Why Do Résumés Get Rejected?

I am one of those few people who have not faced any rejection whenever they have applied for a job. I think my personality and articulateness have worked in my favour and I have always been so confident of these two qualities that I never give much heed to my résumé; Looking back, I think I was lucky that I got a job with my silly résumé a few years back. Although I started as a greenhorn in my jobs, my hard-working nature made me survive them. But not many people are that lucky and get such chances in their lives. Today, having reached a level where I can employ good number of people myself, I form the first impression about a potential employee solely through his/her résumé. Also, my industry is such that I may end up selecting a person by short-listing his/her résumé followed by a telephonic interview. In such cases, a good personality or an articulate person would barely make a difference to me since I am not meeting him/her face-to-face. Today, I am aware of the impact a good resume has on me and I am actually ashamed of my résumé that I made a few years back; If I was reading my résumé I am certain I would not have employed myself. Ha! Last year when some students sent me their résumés to edit, I had no other option but to do a thorough research and help them achieve their dreams in whatever little way I could. For days I researched on the topic and, even after I had sent the edited résumés, I didn’t stop researching and making many notes on the reasons the resumes were rejected. I am going to mention a few dos and don’ts one must follow but, before everything else, let’s look at the root of the problem.

According to Wikipedia Curriculum vitae is Latin meaning “course of life” and résumé is French meaning “summary”. In the business world, the word résumé (also spelled resume and résumé) is used especially in the United States and in English Canada. Curriculum vitae and “CV” are used in the United Kingdom in all contexts, with résumé having very little currency. A résumé, commonly written “resume,” is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. It is closely related to a similar document, a curriculum vitae (CV), which focuses more on education, publications, and other accomplishments. Both are typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment. The résumé or CV is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker.
The first and the foremost thing that an applicant to a B School must keep in his/her mind is that the recruiter or ad com does not know anything about you, and your résumé is the first window that would leave an impression about you. I am sure everyone must be aware of the phrase called ’short listing of résumé’; let’s see why some résumés are selected and some rejected in the very first go. An applicant should keep the following basic point in mind before writing a résumé.

A resume should have enough concise material that the recruiter should be able to spend at least 30 seconds before taking any decision.

Coming to the topics of the post:

Why do résumés get rejected?

First Imprints: If you believe that your first impression doesn’t count but only your achievements and accomplishments that do, you are living in a delusion. If your résumé is not able to interest an employer or ad com within first few seconds of screening, it is very likely that you would not be called for the second round. An employer should have a reason to call you for the next round. If your résumé has way ward fonts, bad margins, typographical errors, and multi colours it would definitely leave a bad taste in the very first place itself.

Length: An Applicant should understand that when he is applying for a job or to a B School there are some thousands of résumés that adcom has to review. Neither too little information nor an unending information about you works well. Keep it concise and balanced. The best way is to write a single page résumé by diving it into five sections:
Educational Qualifications
Work Experience
Achievements/ Awards
Additional Information – Interest, Hobbies, GMAT/ TOEFL/IELTS’, Known languages etc.

Shakespeare’s Language- An employer/ adcom is not interested in knowing whether you have learnt the entire Oxford Dictionary or not, they are interested in knowing your qualities and what you can contribute to school or organization. Use a simple language without any flashy words to describe yourself. It’s same as meeting someone at party and that someone introduces himself as ‘ Hi! I am Sam and I am the most handsome man around,.’ You would obviously feel odd and would think, “this is something that I should be deciding”. A lot of people think that if they use exaggerated business-like language, they would be able to impress an employer; it is a wrong assertion. Who writes like this?, ‘Highly impactful professional adorning outstanding communication and management skills’ I’d say- ‘Dude! Calm down. Let me decide that, and also if you do possess these qualities, you should be using them in the very document that you are writing.’

Generalized Résumés: Sometimes applicants write generalized résumés without dividing the document into sections or without providing any stats, these things do not hold enough attention of the recruiter. If you are applying to a B School, the work experience section should be crisp enough to show your reliability in your past organization. Start the description in reverse chronological order and don’t be too loud about the positions that you held rather tell about what you accomplished while doing your previous jobs. Your responsibilities, implementation, how you managed and how much did you generate for the company should be written clearly and concisely. “Generated monthly sales analysis reports for Regional Head” Yawn!! Rather write ” Over 3 years of experience in stock exchange with high expertise in portfolio management, and sales analysis. Consistently among top 15% rated employees and top ranker in University.’

Reviews- Applicants generally don’t get their résumés reviewed from anyone. Always take an opinion from at least two people from the same industry you are applying to but don’t just go on getting it reviewed from every second person, it will only lead you to confusion. People whom you get your résumés reviewed should have basic knowledge about grammar and spellings.

So, these are the reasons why a résumé could get rejected. I’d spend some time on dos and don’ts for writing an effective résumé and add them in my forthcoming posts.

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