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Monday, May 26, 2014

1 Reason for Resume Rejection

When interacting with people looking for jobs over the years, frustration with the entire process always comes up in the conversation. Usually, those getting zero to minimal response rate on their job applications are understandably the most irritated. Some seem mystified and oblivious to potential causes and others automatically assume they know exactly why they aren’t getting called.

While there are always multiple factors in play, one of the most obvious culprits of lack of positive attention is a flawed resume. Despite numerous reports suggesting resumes are dead, they still tend to be almost universally required as a first step in applying for a job across the majority of the business world.

I’ve often stated that approximately 95% of the thousands of resumes I’ve seen could benefit from some form of improvement.Perhaps that figure sounds extreme, but the reason it is so high is that I truly believe (as do many others) that a resume is intended to serve as the best possible first impression a person can make to a prospective employer.

Some people have told me that those standards are too harsh and that it is unfair to judge someone’s entire career from a single document. That opinion may seem reasonable on the surface, but delve into what it represents from a business standpoint to see if it holds true.

Let’s consider that a person applying for a professional level job (in an extraordinarily competitive job market where employers are only willing to consider the top tier talent) is expected to demonstrate the following in order to be eligible for an interview:

Ability to communicate professionally both verbally and in writing with one’s target audience
Attention to detail and concern for quality in work-related physical documents or electronic content
Comprehension of proper word usage, verb tense, grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation and formatting when producing business-oriented correspondence

The above is an extremely limited list and doesn’t even get into actual hard skills, technical abilities and specific job related experience, training and education that would be expected. Unfortunately, if lacking, the components listed are precisely the items that will undermine otherwise qualified candidates' ability to convey competence in their field.

The reality is, even if not explicitly expressed in the above manner, most occupations require a person to have a reasonable grasp of basic communication skills. If there is any doubt created in a person’s best first impression introduction message such as their resume, cover letter or even online profile, they may miss more opportunities than they will ever know.

Stubborn job seekers prefer to make assumptions about all sorts of possible reasons they aren’t getting any calls. Of course, in rare cases, there could be room for blame with other circumstances beyond a badly constructed resume.

But many people just prefer making excuses and speculating about how evil applicant tracking systems, discriminatory HR representatives and biased recruiters are at fault and show no willingness to hold themselves accountable for presenting a positive image.

Instead of taking an objective view at how it is perceived when they fail to submit something worthy of being considered for their target job, these job seekers are quite possibly the primary source of their own aggravation.

Article contributed by Kelly Blokdijk (block-dyke) an avid learner with a voracious appetite for artistic expressions including the written word. Along with consuming inordinate amounts of content, she thrives on “creating a voice for talent” as a bold, unconventional and wildly enthusiastic human resources, recruiting, organization development and business communications professional.


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