The 3 Biggest Mistakes That Land Your Resumé in the Reject Pile (And How to Avoid Them)

  • Posted on: 17 March 2016
  • By: Denise

You may be making some common mistakes in your resumé and not even realize it. Once you correct them, you’ll get the employer attention that you’re looking for. Here are three of the biggest mistakes I see with my clients everyday and some tips on how to fix them.

# 1 Failing to Match Your Resumé Exactly or as Closely as Possible To The Job Ad

It is absolutely crucial, no exceptions, that you match your skills and experience exactly to the job ad or as closely as possible. When you fail to achieve this, your application will be rejected. End of story.

You may very well be the most qualified but if it is not clearly evident in your resumé, employers will never know it. They cannot read your mind or between the lines. They will not even try because they don't have the time or the desire.

Many job candidates make the fatal mistake of believing if they are qualified, they don't have to put much of an effort into writing their resumé. They don't work that hard to impress because any manager in their field would automatically know the skills they can bring to the job. They think - 'It will be obvious when they read my resumé. Because of my great qualifications, the employer will know I am the best person for the job.' Nothing could be further from the truth!

The harsh reality is – they don't know you in any way or even care to get to know you. They are actually looking for a reason to reject your application, not come up with ways to keep you in the running. If you do not catch their attention in the first 10-15 seconds, then you've wasted their valuable time and you will be eliminated from the process. Think of yourself as a product looking for a specific buyer. Your resumé must quickly show prospective buyers how you meet their needs. It's a buyer's market and in order to make yourself the most attractive option, you must clearly show why your product is the best choice and value for their time and money.

Each section of your resumé gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your value to the company and your suitability for the job they're aiming to fill. Make sure you hit on all the major points listed in the job ad in each section. In the job ad itself, the most important requirements are usually listed first, so follow the same pattern in your resumé and you'll be well on your way to getting noticed.

#2 Failing to Show How You Fit the Company Personality

Just as your qualifications must fit the job ad, your personality must fit the company's personality. People are drawn to people like themselves and tend to hire people like themselves. You must show the employer how you are like them. Show them your values, your goals, your character and how these suit their company and its unique personality.

Researching the employer and the type of business they do is an important part of developing your resumé. Candidates who actively seek out information about their potential employer and relate it to their experience are more likely to be hired. Weave relevant information about the company personality into your resumé. Review their website carefully (mission, mandate, vision etc) for keywords and language that highlight the employer's personality, then show by using their own language how your personality fits into theirs.

Convince them through each of your well chosen words that you have the same values, attitudes and work ethic. Learn about the traits the employer values in its people. Demonstrate clearly you are not only the most qualified, but more importantly the right personality fit for their company.

#3 Failing to Follow Instructions in the Job Ad

When an employer decides to fill a job vacancy, it is a decision they do not take lightly. They want to attract the best candidates to join their team, and at the same time weed out less qualified applicants. The process begins with developing an advertisement for the position. These ads are carefully written and sometimes take weeks to develop and finalize. They can often be very detailed and include a set of instructions for applicants to follow.

ALWAYS Read ALL sections of the job ad carefully for any instructions before you submit your application and resumé. Failing to follow even one of these directives can be disastrous to your application. There may be a section called Notes, Special Instructions or Other Information which details specific requirements for how you must submit your application or particular information you need to include. Some examples are: attaching your education credentials, indicating whether you are willing to relocate or sending your resumé in a specific format.

It may not seem that important but something as simple as not sending your documents in the requested file format can land your resumé in the reject pile. For example, they ask you to send your files in Pdf or MSWord, but you send it in a Text format. This will really annoy the recruiter reviewing your application (if they even bother to open it!) You will be seen as a person who does not take direction well and could be a sign of your future performance as an employee.

Failing to follow instructions will most likely result in your application being tossed out. Don't take that chance and follow all instructions to the letter. This is a simple task to complete yet if you don't comply, it can very quickly destroy any chance your resumé will be read.

Every single word on your resumé and where you place those words is crucial to getting it read. The shocking thing is you have 10 seconds on average to convince the person who receives your resumé not to throw it in the reject pile. To get it read is actually very difficult. When you have the right help and support, this can happen quickly.

If you feel you'd like some help and support, I invite you to apply for a complimentary consultation.

Instant Training

DIY Confident Resumé

This course offers a DIY-style video training with a workbook and exercises to keep you on track with the lessons. At the end of this training, you will know how to create a resumé that pops with confidence, quickly gets you past the five-second screening, straight to the interview and on to the job you really want!