8 Reasons Your Resume Got Tossed

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So, a hiring manager swiped left on your resume. You haven’t heard anything back or you got a generic ‘Thank you, but no thank you’ email. You may be wondering exactly why they decided to pass but you won’t likely be offered a reason.

As a job applicant, especially one without a college degree, it’s crucial for your resume to be near perfect. Competition in the workforce is fierce and you can’t let your resume be the reason you were overlooked. You may also consider searching through our ‘Jobs Without a Degree’ Dashboard for great positions, no degree required.

A resume is your chance to make a positive first impression. However, it might not be crafted to a high enough standard. Here are 8 reasons why your resume might not be making the cut.

1. Your email address is unprofessional

So, coolguy87@aol.com isn’t having any luck finding jobs? Bummer. To be safe, create a new email address that comes off more professionally. The format: first name.lastname@gmail.com should be a safe bet. You might be thinking that it shouldn’t matter, but it does. When competition is as fierce as it is, your chances could come down to something as simple as this. Don’t let a silly email address be the reason you aren’t considered for a job you want.

2. You have spelling and grammar mistakes

While it may seem obvious, these type of errors are an immediate red flag. You should review your resume, spell check it, and then have at least one other person review it as well. These overlooked errors are a piece of criteria that employers use to narrow the applicant pool.

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3. You have gaps in employment

You can’t always help the fact that you were unemployed for a period of time. But it is generally unacceptable not to address these gaps on your resume. Addressing what you did during these gaps is an important way to anticipate the employer’s concerns. For whatever reason you became unemployed, explain and give some details about what you accomplished and how you grew during this time. The Balance gives some great tips on how to address gaps in employment on your resume.

4. It looks boring

While it’s easy to go overboard in sprucing up your resume, you can also underwhelm an employer by having a boring resume. Slight variations in font and  subtle elements such as divider lines can give your resume some character. There is a subtle art to creating a simple yet beautiful resume. Primer Magazine offers downloadable templates HERE for creating a visually appealing resume.

5. Your resume is too long

You may not have heard this one before. Think of it this way; if a company has two-hundred resumes to sift through, they don’t want to keep track of more than one sheet of paper per applicant. If they are filtering through resumes and seeing which ones they can immediately get rid of, the multiple page resumes will go first, especially if the extra pages aren’t completely full. Find a way to condense your resume to fit essential information on one page, or two full pages maximum.

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6. Your cover letter is generic

First of all, you need a cover letter, unless for some reason, they job posting specifically states that they don’t need one. Unfortunately, the generic sample cover letters offered in Microsoft word just aren’t enough. You need to beef-up your cover letter to explain why exactly you are a good fit for the position advertised. Explain why your skills and experience are relevant to the company and position to which you are applying. It may benefit you to explicitly request an interview and give contact information for them to reach you directly.

7. You didn’t read the job posting entirely

While it can be a scramble applying for multiple jobs, you need to take the time to read the job description. This will help you with the customized cover letter as well. The cover letter should reflect a working knowledge of the position based on the job posting. It’s painfully obvious to an employer when you are applying to a job you know nothing about.

8. You listed your job description instead of your responsibilities and accomplishments

An employer doesn’t want to read a generic overview of the jobs you have worked in the past. They want to hear, specifically, what type of projects you completed and how you benefited the company for which you were employed. They want to gauge your performance with numbers. Will Wegert at Cold Collar explains “Use numbers. Before and after. Show growth.”

While it can be difficult avoiding faux pas such as these, it’s important to remember them. If it is too much to undertake on top of job searching, you can get help. There are several resume-writing services that we recommend:

Resume Writers


Boosta Ltd.

Did we miss something? Is there something you would have like to see on the list? Leave a comment below!


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