They Don’t Like You and That is Okay

sticking tongue out

There are times that I talk to someone who is in the midst of job transition and they tell me, with a great deal of frustration, that they use their current resume to apply to everything and never hear back.

My initial response to that is “don’t do that.”

You see, when you apply to everything using one form, you match with nothing.  One size does not fit all.  It is important that you tweak your resume to match with what that employer wants.  Sometimes those tweaks are making sure you bring out more of one quality than another.

For example, if they want someone who has experience as a Zebra wrangler and a bit of Cobra coaching and your resume speaks equally to Zebra wrangling, Cobra coaching and Ant farming, well then a modification needs to take place.  Highlight more of the Zebra with second emphasis on Cobras.

But, they still might not call you.  Even if you match up on their ATS pretty well (the software that analyzes your resume against their opening), they still might not call you.

Why? They may not like you.

“Hey! That’s not fair, they don’t even know me, how can they not like me?!” you might say.

You are right, they do not know you because dollars to donuts you are not in your resume.  This is the voice part that is very important.

It is about fit.  It is about culture.  If you are doing any type of research on job transition you have surely run across articles that speak to the importance of company culture and finding individuals who fit in or can thrive within a company’s culture.

If you are a very outgoing person, full of energy, really bring the life to the relationships and help people and processes get better every day but your resume looks like it was shot down the side with a BB gun and would put you to sleep reading it  – then you are not in your resume.

If you are a behind the scenes kind of person who likes the analysis and roll up your sleeves kind of work to make a difference, putting a splashy resume full of high energy words is not you.  You are not in your resume.

When someone reads your resume – and yes, people do read them after the computer is done – they form an image of you based on the words you chose.  Much like forming a picture of a character of a book based on the words the author uses.  If that image matches with what they want, and what is in line with their company and culture, you will hear from them.

If not, then that phone just won’t ring.

What if you are in your resume, and you are matching the keywords and concepts for each job, and you are still not hearing back?  Well, sorry cupcake, they may not like you. And that is a good thing.

It is a fact that not everyone in the world is going to like you or me or anyone else for that matter.  You have heard the old phrase, ‘not everyone’s cup of tea’?  I was once told “sweetie, you are not a cup of tea, you are a shot of tequila”.  I am more than okay with that.

Not all clients are a great fit for me and I am not a great fit for all clients.  That is why I insist on a conversation before accepting any projects.  Rarely do I come across someone that it is not a good fit.  I put myself out there in my LinkedIn, website and articles who I am and I know that it resonates with the people I like to work with: amazing, fun, intelligent, compassionate professionals who blow me away with their talent, career and genuine personalities.

Back to you, in our prior two examples: the bubbly and the behind the scenes, if you are the bubbly and they want behind the scenes – or visa-versa – they probably won’t call.  That is a good thing.

Think about it, if you like doing your own thing – do you really want to work for a company who wants and expects you to be the bubbly?  No!  If you are bubbly are you really going to be happy relocated to a little cube somewhere in the back without any team interaction? No!

This is when it is time to look at what you are applying for and get a sense of them.  Just as they form an image or impression off of what you have presented, you need to do the same for the company and position.  Do your homework.  If it feels like a drag then do not apply.  Why set yourself up for rejection of something you really did not want in the first place?  Talk about adding salt to the wound!

Some job descriptions are horrendously written.  I mean, c’mon, could you be any more vague?  That is when you need to do some research on the company – if it is listed.  Dig deep, look at other similar openings (if the position is new to you) and get a sense of the job.

Here are three steps to help you hear from the right ones:

  1. Get a feel for the job and company. Really feel it out. Do not check off all the skills that meet what they list – read it.  Listen to it and listen to your gut.  Does it sound like a fit for you beyond the skill set?
  2. Now go back and highlight the keywords and phrases. Match those in your resume and cover letter.
  3. Read your resume again and make sure you are in there. Describe what you did by how you did it and start using words that really resonate with you.  Bubbly might use revitalized, revamped, revolutionized (quite the busy little bee, weren’t they?) and do your own thing might use words like structured, architected, executed.


Stop applying for things you do not want.  You are wasting your time and setting yourself up for rejection or worse, getting the job and hating it.  Be you. Do you. Bring it in your resume and allow that right company to see you and come get you!



A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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