Why I Rejected Your Resume

I recently reviewed about 250 resumes for a job I posted online. I was horrified by most of the responses I received. If you avoid the pitfalls I describe below (and they're very easy to avoid), you'll easily set yourself apart from most job applicants out there and put yourself at the top of any potential employer's list.

1. You Capitalized Practically Every Word.
2. I asked you to name your attached file a certain way, and you didn't do it.
3. I asked you to include a cover letter, and you only sent your resume.
4. You put that stupid "Objective" section at the top of your resume because some resume template you downloaded from the internet made you think that was a good idea. I already know what your objective is. You want to get paid.
5. You not only included an "objective" section, you wrote that your objective was "to obtain a position that utilizes my skills." Was that really the best you could come up with?
6. You noted that you type 50 words per minute. Is that supposed to impress me? At that speed, you're basically telling me that you know how to use a keyboard. In 2008, I should hope so!
7. You misspelled your former employer's name.
8. You misspelled your own name.
9. You wrote that you have references available upon request. (Okay, I didn't actually reject your resume for this, it just annoyed me.)
10. You don't know how to use a comma.
11. You don't know how to use a dash.
13. You addressed your cover letter, "Dear Sir," when my job posting did not indicate my gender. Unfortunately for you, I am not a sir.
14. You don't know how to use an apostrophe.
15. You don't know the difference between "it's" and "its."
16. Instead of using your real name as the name people see when they receive an email from you, you used "Bridgette X." What are you, a stripper?
17. You couldn't be bothered to create a professional-looking email address to send out resumes, preferring to use your "cheekymonkey669" screen name.
18. You are "detail orented."
19. You used a bunch of cliched terms to describe yourself like dynamic, driven, motivated, self-starter, team player, and detail-oriented.
20. Your idea of a cover letter is one paragraph of regurgitated job application nonsense in the body of an email.
21. You don't seem to know what job you are applying for.
22. You appear to be grossly under-qualified for the position, and your cover letter makes no mention of how you intend to compensate for this.
23. You are overqualified.
24. You clearly have a solid grasp of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, but you did not bother to proofread your resume and cover letter. If you don't care enough to make your resume perfect, what kind of work will you do for me?
25. You applied for a professional job as if you were filling out a form application for the Gap.
26. None of the sentences in your cover letter have a subject.
27. You think that "oversee" is two words.
28. You wrote about the job you are still at in the past tense.
29. You are clearly not interested in the position being offered, but you've sent me your resume anyway to make yourself feel better about how many jobs you've tried to apply for.
30. You didn't put a comma after "sincerely." How are you going to write professional letters to my clients?
31. You don't live anywhere near my office and didn't mention anything about relocation in your cover letter.
32. The verb tenses in your resume are all over the place: "handling cash accounts, meets customer expectations, provided excellent customer service."
33. Your email says, "Please see attach." It's "attached" or "attachment," genius.
34. You want me to pay you $218,000 per year plus a performance bonus.
35. Your resume is seven pages long.
36. You included a photo with your resume.
37. Your cover letter is a generic waste of electronic paper that you have probably sent to 100 other employers. It does not indicate any specific interest in the position with my company.
38. The filename of your attached resume is ridiculously long.
39. You forgot to put your name on your resume.

Photo by paul goyette

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EasyChange said...

These are great. The only one I am a little iffy about is this one:

28. You wrote about the job you are still at in the past tense.

I would think that this would be ok. Here's when I would do this. I'm curious if you agree or not.

Imagine you write a nice solid 2 page resume with past tenses for all of your previous jobs. Then, you need to write your current job's accomplishments. So, perhaps adding the accomplishments in the past tense makes sense because they are things that you've already done.


Amy said...

You make a good point. I think you might be right, both about being consistent in your verb tenses and about having already done the things you mention as accomplishments, even if they are at your present job. Thanks for giving me a helpful new perspective.

furrytails said...

Although you had some valid points, I thought your comments were overly critical and snarky. Maybe you were trying to be clever. It missed the mark. As a writer, I am constantly astounded by people who don't even bother to spell check their work, but I realize that we are, at the end of the day, only human. We make mistakes. If you are going to chastise people for their lack of attention to detail, you should not be guilty of it yourself; line 11 (hot), line 28 - punctuation please and what is a filename - line 38? You berate people for being under and overqualified in two lines. It must be nice to be perfect.

Amy said...

I am critical and snarky at times, and I'm not going to apologize for that. I realize that not everyone will enjoy those aspects of my personality. Most of the time, I keep it to myself, but as a fellow writer, I'm sure you can agree that life would be boring if everything we wrote was perfectly polite and sugar-coated.

A filename is a technical term referring to "a special kind of string used to uniquely identify a file stored on the file system of a computer," as defined by Wikipedia, and can properly be written as one word.

I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

32. The verb tenses in your resume are all over the place: "handling cash accounts, meets customer expectations, provided excellent customer service."

I was hoping you could clarify this a bit. Is it because everything is in one line or just the fact it starts with verbs? I am taking a professional development class as a part of my diploma and it was encouraged to have the description of previous employments to start with verb tenses.

Amy said...

It's not using verbs that's the problem. That's fine. But they need to all be in the same tense. So the correct version of the incorrect example I gave, for a job that someone no longer worked at, would be "handled cash accounts, met customer expectations, and provided excellent customer service." All the verbs are in the same tense--the past tense.
Hope this helps. If you are still having trouble, I would recommend taking a basic English composition class.

Anonymous said...

This is really great. Fortunately I don't do any of the things you mentioned, save maybe one or two.

However, I'm not having any luck getting a job despite being well-qualified. While your article is great, you should take it to the next step and suggest what to do when one follows all your steps, and still gets rejected.

chopsticksLOL said...

Perfect perfect perfect. As a frequent reader of resumes I am often hyper critical- HOWEVER- I make no apologies. You are applying for a career, you should read and reread and rereread that stuff 2,000 times to make sure it's perfect.

I found myself nodding and laughing more and more for each point.

As for furrytails, you CAN be over and under qualified. Or it's for two separate resumes, ya doof.