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Lesser Known Reasons For Resume Rejections

Posted Monday, December 3, 2012, at 7:15 PM

A resume can be rejected for some common reasons, most of which are known to job seekers. However, with recruiters reviewing an average of 5,000 resumes per year, there are bound to be more than a few reasons for resume rejections because any acceptable reason can make their job a lot easier. Given below are some of these lesser-known reasons for resumes to get rejected that many job seekers do not think about.

1. An informal tone

Resumes are meant to be strictly formal. Doing so otherwise can equate to a one-way ticket to the rejection bin for a resume. A lot of job seekers today tend to attach perfectly formal resumes to an informally written email. It is natural for people to start emails with a casual 'Hi', but you must refrain from doing so if you want to prevent a recruiter from deleting your email without even opening the attached resume. Treat the email as you would treat a formal cover letter. Use 'Dear' and 'Respected' as salutations and 'Sincerely' as a conclusion.

2. Overused keywords

An emerging trend among recruiters is to use keyword scanners to find resumes that have a healthy use of certain sought-after keywords. However, less than a quarter of recruiters today do that. Even if the recruiter you approach is part of this 25 percent, keep in mind that they have a low tolerance for keyword stuffed resumes. Resumes with an abnormally high percentage of keywords tend to be considered spam or fake by a recruiter, even though they may pass the keyword scanner software. Keep in mind that your resume is for human recruiters, and not for software programs.

3. Too many personal details

A resume showcases a candidate's professional profile, so keep the personal information down to your name, gender, and contact details. Personal details like a candidate's race and marital status can go against the rules of certain companies in order to avoid bias lawsuits. Some firms even go so far as to reject resumes that have the age of candidates mentioned, so be very careful about what you add to your personal details.

4. Too over the top

Recruiters today are likely to reject resumes straightway if they arrive in multicolored and intricately designed plastic folders. As mentioned earlier, they see an average of 5,000 resumes per year, and they do not have the time or patience to search for the information they need between all the eye-candy.

The mistake of over-decorating a resume is generally restricted to job seekers fresh out of college, but there is one mistake that even experienced professionals commit, and that is folding the resume in order to fit them inside a standard envelope. Folded resumes can be a turn-off for some recruiters because flat ones are easier to scan, copy, and store. If you want to send a resume by mail, get a long envelope that will hold the resume as it is. Moreover, avoid using boxes, bars, or exotic fonts and letters. Tables can be used in a resume, but only if they are absolutely necessary. Look at sample resumes online to get an idea for what is over the top and what is not if you are unsure.

5. Your social media profiles

An increasing number of recruiters are turning to social media to find out more about their applicants. Unless your profile's privacy settings have been adjusted, anything you post on these websites can be seen and read by potential employers. Even in 2009, around 45 percent of recruiters checked applicants' Twitter and Facebook profiles to screen them. In 2012, this number will definitely be higher.



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I am a masters level career counselor. I am internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International and have been recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors.