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Career Coach

The Twelve Steps of Rejection

Published December 4, 2013 2:58 PM by Renee Dahring
Hey, it's not the Twelve Days of Christmas, but to get into the spirit of the season I will share with you twelve reasons that can cause your resume to be rejected (and employers will never tell you!).

12. You live too far away. The out of state address and phone number on your resume have employers concerned that your relocation might turn into their headache. They worry that you won't be able to sell your home, your family might talk you out of moving and finally that because you don't have ties to the community you won't stick around. 

11. Your resume showed up by snail mail or fax. I know it's almost 2014, but there are still a few applicants out there that insist on submitting a resume the old fashioned way. Hard copies end up in the trash or in a pile on a desk. It's a digital world and employers are a little frightened by job seekers that aren't comfortable using technology.

10. Your resume is over formatted. You used so many tabs, tables or special effects and formatting doo-dads that when you uploaded or cut and pasted your resume into the employers online application system it became a garbled mess and totally unreadable. 

9.  You applied for every job that was posted and therefore you now have multiple applications in the system. This can be a red flag for employers. Applying for anything and everything makes you look either desperate or like you really aren't sure what it is you want. 

8.  Missing dates. Contrary to what you may have heard you need to include the date of your graduation and for each place of employment.  When applicants omit dates it makes an employer think the job seeker may be trying to hide something. In fact, many employers have their applicant tracking systems set up to automatically exclude applications with missing dates. 

7. You decided to go with a functional format rather than chronological. I know some job seekers do this because they believe by putting a bunch of the keywords from the job description in to a "skills" section it is more likely to trigger a match. The trouble with this strategy is that while it may indeed get the computer to flag you as a match it doesn't do so well with a human reviewer. Detaching your skills from the setting where you performed them just creates confusion. It's important for an employer to know where and when you last used these skills. Oh, and it's really obvious to a "live" person that you were trying to game the system by loading up the keywords.  

Stayed tuned! I will finish the list in my next blog. 

3 comments

So how do you relocate far away from where you currently live? I have had prospective employers tell me the very things you mention. I am not attached to where I live, and would love to move somewhere out west that better suits my active, outdoor lifestyle. Only problem is finding an employer  to take a chance on me.

Robert Fox, Orthopedic Surgery - PA, FHN December 26, 2013 11:37 AM
Freeport IL

This week I am finishing up with the last half of my list of the 12 reasons why your resume may have

December 18, 2013 4:01 PM

Thanks for your article, very helpful as always!

Carol Thelen, FNP December 14, 2013 11:11 AM
Baltimore MD

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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