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A rejected resume can be frustrating. Doubts about yourself surface. The self-image takes a hit. Explanations are rarely given for therejection, and without feedback, how can you go back to the drawing board? What is it you need to do to improve your CV and give yourself a better shot at landing a job?
The rationale behind the elimination process is varied. Reasons may be large or small, but you can crack the code. Deciphering why certain resumes fall flat while others elicit the desired response is central to writing an exceptional resume. Acceptance or rejection happens in the first 20-30 second review. Potential employers are looking for a short, snappy resume.
Top 4 Reasons for Rejection
- Length: To make the best impression and have the best chance of making the cut, highlight those things on your resume most important to the position at hand. Hiring managers may find lengthy resumes wearing on their nerves. They are under pressure. They want relevant information about you, and they want it fast. (A three page exhaustive work history will get your resume moved to the rejection pile 9 times out of 10.)
- Grammar and spelling: Proofread, proofread, proofread. Spelling and grammatical errors are immediate eye-catchers and send a clear message to the reviewer. The message: lack of attention to detail or perhaps worse: sloppy work.
- Poor layout: Even when your resume is worded well and grammatically correct, if hiring managers can’t find the information they are looking for quickly, they will move on to someone else’s resume. Lengthy paragraphs make information tough to find. Keep the paragraphs short. Use bullet points when possible. You should use plenty of “white space” and appropriate headings and breaks to make your resume visually pleasing.
- Achievements vs. job description: Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, but proceed with caution. Potential employers are looking for candidates who can hit the ground running and make contributions quickly. By highlighting how you have added to the success of your past employer, you are likely to catch the eye and make it to the top of the pile. Be clear about your added value to the bottom line. In the current market, employers are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck. Your achievements should make an employer want to invite you for an interview – but please be careful that you do not oversell yourself.
First impressions are lasting impressions. They matter. Never kid yourself about that fact. From the moment a potential employer lays eyes on your resume, you are being sized up. Your resume has to shine. Rejects will go one stack. The resumes that earn more measured consideration go to the interview stack. That’s where you want yours to land, so keep it short and succinct to win out over your competition.
Jaynie Ellison is a Director / Partner at ExhibitRecruiter, Inc. Founded in 1998, ExhibitRecruiter is the recognized leading recruitment agency for firms that specialize in design, production, management and on-site execution of integrated marketing programs including exhibits, events, permanent and mobile environments and executive briefing centers throughout North America and Europe. Their clients are face-to-face marketing agencies that transform brands into actively engaging environments.
ExhibitRecruiter focuses exclusively in the experiential marketing sector. Her complete bio is on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jaynieellison She can also be reached at jaynie@ExhibitRecruiter.com Her direct line is 1-800-491-5434. For more information, go to www.ExhibitRecruiter.com.