6 Reasons your Resume is Hitting the Trash

You’ve sent in hundreds of applications, but keep getting rejection emails or no response at all. You just need to get to the interview stage, but your resume is holding you back. Time to take a look at 6 common reasons resumes are quickly rejected:

1. Spelling or grammar mistakes

This is red flag #1, any spelling errors or poor grammar (for jobs which require good communication skills, or attention to detail) will get you a quick rejection. Hiring managers looking for a quick way to reduce the number of applications they need to consider will use a spelling mistake as a reason to reject someone.

The fix:
You need to show attention to detail for pretty much every job out there, so there’s no excuse for mistakes on something as important as your resume. Look over it carefully yourself, read it backwards, and give it to a friend to proofread.

2. Not addressing the requirements

Every job posting has a list of specific requirements they want their ideal candidate to have. If you have those requirements you need to say so on your cover letter and resume! Don’t ask hiring managers to read between the lines, state explicitly the qualifications you have that match the job description.

The fix:
Edit your resume for each job you apply to. It might take longer, but the effort will be worth it when you get the call to interview. Use the keywords found in the job description and repeat those in your resume. For example, if an employer is looking for someone with ‘

3. Job hopping

If you have several short term jobs (less than a year) in a row, employers are going to question your commitment before they will give you a chance. What’s to say you won’t leave their company after a couple months too?

The fix:
If there’s a good reason for ending your job, write an explanation. Perhaps it was a contract position, the company was bought out, or something else out of your control.  If you genuinely were job hopping, state in your cover letter or objective line that you are looking for a long term job. And then stick with your next job for at least 2-3 years.

More advice here on what to do if you look like a job hopper >>

4. Your resume is too long*

You have a 4 page resume with detailed information on each of your past jobs. You use paragraphs, narrow margins and have decreased your font size to fit it all in. Sorry – but hiring managers don’t  have the time to read through your entire resume. Rather than trying to sift out the information that might be relevant to them, they are going to reject your application.

The fix:
Only include recent jobs and the accomplishments that directly relate to the position you are applying for. Use point form, or short sentences. Always keep the font size between 10-12pt, and default margins. Aim to reduce your resume to 2 pages.

*Some professions do require a long and detailed resume or cv, but this is not the norm. Research what is typical for your industry.

5. Cliches & unnecessary words

You ‘think outside the box’, you are a ‘team player’, a ‘thought leader’, and a ‘problem solver’. Terms like these are so over used that employers have started to skim over them and not take them seriously. Similar errors include meaningless objective lines, and the space filling ‘Resumes available upon request.’

The fix:
Stop using these meaningless keywords, and write about your accomplishments instead: prove your ‘problem solving’ with examples. Leave out your objective line unless it is powerful and unique.

6. Not following the application instructions

Job descriptions often provide specific instructions, and hiring managers often find that their instructions provide a simple screening tool: reject everyone who can’t follow simple directions. Do not ignore or think you are above following the directions given in the job posting.

The fix:
Take the time to read the job description carefully and not assume all are the same requirements. Watch out for these requests:
– a cover letter
– examples of experience with X
– list specific software, tools or equipment you’ve used
– provide specific information in your cover letter

4 Skills Needed for Any Job +How to Improve Them

Often what sets one candidate above another for a job are their ‘soft skills’. These skills aren’t specific to any job or industry, and will make you more successful on whatever your chosen career path is.

Some people are naturally great with these work skills, but anyone can learn and improve their soft skills.

Verbal Communication

In work and in life, I’ve found that most mistakes and arguments are caused by simple misunderstanding and miscommunication. Being able to convey a concept clearly to another person determines how they respond, eliminates confusion, and keeps a project running smoothly.

How to improve? Listen. Always give 100% of your attention to the person you are talking or listening to. Ask questions to clarify anything that seems unclear, no matter how silly it seems. A lot of verbal communication is about empathy: understand that the person you are explaining something to can’t read your mind, consider things from their point of view, not just your own.


Demonstrating confidence in yourself will encourage others to trust your abilities, and listen to your ideas. Self confidence is an essential interview skill for landing a job, as well as being considered for promotions.

wonder-womanHow to improve? Confidence comes with experience and skill level. If you don’t have the experience, work at your job-related skills to build self-confidence.

Fake it ’til you make it. Pretend to be confident, even when you aren’t and it will start to feel more natural. Also try a ‘power pose’ before a meeting or interview: stand tall and stretch out your arms like you want to hug someone. This expansive posture increases testosterone, which increases confidence.

Time Management

Meeting deadlines, juggling multiple tasks and keeping everything straight without becoming overwhelmed is all about time management. Staying on top of your tasks is key to being a valuable employee.

How to improve? There are more or less a gazillion tips and tricks to improve your time management skills. Everyone is different, so try out several ideas and find what works for you: make lists, use sticky notes, Trello boards or calendars, try the Pomodoro technique, meditate, stop checking emails or block distracting websites.


Working well with others is important in just about every profession. Whether collaborating with peers, or having a functional relationship with your manager, teamwork skills will make your job easier, and make you a liked and respected colleague.

How to improve? How do you become a team player if it isn’t natural for you? This is probably the toughest area on our skills list to teach yourself. In the end, it comes down to being an empathetic human being. Identify your faults (are you prone to anger, laziness, impatience?) and work on those. Often, it’s all about pulling your own weight!

4 ways to Buck the Conventional Job Description

Is it starting to seem like all your job descriptions are the same? A description of your organization, the typical duties of the position, a list of qualifications followed by some mandatory requirements. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because most job descriptions follow the same old script. Yes, traditional job descriptions are boring… so how do you make your company stand out?

Be completely honest, good & bad

A new hire will learn soon enough about all the gritty details of a job at your company, so why not be up front from the start? A detail that seems to detract from a glowing dream job description might turn some people off, but this is a good thing. The people that can’t or don’t want to handle the negative side of a job aren’t going to last long in the position anyway, and those that decide to apply for the job despite a negative point in the description will be more likely to stay for the long term. Continue reading 4 ways to Buck the Conventional Job Description

iOS vs Android on Mobile Recruiting

The numbers are very clear: candidates are far more likely to complete a job application on their desktop, instead of their mobile device. Applying to jobs is simply not as good an experience on mobile as it is with a full screen and keyboard.

While that information may come as no surprise, new research shows that there is a huge difference in the click-to-apply rates for the different types of mobile devices. A study from Appcast has found that candidates using Android devices are 2.25 times more likely to complete a job application as their peers using an iOS device.

Why are Android users more likely to complete their job applications?

Continue reading iOS vs Android on Mobile Recruiting

The Flexible Workplace [Infographic]

Flexible work leads to higher productivity, lower stress and an expanded talent pool among other benefits.  It’s no wonder that more companies are embracing  flexibility and changing the definition of today’s workplace.

Have a look at this infographic from TechnologyAdvice for insight into what types of flexible work exist, why people want greater flexibility and why 9-5 will be a thing of the past.