When there is a job opening employers usually get hundreds if not thousands of resumes. Most have their own special techniques of sorting through them but there is always a “keep” pile and a “throw away” pile. To have any hopes of getting the job your resume must end up in the “Keep” pile.
We’ve asked a number of experts in recruiting and career management: How do you sort through resumes? What makes you keep a resume vs. throwing it away? They gave us their most important decision factors that they use to screen and eliminate resumes that don’t meet their criteria. Only once those resumes are gone they would look at cover letters or read resumes more closely. The following is the list of things (ranked in an order of importance) that are pretty much guaranteed to have your resume tossed out:
Misspellings: If there is a misspelling or a grammatical error, most recruiters will toss your resume out immediately. Yes, it is that important! Over 70% of employers we questioned admit that they will not even look further. One staffing manager gave this example: “…when someone says they are certified in 'HIPPA' training, I really have to question that because it is spelled 'HIPAA'. Are you really trained in it if you can't spell it?”
Job Instability: Employers will look for your job experience and how long have you stayed for in each job and they don’t like “job hoppers” – employees who can’t stay in one place for long. As one employer put it: “Nothing worse than a person who has no stability.”
Mismatching Objective and Job Experience: Take time to study and understand the job requirements. Does your objective and work experience match to the job that you are applying for? Employers also look out for your Education level, Domain of expertise, Experience, and Industry to make sure they all match with the requirements.
Lack of Clarity: Unless the resume clearly states what the employer is looking for, it is out. Employers want accuracy, clarity and brevity in resumes. As one recruiter acknowledged: “Nothing turns me off like as verbose resume that basically tells me a ton of nothing.”
Lack of Specifics: Be careful about taking credit and providing the specifics. When employers see words like "coordinated," "organized," or "managed," they want to hear the specifics or you will loose major points. It is best to show actual results of your work by using words like “achieved”, "landed," and "increased" while stating specific numbers, percentages, and results.
Lack of Career Progression: Most employers want to see some patterns of success and professional growth through promotions and increased responsibility. A Senior Executive Manager provided us with the following example: “For a sales position, how are important aspects of selling such as prospecting, follow up and client retention described in their resume. When looking at accounting candidates do they reflect accuracy, integrity and a lack of tolerance for errors or emissions?” Another recruiter acknowledged: “I want to see increased responsibilities every 12 - 18 months. There are very few positions where a stagnant career type will fit the bill.”
Too Long: Let’s face it – nobody wants to read a resume that is over 3-4 pages long.
We hope that these tips will help you write a perfect resume that lands on top of the “Keep” pile and don’t forget to post your resume online on Resumark.com, when you are done!
Special thanks to the LinkedIn community who shared their experience for this article!