It doesn’t matter how good you are for a job, if your resume doesn’t make the cut, you won’t even have a chance to meet the employer let alone to get hired.

When you send a resume and do not get a callback, you can either blame it on luck or forget about it altogether. But if you wish to find out why hiring managers reject your resume and how to improve your application response rate, below are handy tips from the Resume Writing Lab specialists.

  1. Bad Format

    You probably wouldn’t expect that such a trifle might prevent you from getting a job you deserve. In general, all resumes have to follow a certain format, most commonly in Word or PDF. While most applications are sent via emails, more and more employers filter resumes through their internal application tracking system. It means that irregular formats may not pass the system. Besides, disjointed paragraphs and cut-off titles could be irritating for recruiters and they will not even try to read it.

  2. Typos and Grammar Mistakes

    It only takes a minor typo or grammar mistake in your resume for the employers to have a bad impression on you. You may think that it’s unfair to judge one’s employability based on the irrelevant details but your professional skills. However, try to walk in the recruiter’s shoes, these small mistakes actually reveal more of a person’s professionalism than you think. Why should a hiring manager like a resume that reveals a lack of attention to detail? It is all about candidate’s attitude. So proofreading your resume is a must. You can use proofreading tools and apps like Grammarly or ask a friend to help you go through it. Good writing skill is something that hiring managers appreciate a lot.

  3. Boring Text and Clichés

    A lot of candidates try to sound sophisticated by using jargons and fancy words, that their resume loses individuality and becomes rather boring. HR professionals read hundreds of applications that have the same ingredients’; from self-motivated, detail-oriented, good team player or leader, hard-working to success-driven. Basically, avoid all the buzzwords that are seen on countless resumes for decades.


    Related: Good Resume Writing: The Dos and Don’ts Checklist


    Try to be specific about your strengths and avoid clichés that are meaningless to hiring managers. A small change of word or phrase choices could make a big difference. For example, replace “skills” with “I am recognized for”, “hard-working” with “deliver more than expected” and your resume will look more genuine and memorable.

  4. Lack of Results

    Job seekers often focus on listing down their duties and responsibilities of the previous positions. Meanwhile, hiring managers only care about what a candidate can bring to the table. So make sure to elaborate the information that recruiters want to know. Consider using action words like “increased”, “improved”, “and initiated” to illustrate your career achievements. Most importantly, include numbers and statics to highlight the work results more effectively. The more specific you are the more convincing you sound. It will help you to stand out from other candidates.

  5. Too Much Information

    You may feel a tendency to write a lengthy resume to impress the recruiters with your experiences. In fact, a good resume is not determined by a number of bullet points and information included, employers only look for details that help them assess your suitability for the hiring position. So if you are unable to grab their attention from the beginning, it is very unlikely that they will read other pages of your story.

  6. Inappropriate Details

    Hiring managers assess potential candidates by firstly looking for red flags in their resumes. An unprofessional email address is the first thing that recruiters notice, which will shut down your door to the opportunity at the company. It is better to replace a funky email with a simple one that is your name. Also, if a photo is not required, there is no reason to include it in your resume. The phrase “references available upon request” is useless and only wastes precious space in your resume. Be careful with indicating an address. If you live too far away from the office, it might become a reason to not move your application forward.

  7. Lies Detected

    A rule of thumb is not to oversell yourself. While it’s acceptable to embellish your skills and experience a little but you should not exaggerate or lie about them. If something in your resume is not true, it will be revealed sooner or later. It is possible for the hiring managers to perform a background check on you, even through social media. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.

Once you realize which one of these common mistakes you make in your resume, you will be able to refine it to secure a job interview. Just put extra effort and it will pay off!

This article was written by the Resume Writing Lab team.

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