How To Keep Your Resume Out Of The Recruiters Trash Can

Shredded Resume

I’ve said this before (because it’s true!) but recruiters only take a few seconds to look over your resume before deciding to put it in the maybe pile or trash can. The truth is that depending on the role we might have to look through hundreds of resumes. To make life easier we simply throw out any resumes that don’t meet what we are looking for.

Here are three ways to make sure that your resume does not make it to the trash can:

Have a Clean Layout

One of my pet peeves is to look at someone’s resume and cover letter and notice that the font does not match. THEY SHOULD MATCH! Think of your application as a total package. You want your cover letter and resume to be perfectly paired to each other. The cover letter introduces the resume so they should both be in the same font and size.

I also don’t like when people put unnecessary information on their resumes. A resume should only really be 2-3 pages in length (it really depends on how much work experience you have). You need to think that that everything you decide to put on your resume is taking up valuable real estate. If you have a mix of marketing and sales experience but you are applying to a marketing role then I don’t want to know about your sales history. Focus your resume to the role and highlight with accomplishments that I’m going to be impressed with and that are relevant to the role. FOCUS your resume! It will help to keep it out of the trash.

Meet the Basic Requirements

Some people think that they should apply to a job even without having all of the qualifications. I think aiming high is great but if you only have two years of IT experience and I’m looking for at least ten then your resume is not getting through. Make sure to read the job description and that you have the skills required to do the job.

One common mistake that I see all the time when I review a resume, is that the requirements I’m looking for are hidden somewhere in the resume. Some people do not make easy for recruiters. Since we only take a few seconds to look over your resume make sure that it is really clear to us that you have the skills or experience we are looking for. If we are looking for knowledge of a specific program why not highlight it on your resume. If we want someone who has experience coaching or motivating staff why not highlight it. If you make it clear and simple for us to see that you are the candidate we need to interview then you will probably get an interview.

Don’t be Generic

I don’t care that this application was one of 20 that you sent out that day. I don’t want to see a generic profile or objective statement. Well I don’t want to see an objective statement at all but if you have one you better make it good. Under a profile I don’t want to read:

Talented and accomplished Project Manager with excellent communication skills and proven ability to plan and lead projects. Areas of expertise include: Program Management, Contract Negotiations, and Team building and Leadership.

This is way too generic and can really describe anyone. I want each resume that you send out to reflect your experience and skills and be tailored to the company and the job. Recruiters know that this can be done and it’s not that hard so when we do come across a generic resume we almost always throw it in the trash.

At the End of the Day

Creating a great resume is hard work. You do need to put some time and thought into each job application. Once you have a great resume adjusting it for each job should be easy so don’t give up.

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.- Confucius

Photo by: Muffet

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