Recruiters spend countless hours reviewing resumes and screening candidates. In fact, they spend so much time scanning resumes, they can often do it in one minute or less.
As disappointing as that may be given all the hard work you put into your resume, it’s the unfortunate reality…and with such a small amount of time to make an impression, it’s no wonder they occasionally get it wrong. You may have been the perfect person for the position, but because you failed to successfully package yourself, your resume and your chances end up meeting their demise with the click of a mouse. Read on to learn the top four reasons your resume may end up in recycle bin or folder.
1. The length: Have you ever read a magazine article, short story, blog, etc. and remember thinking “Get to the point already?” Well, recruiters have this same thought when they read over a three-page resume. Nine times out of 10 they will probably just move it to the rejection stack.
Your resume is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every job you’ve ever held, every award you have ever received, and every training program, club, or activity you have ever attended. To make the best impression and have the best chance of making the cut, highlight those things on your resume most important to the position at hand.
Don’t be afraid to use different resumes for different positions. Taking a few extra minutes on your end to tailor your resume could mean the difference between the hiring manager or the trash being the next recipient of your application.
2. No cover letter: If you are over or under qualified for a position, have a varied work history, or have skills that aren’t highlighted on your resume, a cover letter is essential. While you may know your full life story, a recruiter does not.
What may appear as a lack of commitment from having a multitude of experience may be explainable through justification, such as a trailing spouse or time off to care for your family.
Your one size fits all resume may not explain why you are interested in and qualified for a position that isn’t an exact title match to your prior roles.
In addition, you may be seeking to return to a staff role from a management role due to personal reasons. It is important to professionally highlight this in your cover letter vs. leaving it to the recruiter’s imagination that you can’t handle the role, are facing termination, or are desperate.
3. Grammar and spelling: We’ve all been there at one point or another. We have reviewed a piece of writing, a proposal, or, worse yet, our resume a million times and think we have it perfect. For whatever reason, our eyes and spellchecker let us down and we miss the spelling blunder. The recruiter, however, does not. Your perceived lack of attention to detail is an instant eye catcher to the recruiter — do not pass go; do not collect $200.
4. Achievements vs. job description: One of the biggest and most frequent reasons people fail to be noticed by their resume is job details vs. results orientation. No matter how many big words you use to describe your job duties, if you fail to identify your contributions to past organizations, you may be passed over.
Companies want to know they are getting value for their buck in today’s market. It isn’t enough just to be qualified for a position. They are looking for employees that can hit the ground running and make contributions fast. By highlighting how you have added to the success of your past employer, you are likely to catch the recruiter’s eye and make it to the top of the pile.
What are some resume blunders you have made?
Ryan Mack is a partner at TruYuu, an online service that helps people present themselves as more than just a resume to employers. You can connect with Ryan and the TruYuu team on Facebook and Twitter.