We spend a great deal of time talking to recruiters, employers and human resource staff every week. I recently sent an email asking some of them what they would list as their top 3 peeves when it came to receiving resumes and short-listing candidates. You should have seen my inbox fill up with responses! Many were repeated, so I thought I would share a list of the top 20.
Straight from the mouths of the people reading your resumes:
- Rambling! I wish people would get to the point. I haven’t got time to read a novel.
- Resumes that are a straight list of duties. Tell us what you did differently, what you did well.
- I want people to tell me how they meet my need. If not, I move on to the next resume. Simple.
- People who don’t meet the criteria for the role. If you don’t have the essential skills required, then don’t apply. Essential and desirable criteria are listed for a reason.
- Career Objectives. OMG, these are so annoying. I don’t want to know what you want. I want to know what you can do for me!
- Incorrect contact details. If an email bounces or the wrong phone number has been given, I won’t search for them, I’ll just move on to the next application.
- Poor grammar and spelling mistakes. It amazes me how many people apply for a role where written business communication is a major component of the role and send me a resume riddled with errors. These people usually claim they pay attention to detail as well!
- An application addressed to someone else. Its obvious they use the same application for every job and haven’t changed the salutation. These usually hit the shredder.
- Clutter. Personally, I can’t stand looking at resumes that are jammed so tight and written using the smallest font to get as much information on the page as possible. They are too hard to read and very unappealing.
- A cover letter that repeats, verbatim, what is in the resume. Why bother? You’ve wasted my time and yours.
- Long resumes. Resumes longer than 3 pages lose me.
- When you call a candidate about a job application and they say something along the lines of “Sorry, what job is this about again?” Keep track of your applications.
- Resumes without dates for each position. My first thought is “What are you trying to hide?”
- I’m sick of reading that everyone is a team player, has attention to detail and can see the big picture. Really? Prove it.
- When I ask about salary expectations and get the “What is this role offering?” question in return. You should have an expectation and be prepared to discuss it.
- Candidates who can’t make the time for an interview. I spent close to 20mins on the phone the other day with a woman who couldn’t seem to lock in a time to meet. It interfered with soccer practice, music practice, a monthly ‘girls’ movie night, and of course, her current role. If you’re serious about job hunting – make the time to be available for the interview.
- Template driven resumes. One day recently I saw 4 resumes, the exact same format, and in some sections, the exact same wording! Write it yourself or get a reputable writer to do it for you.
- Resumes that are not in chronological order. It is too hard to follow resumes that jump all over the place.
- Trying to figure out locations of positions. People who have worked internationally or nationally need to include this information – I am not an atlas!
- Gaps in employment that haven’t been explained. I know you will have a reason for it, but try telling me, I’m not a psychic.
So there you have it …. 20 ways in which to kill your application and lose an opportunity. I hope by sharing these, you will be able to avoid some of these pitfalls in your job search.
This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant