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Why Your Resume Gets Tossed

By Anna Hill,2014-06-27 16:49
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Why Your Resume Gets Tossed

    Why Your Resume Gets Tossed

    By Sara Goldsmith

    The average recruiter sees 5,000 resumes a year. Any legitimate reason she finds to make one disappear makes her life that much easierand yours

    that much harder. Here, top-level recruiters reveal how candidates blow their chance to get a foot in the door.

    Numbers Dont Add Up

    If accomplishments can be quantified, do itbut use discretion.

    Brandishing borderline performance numbers signals a lack of experience and bad judgment. Phrases like Managed a budget of $500,000 or Led a team

    of two might catch my eye in a bad way, warns Olaf Weckesser, a former

    recruiter for McKinsey & Co. Better to spin it as Managed companys largest

    budget. Adds Alexandra DeMarino, a Citigroup recruiter: If a small number is

    impressive, you absolutely have to put it in context. Because you cant

    provide context for academic numbers, dont include GMAT scores below 650

    if youre targeting a top firm. DeMarino suggests bragging about nothing less than a 3.7 GPA.

    Formality Takes a Vacation

    Dont succumb to the informality of email. If you send a cover letter by

    email that starts with Hi, it and your resume will probably end up in the trash,

    says Cynthia Shore, an assistant dean at the University at Buffalo School of Management and former director of its career-resource center. Treat an email as you would a proper letter: Instead of Hi, write Dear Mr. Case. Instead of

    Thanks, conclude with Sincerely.

    Keywords are Overused

    Its true that recruiters sometimes use scanners to sort through resumes looking for certain keywords. But resumes appear contrived when candidates consciously try to include them. Describing a business-development position using such terms as needs assessment and contract analysis in order to squeeze in more keywords is a misguided strategy. Assume that a human beingnot a computerwill be reading the resume. After all, these days fewer than 25 percent of all recruiters even use scanners.

    Things Get Too Personal

    If you mention your age, we have to trash your resume, says Jeremy

    Eskenazi, vice president of talent acquisition at Idealab!, the California incubator firm. Since its illegal for a company to solicit a candidates age,

    race, or marital status during the hiring process, firms have adopted a dont

    tell policy to avoid potential bias suits. Many wont risk even having it handed

to them.

    It Looks Too Fancy

    A recruiter who receives resumes in pretty plastic folders will likely toss them, says Dave Opton, CEO and founder of ExecuNet, an online executive recruiting service. I dont have time to take the damn things apart. Another

    faux pas: Folding a resume so that it fits into a standard business envelope. Heavy-stock paper that retains its crease can be a nuisance. Says Opton: Theyre easier to store and photocopy if theyre flat. Also, dont try to

    differentiate your resume with boxes or ornate lettering. When recruiters see a resume thats designed differently, they think the persons trying to hide

    something. Instead, focus on content. Your resume will rise to the top of the pile.

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