Recruiters are really busy people. They are filling multiple roles at any point in time and certainly don’t have the time to read your resume as carefully as you read it. In fact, when they go through a batch of resumes for a new role they are actively looking for simple mistakes that give them a reason to throw the resume out. This helps them cull the huge pile of resumes into a short list which they can then read more carefully. Round one is where most resumes get into trouble.
There are off course the very obvious resume red flags to watch out for:
- Silly email addresses only your friends find funny
- Poor spelling, grammar and/or punctuation
- Emailing your resume from your current job
But aside from these there are other simple resume mistakes that you may have overlooked. You need to look out for these as carefully as recruiters do to make sure you do not end up in the ‘NO’ pile in the first round.
Five Simple Reasons Recruiters Are Rejecting Your Resume:
1. Resume is not concise enough
There is a lot of debate about whether the functional resume is looked down upon by recruiters versus the chronological resume. When speaking to recruiters we have found that either one done properly is acceptable but they need to be sharp and concise. Recruiters will take a 30 second glance at your resume and if it has lots of paragraphs of descriptive copy, they dump it into the no pile. Firstly it’s too long and boring for them to read and automatically shows you can’t get to the point. Instead make sure you:
- List measurable results, not a series of tasks or responsibilities.
- Use bullet point with short copy not paragraphs of long winded information
2. Unexplained gaps in your resume
Unexplained gaps in your resume always make recruiters suspicious. They are a huge warning sign that you are trying to hide something. These can be buried in a functional resume or if you chose to go with a chronological resume just make sure you very briefly explain any odd gaps.
- If you were on holidays, briefly mention it
- If you were looking for work, try an fill the gap with some volunteer work if possible or just state job search
- Use the cover letter to address any problem areas
3. Missed some application requirements
You need to read the job application carefully and make sure you have included everything they asked for in your submission. It is rare but some recruiters ask for a salary history as part of the application. As a general rule, we always advise that you avoid the salary issue until much later in the employment process but if they have specifically asked for it with the application and you do not include it you can bet you are out. It shows a failure to follow direction and a lack of attention to detail. Things they may ask for that you might miss or just not include are:
- Salary history
- Reference list
- Examples of work
4. Not optimized for keywords
Lots of large companies use resume screening software to go through the first round of resume review. This is so important I wrote a post about it which you can read here – how to get your resume selected by resume screening software. You need to be careful about the fonts you use, the key words you include , use of images and much more. In regards to keywords:
- Use job description keywords and acronyms since you don’t know which one the software prefers
- Use the keywords in relation to your skills and experience
Nothing says watch out faster to recruiters than inconsistencies between your resume and social assets. It basically screams I am changing things to impress the recruiter, basically I’m lying. Most recruiters will not check your social profile until after the first interview but off course you can’t be sure. A quick google check of your LinkedIn page and any social assets not on private will give the recruiter a snapshot of whether you are worth the effort or not. Make sure:
- Your resume and LinkedIn profile reflect the same information. Inconsistencies make you look insincere.
- Your social assets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are cleaned up and recruiter friendly.
- You have double checked any personal branding assets like blogs, websites etc…and the information is consistent with your resume claims
These are 5 simple ways recruiters reduce the huge pile of resumes they receive down to a manageable few that are worth pursuing. Avoid making these mistakes and you will have a much better chance of getting that all important first interview where you can really show them all your skills.
- How to Clean Up Your Facebook Page
- 10 Things You Need to do to Land a Better Job
- 3 things Interviewers Check on Your Social Profile