Job rejection hurts (this post will help you avoid it).
Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what recruiters like and dislike most about resumes? Happily, a couple of university researchers in Australia had nothing better to do than try to answer this question.
And I had nothing better to do than read the results of their study.
The most impressive part of the study was that they convinced 68 managers and HR professionals
who didn’t have to to read a bunch of resumes and cover letters.
Job Rejection & Acceptance Findings
When the readers DISLIKED a candidate’s resume it was, in order of importance, because:
- They lacked experience.
- The resume had a poor format.
- The resume lacked information.
- They didn’t present their achievements.
- They sent a poor cover letter.
When the readers LIKED a candidate’s resume it was, in order of importance, because:
- They had experience that was relevant to the job at hand.
- The readers liked the format of the applicant’s resume.
- The applicant met the qualifications (things like education, etc.) for the job.
You can learn more about essential resume information that prevents job rejection here.
What the Study Means for You
- You need to have relevant experience for the job (even better if it’s progressively responsible experience).
- Your resume must have a good, easy-to-consume format.
- You must share the information your readers want, not the information you want to share with them. (Note: If those are mutually exclusive, you probably don’t have a career match.)
- Oh, and the cover letter? This study supports the notion that your cover letter can hurt you more than it can help you. So beware!
Source: The Impact of Competency Statements on Resumes for Short-Listing Decisions, Jim E.H. Bright & Sonia Hutton. International Journal of Selection & Assessment, Vol. 9, No. 2, June 2000
Updated February 2019
© 2010 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.