Let's face it; with over 250 resumes received for every corporate job opening there has never been a better time to learn how to write an effective resume. Neither has there been a better time to know how not to write a resume. Here are five reasons why resumes might end up in the trash, and five ways to keep them out!
1. They lack professionalism
Providing a resume is perhaps the greatest opportunity the applicant has to provide a positive impression to the prospective employer. If a quick scan shows spelling and punctuation mistakes, or grammatical errors, then it is likely to give off an impression of carelessness. Studies have shown, for example, that candidates may be disqualified up to 41% of the time for spelling mistakes.
Further considerations might be the use of a professional email address. An unprofessional, or immature, email address may get an application instantly disqualified up to 76% of the time.
In light of this, the candidate should aim to complete the resume with absolutely no mistakes or typos. A careful attention to detail, and a respect for professionalism, will give the employer the impression of a capable applicant.
2. Generic Resume
Sending generic applications is rarely going to land the applicant a job. When it is obvious that a candidate has sent out a mass of applications, without adapting it to the specific job, the employer will not consider it.
Such a resume will lack research of the company, will not address the requirements well, and will not be tailored towards the needs of the position. A very common first screening measure in many application processes involves the use of computerized systems, which scan for keywords. A generic resume is unlikely to contain enough of the appropriate keywords that the employer is looking for; in this case it may not even reach human eyes.
Customizing the resume, and tailoring it very well to the specific requirements of the job, will help it to pass any keyword phases, and will also give the employer reason to believe the candidates interest in the position.
3. Not Following Directions
It may seem obvious, but failure to follow directions is unlikely to give off a good first impression. If an employer asks specifically for a cover letter, and one isn't provided, they may automatically omit the application.
The potential employer may issue a variety of directions in a job posting; a history of the applicant’s work experience, their salary, or evidence of them working on a similar project.
If what an employer is asking for is not provided, or an applicant has simply failed to follow the directions given, either through laziness, or inattentiveness, then their application is likely to end up in one place; the trash!
Providing the employer with everything that is asked for, with a fine attention to detail, will suggest professional attributes; this will keep resumes out of the trash, and give a fighting chance for further consideration.
4. Candidates are not suitable for the job
Even if a candidate writes a professional, honest, customized resume that follows the directions of the job posting, it might be the case that they are simply not suitable for the job. The Wall Street Journal has reports that shows that up to 50% of applicants for a typical job fail to meet the basic requirements or qualifications.
It is important for a candidate to consider whether or not they are actually suited to the job, and it will be strikingly obvious to the employer if an applicant does not meet the standards of the qualifications and requirements.
In competitive times, job seekers should search for jobs which they are qualified for, or which they have the correct experience or qualities for, or should be willing to obtain the necessary qualifications and experience first.
5. Resumes Lie, or blurred details.
Sometimes, if candidates find themselves unsuitable for the job, and decide to apply anyway, they are prone to lying or blurring details on their resume. In a recent SHRM study, 64% of human resource professionals did not offer a job to a potential employee because they found discrepancy in the dates of previous employment in reference checks.
The temptation to lie or to cover up gaps in employment leaves the employer understandably uneasy about the candidate. This is also considered an offence that can warrant dismissal if the candidate is found later on, after a job has been given.
If a candidate has a gap on their resume, it is much more acceptable to explain the benefits of this gap, than it is to try to lie. Being honest, and providing accurate and fine detail of history, is a much more respectable approach.
There it is; five reasons why resumes might end up in the trash. And five ways to keep it out of the dumpster!
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