7 reasons no one will read your resume

By Robert Half on 18 March 2015

Job-hunting is never easy, especially when you’re on the prowl and nobody is taking the bait. You’ve worked hard on getting your resume just how you like it, so how come nobody wants to read it? After all, you know you can do the job.

The truth of the matter is that with any job, you and your resume are competing with many other applicants and many other resumes. If your resume does not immediately sing to a recruiter, it will likely become just one more unread document on top of a never-ending pile on a recruiter’s desk.

Swallow your pride. Your resume is not doing a good job at selling ‘you’, and here are seven reasons why.

1. Too long

Time is crucial to all of us, including recruiters and potential employers. When compiling your resume, make sure it’s not too long. If the first impression your resume gives is that it rambles, you’re already off to a bad start. Keep it short and sweet. Seek out some resume writing tips and, once written, go back and edit it. If you’re asked for an interview, you’ll have time to elaborate further then.

2. Irrelevant experience

Always place your current role at the beginning of the first page – that’s what your future employer is looking for straight away. And as your prior experience rolls out in chronological order, make it relevant, including details that are pertinent to the key skills required for the role, not areas of experience that are completely unrelated.

3. Poorly written

One of the skills most employers are looking for is professional communication. If your resume writing is clunky and full of spelling mistakes then your credibility will be doubted. Always spell-check your work, never use text language or social abbreviations and, whatever you do, get the name of the potential employer and company details correct. If you’re sending your resume from your personal email address, make sure it’s professional.

4. Wrong focus

Many people begin their CV with an unwieldy list of past education. This certainly has a place in your resume, but it doesn’t rate as the number one priority (nor does the award you received for Year 10 French). Avoid outdated qualifications and make work experience the priority.

5. Tricky formatting

Take this resume-writing tip – it’s about the content, not the bells and whistles. So try not to ‘trick up’ your resume document with graphics, artful fonts and unconventional formatting. Do keep it modern and fresh, but not confusing or incoherent. And remember to make the file easy to open, so save it in a universally friendly file type, such as a PDF.

6. Polarising interests

Try not to make your personal interests too dominant and keep them reasonably impartial and politically correct in nature. For example, don’t declare yourself right-wing with staunch party affiliations or religious beliefs. And strong personal passions, such as favourite musicians, actors or sportspeople, do not belong in your resume.

7. Dishonest claims

If you want to be considered a professional, be honest about your past experience and capabilities – imagine landing the job and being asked to complete a task you simply cannot achieve. Lying on your resume will come back to bite you, so it’s not worth the risk. Keep on top of your resume writing skills by avoiding these seven mistakes and you’ll be one step closer to landing the job of your dreams.


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