Resume Rejected? Reasons Your Resume Might Not Be Working for You

CN_Marc_v1_eYou’ve sent out dozens of resumes with no success. Not even a polite response letting you know that you’ve been rejected – or why you’ve been rejected. Meanwhile neither you nor your resume is working.

But there are some good reasons why resumes don’t get selected that have nothing to do with whether or not you can do the job. And that’s something you can and should fix NOW.

Reasons resumes get rejected

  • They look terrible – You’d think by now that job seekers would get that the way a resume looks can make all the difference to their chances of getting that all-important first interview. Yet we still see resumes that look sloppy. Or use too many fonts and colors and bold all over the place. Your resume represents you and signals how much care you take when you work for someone. Why would you submit anything that looks less than neat, easy to read and professional?
  • You don’t help the employer see the match – When someone is reviewing resumes (sometimes hundreds), they don’t have the time to look at each one carefully, and think about the nice person behind all that confusing talk about unrelated things, even very cool unrelated things. You need to make it easy for them to connect the dots by targeting your resume to the job description. And you need to do this for EACH job you apply for.
  • You use jargon or unclear language – No one enjoys working with someone who is hard to understand. You know … people who say things and use trade lingo that they think sounds very knowledgeable, yet they haven’t bothered to make sure the people around them actually understand what they’re talking about. Communication is about making sure that you’re understood. And your resume is an important form of communication!
  • You forget to clean house – Resumes aren’t a confessional. You don’t need to tell every single thing you’ve ever done on every job. And you certainly don’t want to include things that you never want to do again, unless you have to. But you do want to zero in on those skills and experiences that most directly relate to the job you want now.
  • You leave gaps or questionable periods – A resume screener takes about 8 seconds on average to decide if your resume is worth further consideration. So you want to do your best to make sure you have something solid (or as solid as possible) for each time period. Things like volunteer work, special projects, consulting, return to school, etc. are far better than empty time periods.
  • They have typos and grammatical errors – Once again, this is all the employer has to judge you. If you can’t take the time to make sure your spelling and grammar is correct for something this important, what will you be like as an employee? Use your automated spelling & grammar check, and also ask friends to proofread.

What gets employers to notice your resume

Spend some time online looking at sample resumes. I recommend checking out more than one site, to get a good feel for what a professional resume looks like, and to find one that feels right to you. Time invested upfront can make all the difference to your job hunt!

Consider using a section at the top that summarizes highlights from your own work history that match well to the new job. You want to make it easy for the employer to see how good a fit you are for their job opening.

Remember to use key words and phrases (you’ll find some good ones in the job description) in case there is an automated screening system. And, where it is applicable and true, also look to reflect some of the exact terms they used in the description, to make it even easier.

How to write a resume that gets interviews

You can find more important tips here:

Tips for Resumes & Cover Letters w/ Examples


Final Note

If your resume has been getting rejected again and again, PLEASE take the time to read at least a few of the articles. You’ll be surprised what a few simple changes to a resume (and cover letter) can do for you!