waste basket

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