Top 3 resume mistakes which decline candidates

resume mistake
Don’t make a resume mistake

Who gets called and who gets declined

The difference between candidates that land a job interview and those that do not land interviews will boil down to just a few resume mistakes. These are resume mistakes that the candidate usually has no idea they are making and easily fixable with the right technology. Career breaks these mistakes down and gives you the tech to fix them so you can land the interview.

Here at CareerTracker, we review 100’s of resumes a week but we glance through 1000’s. 1000’s of resumes end up in the recycle bin after a cursory glance. What gives your resume a review by a hiring manager vs. the average 2-3 second glance that most resumes receive?

Resumes fall into two categories

Category 1: Resumes are declined in the first 2 seconds. Category 2: Resumes qualify themselves in the first second. There are quick paths to having your resume declined with easily understandable reasons. Today we discuss why your resume has been declined. In a later post, we will address how your resume qualifies. Stay tuned.

When a recruiter is reviewing one hundred resumes, only 3-4 % of the resumes are going to fall into the qualified and interesting enough to call category. The rest of the resumes are going straight to the recycle bin. This means that out of 100 resumes, only 3 or 4 will receive an initial phone screen. Today we explain how to make it into that this elusive 3-4% club. We also share our free tool that will make it easy to create a winning resume.

Being presentable

At a very high level, if you want to land a job interview, you must show up in a presentable manner. We don’t mean your clothes are pressed and your breath is fresh. These qualities absolutely matter, but our first goal in a job search is to land the job interview.

What we mean by this is that your resume needs to be presentable. There can be no resume mistakes. You can be the perfect candidate, your experience can line up perfectly to the job description, but we need to present our qualifications in a perfect manner. The presentation of your resume matters and any of the following will disqualify you from the initial phone screen:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Inconsistencies in format
  • Resumes that are filled with irrelevant work experience

How resumes are scored and reviewed

  1. Irrelevant experience with typos
  2. Irrelevant experience without typos
  3. Qualified with typos
  4. A resume that is qualified and contains no typos
  5. Qualified, without typos, and poor formatting
  6. Qualified, without typos, and beautiful formatting

When a recruiter reviews one hundred resumes, only 3-4 % of the resumes are going to fall into category 6. The remaining resumes are going to be tossed without a second thought. Today we explain how to make it into that 3-4%. The above categories may sound obvious, but back to our initial findings, 95% of candidates fall into the first 5 categories. This is why we are so excited about our free Resume Builder.

What the Resume Builder does for you

  • Spell Checks your document
  • Creates a beautifully formatted document
  • Eliminates irrelevant work experience

With our Resume Builder, you don’t have to worry about the biggest barriers to a job interview.

Spelling and resume mistakes

The most common resume mistakes we encounter are spelling mistakes. We see these in entry-level to Sr. Manager candidates. A single spelling mistake will automatically disqualify you as a candidate. Even the most qualified candidate, will be disqualified with a resume that contains a misspelled word.

This may sound unfair, but here is why a typo on a resume will disqualify you. Hiring managers think and feel that a candidate has an unlimited amount of time to create the perfect resume. There is absolutely no legitimate reason for excusing a typo.

As candidates, we have:

  • Plenty of time to create the resume.
  • The opportunity to ask friends and family to review our resume.
  • Tools like Word’s Spellcheck, to highlight typos and grammar mistakes.

The typo creates an easy path for the hiring manager to assume the worst. Candidates have what a hired employee won’t have if they were working for a company:

  • Unlimited time to work on, fix, and tweak the resume

Candidates have the following tools:

  • Colleagues to review the document on overall presentation.
  • Technology to double check your document for grammar and spelling.

If we have typos on our personal work (resume) where we should be the most motivated, what does that say about our motivation when employed?

Poor formatting

The number two reason that resumes are declined is poor formatting. Formatting may not have any relevance to you being a qualified candidate or not. The fact is that at a subconscious level it does point to your attention to detail.

We will be the first to admit it. In our experience, hiring managers don’t explain, “This is a poorly formatted resume, I don’t want to talk with this candidate.” Formatting on a resume isn’t scored, considered or reviewed. No hiring manager is looking at a resume like a piece of art and critiquing it for balance, symmetry and color composition. If we want to be a candidate that is considered, we absolutely need to pay attention to this detail. We want our resume to be easier to review than the competitions!

Subconscious review of your resume

We know the resumes which are presented in an easy to read and digestible format moves along quickly. We are not saying it is fair, but poorly formatted resumes don’t get reviewed with the same enthusiasm as a well-formatted document.  Like it or not, documents are declined at a subconscious level for any of the following reasons:

  • Crowded (more content than white space)
  • Empty (more white space than content)
  • Too long (Too many pages which are usually the result of irrelevant work experience)
  • Too short (Half empty pages never look good)
  • Inconsistencies in how experience is formatted from job to job

CareerTracker’s Free Resume Builder solves all of your problems

When creating your resume, just follow our prompts and fill out the requested fields. Our founder Brian is a smart guy. A Wharton MBA, a Developer, and a Product Manager. He figured out how to walk you through the creation of a beautifully formatted resume by just filling in specific fields. With his Resume Builder, you can:

  • Change the font size to lengthen or shorten the content
  • Increase or decrease the margins to shorten or lengthen the document
  • Bold or italicize sections or wording to make the content pop
  • Center content consistently throughout your document
  • Line up margins, bullets, and indentations with ease

Irrelevant work experience

The last thing that our Resume Builder does is keep you focused on presenting only relevant job experience.

The biggest frustration that hiring managers have about most resumes is that they need to sift through 2-3 pages of accomplishments to find the 4 -6  bullet points of interest. Unfortunately, we won’t learn why your resume is declined. You won’t hear the phrase “We called you because of the 3 bullets in your Acme Publishing experience and your 1st bullet from your International Publishing Corporation Experience.” You certainly won’t hear, “We didn’t call you because your resume was X,Y and Z.” Don’t worry, Career Tracker has you covered.

Relevant experience only

Resume Builder connects the dots from the job description to your resume so you are ONLY listing experience relevant to the job description. Experience which is 4+ years old is probably junior to the position you are applying for, or out of date. If you were a Customer Service Rep 6 years ago, you are probably interviewing for a Sr. Customer Service Rep position or a Customer Service Management position. Very few of your accomplishments are relevant to the position of Interest. They might be related, but they are not relevant.

Career Tracker solves this resume mistake by limiting how much information you are including in your resume that is 3, 5 and 7 years old. The older the experience, the less relevant it is to the current position.

Key Takeaway: If you are not receiving any interest in your current resume, it is probably because of resume mistakes. Check out our free Resume Builder, create an account, and start generating interest.

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