why is resume writing is so difficult


It should be straightforward, right? I mean, you know where you have worked, when you worked there, and what you were responsible for in each role.

Summarising your work experience, skills, achievements, and education in a concise manner to write a professional resume should be a snack. Who knows you better than yourself?

You also probably know that you need to tailor your resume so that it’s aligned with the requirements of the roles for which you apply. That might take a bit of time, but you know it’s worth it, right?

And you know that it’s not just about listing your duties: you have to highlight your accomplishments and how you added value to the organisation in each role. That should be easy, yes? I mean, you did it.

And, of course, your resume must be well-organized, visually appealing, and easy to read. There are plenty of free templates all over the Internet to choose from.

You will also be aware that your resume should not contain spelling or grammatical mistakes. That’s easy. Word and Grammarly will help you and you know that you should give it a thorough once over before sending it.

And, because hundreds of applicants will be applying for a single job, it’s obvious that you have to stand out from the pack.

Understanding the Primary Challenges of Resume Writing

Given that there’s loads of free information about writing a professional resume, why isn’t writing a resume easy and why do so many people find it challenging? Here are some of the main challenges job seekers face.

Knowing what to include & what to exclude

Do you know what will be important to the readers of your resume: recruitment consultants and hiring managers? If you guess, you might guess incorrectly and fail to provide them what they really want while including things they don’t care about.

Most people include a list of duties, responsibilities and skills when writing a resume. This can take up valuable real estate that should be focused on your achievements and contributions. People recruiting to roles already have a pretty good understanding of what the responsibilities of those roles are. Why? Because there’s not a huge difference between organisations.

For example, a financial controller in one company will be doing pretty much the same things as a financial controller in a different organization. The context will be different. The challenges will be different and the achievements will be different, but the responsibilities will be very similar.

The need to customize

It’s vital to tailor your resume so that it’s aligned with the requirements of each position. Doing so enables recruiters and hiring managers to connect your skills, expertise and experience to the role. This requires time, effort and the willingness to do some homework. And, if you are applying for dozens of roles, can be taxing. Therefore, knowing exactly what you need to customise and tailor is essential if you want to remain sane during the job search process.

Selecting the ‘best’ design and format

There’s a bewildering array of resume formats and designs that you can download or copy so that your resume looks polished and professional. But which do you choose? Which is going to be effective? What are the criteria should you apply when deciding the format and design to use? Do different industries or sectors prefer different designs and layouts?

Grabbing their attention within seconds

Recruiters and hiring managers will first scan your resume for perhaps 10 seconds and then decide whether they will read it fully. This means that they need to understand your value proposition from the outset. They want to know what they will be getting if they were to hire you.

This is the most difficult part of writing a resume: communicating how you will add value to the organization. Many people don’t devote enough time or thought to this. The result is often a string of vague, generic, largely meaningless and hackneyed buzz words which every recruiter has seen hundreds of times.

Knowing how much detail to provide

You have to give the readers of your resume enough information to highlight your accomplishments, contributions and experience while making sure that your resume is concise and easy to read. Most people find it hard to achieve the right balance.

Communicating your achievements when writing your resume

Many people find it hard to communicate the significance and impact of what they have done. Doing so requires time, effort and thought. Many people simply list their achievements without considering the value and benefits of what they did. It’s challenging to dig beneath the obvious to reveal what’s actually significant.

What to write in a resume to be ATS ‘friendly’

Most recruitment firms and many larger employers use application tracking software that parse resumes for keywords and key phrases relevant to the requirements of the role. Sometimes highly capable candidates are rejected before a human being sees their resume. Many job seekers are unaware of this. Those who are aware, find it difficult to know how to make sure that their resume will be ‘accepted’ by the AT software.

Explaining career gaps

If you have significant career gaps or if you have frequently changed jobs and employers, addressing them in your resume can be difficult. Recruiters and hiring managers make assumptions about gaps or frequent moves which might or might not be correct. There’s an art to explaining these issues professionally and in an acceptable way.

Difficulties with language

If you are writing for an English speaking audience and English is not your first language, this can place an extra burden on you. While almost all people from non-English speaking backgrounds communicate extremely well when speaking with others, writing the way resumes need to be written is difficult for many people. By the way, this challenge also applies to many native English speakers! “Resume” English is almost a dialect of its own!

Being emotionally invested

Because writing your resume reflects you as a person, being emotionally connected to your resume can make it difficult to objectively assess your experience and edit the content of your resume.

As well as advanced and specific writing skills, producing an effective resume requires the ability to self-reflect, the discipline to be concise and precise. As well as a comprehensive understanding of the needs and expectations of the readers, making it challenging for many people.

If you want to ensure that your resume will be one of the chosen few from amongst the many, Advance Yourself Career Services can help you achieve your career goals through our professional resume writing services.