Turning the Dial – 5 Ways Your Resume Gets Read or Rejected

Think about a time where you had a song or a type of song stuck in your head – and all you had at your disposal was a radio. You turn the radio on and you start spinning the dial (or clicking the seek/find button). Some stations you sail by, others you only briefly pause to listen more before heading to the next one.

When your resume is first reviewed, it happens very quickly. For insights to why your resume may get overlooked, let’s look at why you don’t stop on some radio stations.

  1. Too much static. Much like a radio station, if you have too much static to sift through (static being too much irrelevant info that doesn’t pertain to the job that you are applying to), the hiring manager might keep clicking to the next resume.  To save yourself from this fate, cut the filler and make sure you customize your resume to fit the position.
  2. Can’t tell what it is.  Is it a commercial jingle?  Is it country music?  Is it rock-n-roll?  You really can’t tell so you keep moving down the dial.  A recruiter will not keep reading your resume if you are unclear.  The unclear resume is full of vague words, and might have puzzling changes in career path with nothing giving the recruiter a picture of where you are going.  To help clarify your resume, be sure to include a cover letter, career summary or objective statement, and be specific and descriptive in your language.  Provide the context and details a recruiter needs to make a decision in your favor.
  3. The song is putting you to sleep. If you get drowsy reading your resume, chances are someone else will too.  If you have trouble creating interesting bullet points, research how to make them more compelling or reach out to a resume writer or creative colleague for help.
  4. Intro is too long – don’t feel like waiting to figure out if this is something I want to listen to.  (Side note:  This happened to me this morning listening to Pandora.  The Cure’s song “Pictures of You” has an unbelievably long intro.) If it takes too long before a recruiter gets to the most important part of your resume, they probably won’t ever get to it.  Make sure the most important information is right at the top third of your resume.  Don’t waste too much space on your name and contact info.  Format them clearly, but compactly and get to what the recruiter needs to know to pick you.
  5. It isn’t what you are looking for. If recruiter is looking for someone with more experience – or a different type of experience, they will go on to the next candidate. Make sure you read the job posting carefully for what they expect candidates to have in terms of experience and credentials.  If you don’t meet these requirements, consider finding a different position to apply to, or know that you’ll have to make a clear case for why you are suitable for the position (if you are).
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