Top 5 reasons employers reject resumes

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A well-written resume is often the first important step that makes the difference between landing a job interview and not even being considered for the position.

“The research indicates most hiring managers spend an average of seven to 10 seconds looking over a resume before moving on to the next one in the pile,” said DAV National Human Resources Director Cody VanBoxel. “This is why military-to-civilian skills translation is vital as well as knowing what causes resumes to get tossed aside.”

Self-branding expert and author of Your Next Mission: A Personal Branding Guide for the Military-To-Civilian Transition, Lida Citröen, offers the top five reasons employers reject resumes.

  1. There is no such thing as a “generic” resume.

If you’re of the belief that a one-size-fits-all resume works, you’re missing a big part of what recruiters and hiring managers look for,” said Citröen. “They want to see candidates who possess the skills and experience to do the work and have the passion, goals and values that align with the company culture.”

  1. There is no excuse for a typo or bad grammar.

“In today’s world of readily-available spell check apps, programs and tools, it is inconceivable how a job seeker can still send over a resume with errors,” Citröen said. “After running your resume through a spell check program, have two or three friends read through it to be sure it is perfect.”

  1. There is inconsistent or missing information.

Missing or inconsistent information could lead to questions of attention-to-detail, truthfulness, ‘is he hiding something?’ and overall questioning of why the information is missing,” Citröen said.

She said common examples of missing information include missing dates from jobs, forgetting to provide a bulleted list of accomplishments on some jobs but not others or leaving out the degree received at a university listed on the resume.

  1. Too many short-term jobs.

If you’ve recently separated or retired, you might have several short-term jobs on your resume,” said Citröen. “This isn’t a deal breaker, but it does require explanation.”

Citröen recommended explaining why a veteran has sought new positions in a short amount of time in either a cover letter or at the end of the resume.

  1. The resume doesn’t articulate the value you can add to their company.

While your resume is a look back over your career, experiences, education, skills and credentials, the employer wants to see how your past performance indicates future success and contribution,” Citröen said.

She recommends writing the resume from the viewpoint of a hiring manager or recruiter and to think about what they would want to learn about you while reading it.

“If you can position yourself to them in the best possible light for the position you’re targeting, your chances of getting an interview are sure to increase,” Citröen said.


Resume writing tips are available at DAV’s employment resources webpage.