Jobs generally receive far more applicants than can be employed, and often too many to even properly consider. The first step taken by a potential employer is to skim all applications and work out which CVs or resumes are worth reading. Usually only 20% will be chosen to be read properly. Make sure you are in that 20%!
For some jobs, thousands of people apply. The resumes cannot all be read – there simply is not enough time. Potential employers will look for certain mistakes and discard any resumes with them. Make sure your resume does not have these so that you go through to the interview stage!
Typically, only 20% of resumes are read. From these, between a quarter and a half of people typically get interviewed. All you have to do is make sure you are in the original 20% or you have no chance at all.
Error #1: Wrong Title
If your resume has “Job A application” written on the top when you are applying for job B, it will immediately be tossed aside. No-one wants to employ someone who cannot even be bothered changing the title of their resume from the last job they applied for. It does not speak well of your skills in any occupation, and if there are plenty of other applicants, you will be the last sort of person they will be interested in. Check you have the correct workplace on your resume before handing it in. The same goes for names. Don’t address it to “Mr John Smith” when it should be “Mr Joe Bloggs”, and make sure you never put “Mr Susan Smith”.
Error #2: Typos
You got the title correct. The first sentence of your resume or cover letter reads “To whom it may consern, …” It will be read no further. The employer thinks ‘this person can’t even use spell check, and hasn’t bothered to check their application at all! If that’s their attitude towards this job, I don’t want them. Someone who is lazy and can’t use a computer isn’t the person I want.’
Error #3: Grammar
You spell checked your document, but spell check doesn’t always pick things up. The sentence “The reason fro my application is …” will pass a spell checker. Sometimes the wrong words are used, even if they are spelt correctly. Read your application aloud slowly as well as spell checking and you will pick up any stray errors. A person who can’t be bothered to read something over once is not likely to be the sort of person employers want.
Error #4: Irrelevancy
Your resume is well written and makes sense to read. There will usually be a section where you list or mention any achievements you have made. Don’t put “4th grade runner-up in the class spelling competition”, it’s completely irrelevant and the employer couldn’t care less what you did when you were 10. It has no bearing on how well you spell now. Likewise, things like “winner at the local pie eating competition” won’t get you very far unless you are specifically applying for a job as a pie-eater. Things like this make you seem like you have no real achievements, so you are listing meaningless ones to try to look good. Your resume will be discarded if you have these things. Keep your achievements relevant and high-level.
Error #5: Length
A job has five hundred applicants, and your resume is ten pages long. How fantastic you must be to have a ten page resume! Unfortunately, a person skimming through the hundreds of resumes has no time to read ten unnecessary pages. If you can’t sum yourself up in one or two pages, it’s not worth their time to read. They have too much to read already. Employers don’t want a waffler. Anything over three pages is thrown out.
If you follow all these steps, then no matter what the content of your resume, it will make it to the 20% that are then read more carefully. All you have to do then is brush up your content and work on your interview skills, and the job is yours!