it's a correctly spelled word nonetheless, your spell-checker won't flag it as wrong, but you'll still come off looking sloppy.

Person reading a resume at a laptop


If you really want a better shot at catching errors, enlist the help of a friend or family member to do some editing on your behalf. It's always easier for someone else to spot mistakes on your work than for you to do so yourself, since your brain is trained to read what you meant to write. An outsider, on the other hand, is more likely to spot those hard-to-find mistakes that could cost you.

2. Load up on action verbs

Nobody wants to read a boring resume, but if that's how yours comes off, your chances of getting called in for interviews are bound to get slimmer. That's why it's crucial to focus on action items wherever possible. If you're a project manager, include verbiage like "implement companywide sales overhauls" rather than "responsible for companywide sales overhauls." Words like "oversee," "manage," "lead," and "create" are also your friends, so use them to paint an exciting picture about the work you actually do.

3. Lose the fluff

It's natural to want to come off as well-rounded on your resume, but if that document contains too many irrelevant sections, you're going to alienate your audience. That's why it pays to remove the fluff that's taking up precious real estate on your resume, and use that space to highlight your most compelling qualities instead.

This could mean killing the section that lists your hobbies (even if you're a crocheting/bowling/fantasy football champ), and deleting any mention of skills that are so basic it's almost insulting to list them (think word processing and the like). Don't forget that it's 2018 -- everyone expects you to know how to use the internet, so stop talking about your search prowess and focus on the things you spend your days doing.

4. Go from chronological to functional

Most people produce resumes that are chronological in nature. A chronological resume is one that lists your experience in order, thus serving as a comprehensive history of your career to date. But if you're aiming for a role that's different from your current one, or are looking to switch industries altogether, then you may be better off with a functional resume instead.

A functional resume is one that highlights the skills and experience that are relevant to the sort of job you want. A functional resume doesn't have to touch on every aspect of your career, and is therefore designed to help you focus on the factors that deem you a strong candidate for the role you're after.

For example, say you graduated college 10 years ago with an accounting degree, spent three crunching numbers as a CPA, and then switched over to graphic design, which you've been doing ever since. While it's certainly OK to mention your accounting background in passing, if your goal is to land a job in your most recent field, then there's no need to have a quarter-page section listing the various tasks you performed in your former industry. Rather, you're better off focusing on the design programs you've mastered or gotten certified in.

If you're having a hard time getting interviews, it could very well be that your resume is to blame. Try these changes, and with any luck, you'll soon start to make some key progress in your job search.