When a recruiter reviews your resume, they will not read every word – they will look for the 3 or 4 pieces of information that are important to them. They are not looking for a reason to keep your resume in the maybe pile. They are looking for reasons to toss your resume and your application in the discard pile.
Pay attention to these easy-to-fix issues and start the “set up an interview with this applicant” pile!
Not qualified for the position? Don’t apply!
- Don’t apply for positions for which you are obviously not qualified. Recruiters remember names and resumes and will discard you quickly once they identify you as unqualified. Even if you then apply for jobs you do qualify for, recruiters will not want to take a chance on you.
Formatting? Spelling? It all counts and it WILL be on the test!
- Formatting that is difficult to read will get you tossed before the recruiter bothers to read your name. Font type, size, and color all contribute to the overall look of the resume. Keep it simple and easy to read at a glance.
- Margins, spacing, and formatting also contribute to the professional look and feel that you want to achieve. White space is absolutely necessary, but not so much that you have a 5-page resume. Match the length of the resume to the level of position – entry-level position, one page resume. Recruiters will toss a too-long resume as a matter of course.
- Recruiters stop reading at the first spelling or grammar mistake. If you misspell a word or use a colon when you should have used a semi-colon that is the end of the line for your resume! Recruiters have lots of applicants to weed through; they aren’t going to give you the benefit of the doubt if you misspell a word that could have been easily corrected using spell check.
Content – Relevant and Professional? Keep it that way!
- Be sure that your content is relevant to the position; do not include basic information such as job duties or jobs that are not significant.
- Focus the resume content on what you actually achieved in terms of dollars, numbers, and percentages. Recruiters are trained to spot symbols such $ and %.
- Demonstrate career progression. You need to show that you have moved up, accepting responsibility within your jobs – even if those jobs are not directly related to your current career path.
- New graduates can demonstrate what they know using academic projects. Use other jobs or volunteer positions to show progression from entry-level to the next level of responsibility.