5 Things That Will Get Your Resume Tossed in the Trash

In many ways, applying for jobs is like online dating. You slave over your profile -- in this case, your resume and application -- and then it goes into a void. When you don't hear back, it's hard to believe that it's not you, it's them. So it's a good idea to make sure your resume doesn't contain anything that will move it directly into the "no" pile.


(Photo Credit: stevendepolo/Flickr)

What will get your resume thrown in the bin? These things, among others:

1. Typos.

Of course, no one makes typos on purpose. Most of us even have several reliable friends review our resumes before we send them on. But that doesn't mean that we -- or they -- are detail-oriented enough to pick up on every little stylistic inconsistency or error.

If you really want to make sure your resume is typo-free, have a friend with proofreading or editing experience give it a careful look. Or, failing that, consider hiring a professional service to review it.

2. The wrong tone or format.

If you're applying for a creative job, you can send your resume in the form of a candy bar wrapper and include a headshot. But if you're going for a gig at a law firm, that might be seen as inappropriate. Know your audience before you submit your CV.

3. Too much information.

Your resume is not your memoir. You don't need to include every job you've ever had, just the ones that relate to the position you're applying to.

4. Too many gaps.

If TMI is a bad thing, TLI (too little information) is sometimes worse. Don't despair if your resume has a few blank spots, though. With careful formatting and the right cover letter, you can stress your strengths instead of showing off periods of unemployment.

5. The wrong keywords.

Chances are, your resume will have to make through a bot before it gets to a human. Figure out which keywords are most likely to trigger a "maybe" from the company's recruiting software, and you're more likely to get a chance to make your case in front of a real live person.

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1 Comment

  1. 1 Paul Freiberger 03 Oct

    Here are a few additional basic tips:

    Here are a few tips:

    White space is your friend. It's not a void. Rather, it's a potent tool that refreshes the reader, implies quality, and subtly directs the eye. You gain impact with one-inch borders, open line spacing, and indentations. But add white space elsewhere too.

    Don't feel trapped in the four corners of a single page. Your history of achievement and promotion may require two or even three pages.

    Use bullets. They pleasantly snag the gaze. Moreover, stacked items stand out and are much easier to read than a list in a sentence. Avoid cute or fancy bullets, like pointing fingers.

    Emphasize key items with boldface and italics. Employers are scanning quickly and appreciate these cues. They also spruce up the resume itself.

    First impressions matter, and the look of your resume is critical.


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