Let’s be real here, there are a ton of articles out there focusing on what to do to get your resume noticed. All good information, but let’s chat about the simple things that you might be doing that are landing your resume in the trash.
Hiring managers see hundreds of resumes for any given job opening. This will be a mix of highly qualified candidates, mediocre ones, and just plain awful ones. Even if you might be an amazing candidate, doing these three things can instantly turn the reader off from pursuing an interview with you.
YOUR SUCCESS LIES IN THE DETAILS
Your resume is your personal branding document and is a direct reflection of who you are. Presenting this document to a prospective employer riddled with spelling and grammar errors just demonstrates that you are lazy, ignorant, or just don’t care. These are not qualities any employer is looking for and is a very easy fix. PROOF! PROOF! PROOF! Read your resume out loud. Have a friend or family member read it out loud to you. Run it through free online grammar checks such as grammerly.com or gingersoftware.com.
Bad formatting is the other kiss of death. You might think you are being clever in adding tables and graphics and special formatting of your resume, but, in reality, most of these get wiped out when you upload your document into a recruiting application, leaving it awkward, unreadable, or sloppy. If you insist on having graphics or special formatting in your resume, be sure to only use a PDF when emailing or uploading your document. This preserves your formatting and will represent you in your best light. Have your content readily available in a simple format as well. It is 100% okay to upload a simple resume and then attach your designer resume as an additional attachment. This ensures that your content is readable by the hiring manager.
DID YOU EVEN READ THE JOB AD?
A highly ranked pet peeve of hiring managers is getting a resume that is not even close to meeting the minimum requirements for the job. Don’t get me wrong, applying for a job a step above what you do is not a bad thing, but failing to demonstrate that you have the skills and abilities to do the job is bad. Keep in mind that this person reading your resume doesn’t know you from the next person in the pile. You might tell yourself that you are smart, a quick learner, and you are great at anything you do. And it might be true. But, let me ask you, how does this hiring manager know that. Be sure that your resume and cover letter address the qualification in the job ad. Even if you don’t have a particular skill, let the hiring manager know how you are eager and willing to learn, grow, and develop your skills. Trust me when I say that passion and willingness to learn is a trait that I will hire into my company any day.
Paying attention to application requirements is also huge. Don’t try to trick the system by going around what the ad says are application requirements. Either your resume will never be received or you will be perceived as someone who doesn’t follow instructions. However, there are ways to get noticed. Be sure to follow the instructions, but don’t be afraid to network with your hiring manager. Send a note to say how excited you are for the opportunity and that you look forward to hearing from them. This will help the hiring manager remember your name and your passion for the job!
Too much information. Too little information. Old experience. Non-relevant skills. All things that make your resume irrelevant and ultimately dismissed. There is a balance needed to create a great resume; you need enough information to portray your relevant and recent skills and abilities but not too much that you bore the hiring manager out of reading your resume. A tip from me to you on this, focus on the last 10 years’ experience and highlight skills and accomplishments that relate to the job you are applying for. Even if you are transitioning careers or applying for a job that is outside your skill set, you can highlight the skills and abilities that can translate to a new role. Failing to show relevance in your resume is a fast track to the trash.