Again and again, hiring managers have to reject resumes submitted by candidates who may have been a perfect fit, and who may have helped the company grow and succeed. But these candidates just couldn’t get past the first stage. If you feel you may be falling into this category, here are a few things hiring managers want you to know.
1. Small fibs and exaggerations are easier to spot than you think.
Younger and less experienced job seekers are guiltier of resume exaggerations than others, but the temptation to overstate accomplishments can happen at every level, and is usually a result of frustration with the job-search process. After a long series of rejections, a candidate can start to wonder if anyone is really reading their resume that closely, or at all. And if nobody is even reading this thing, why not stretch the truth a little?
But the whole point of submitting a resume is to let managers read it, and read it carefully. And when they do, keep in mind that they have more experience in this business than you do. They can spot a suspicious or over-exaggerated claim from a mile away, even if you’re certain there’s no way to verify it.
2. Typos really are a turn off, and so are weak language skills.
Reviewers don’t just throw away misspelled resumes on principle. In some cases, this may be a simple mechanism that helps them reduce the resumes in the stack and simplify a difficult decision. But in most cases, a typo in a resume comes off as careless, silly, or even disrespectful. Besides, this is one of the easiest resume problems to fix. Weak language is also a problem, since almost every job requires some level of spoken and written communication skill.
3. Honesty and real experience win the day most of the time, even if your resume doesn’t make it to the final round.
If you really know what you’re doing, this will show. You may be one of dozens of applicants with the same basic skill sets and background, but if you’re honest and straightforward, and you have faith that your personality, interest levels, and passion are enough to set you apart, eventually you’ll land the job that’s right for you. Just be patient.
4. Don’t get discouraged.
When the job market is balanced in favor of employers, and every open position attracts dozens of applications, rejection is simply a matter of numbers—it isn’t personal. Don’t assume hiring managers are laughing at your resume or throwing it angrily into the trash. In fact, they’re probably impressed with your credentials and they wish they could tell you so. But when there are a hundred applicants in the pool and they can only choose one, this sometimes just isn’t possible.
Keep working, keep applying, and keep leaning on your network of real world contacts. The job search may represent a difficult chapter in the story of your career, but once you’ve stepped in the door of a new position you love, you’ll never look back.
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