Trash Resume: 5 Reasons Recruiters Will Throw Out Your Resume


Resumes are written representations of our professional selves.  When done properly, they can develop a well-formed image of the kind of professional we are and want to be in our next role.

Recruiters are keenly trained on sniffing out resumes who just don’t make the cut.  Not a single one of them wants to spend time moving someone forward who isn’t right for the role they are working on.

This process begins (and unfortunately for some can end) with your resume.

Empowered Partnerships LLC polled our Recruiter network to bring you the top 4 reasons Recruiters will add you to the “No” pile without hesitation.


#1 No Employment Dates

There’s too many resumes out there that do not list the dates of their employment.  This is a dead giveaway to Recruiters that this person is trying to hide a short tenure or two and the assumption is often the latter.

Even if you get to have a conversation with a Recruiter without including tenures on your resume, its often one of the very first questions they will ask you.  Even worse, they will also ask you why you chose to not include the tenures.

Most employers will require their Recruiters to verify this information later on with the company you were employed at, so don’t exaggerate!

You can avoid these unpleasant situations from the start by simply disclosing your tenures with dates, short and long.


#2 Way Too General with No Story-Telling

Feeling lazy when writing your resume?  Thinking you can copy and paste from a template you find online?

We wouldn’t recommend it.

When reading resumes, especially as many as Recruiters read day in and day out, they become skilled snipers at identifying when someone has put effort into their resume and when they have just phoned it in.

A good indicator of lazy resume writing is when someone copies the job description of their current or previous jobs into their resume.  This happens more than it should, and its an instant turn off for Recruiters.

Instead, list your basic responsibilities and how you excelled or exceeded them.  This is much more stimulating to read and develops a story for the Recruiter to get excited about.


#3 It Goes On, and On, and On…

Is your resume really long?  Does it include every detail of everything you have done since high school?

If your answer is “Yes”, your resume could be too long.

Recruiters don’t want to see every single detail of every job or project you have had anything to do with.  Its just too much and creates an invisible weight to your resume that is just unnecessary.

Its much better to cut the additional ‘fat’ from your resume and stick to clearly developing the details of the pieces that are most important to creating the image you want to portray.

When in doubt, have a friend read your resume and give you feedback on what adds extra weight.


#4 Your Resume Uses 300 Words or Less

Here’s the opposite side of the spectrum from #3.  For a while there, everyone was feeling the need to include all their experience in “one page or less.”  This was a flat out terrible idea!

Imagine having 5, 10, or even 30 years’ experience and trying to fit it all in one page?  No way this worked to anyone’s advantage other than a lazy Recruiter.

Unless you recently graduated from high school, there is no reason your resume should be so short and even then, you need to add more substance.

Similar to #3, stick to developing the most important pieces that help grow your story.

If you don’t have much experience yet and are looking to gain some, work on creating an image of the type of professional you want to be and how you could contribute to a company’s needs.


#5 There’s Way Too Much Design and Not Enough Content

This one seemed to be one of the most common problems Recruiters don’t care for.  Even if you are in the design industry, this applies to you.

Resumes should never be over-styled.  There’s a lot of templates out there that make job seekers feel like they are showing off how creative they can be.  This is not true, nor is it the appropriate place to do so.

Over-styled resumes can confuse information or create objections in the Recruiters’ minds by not focusing enough on the actual content.  Its better to instead develop strong content with some style.  When used effectively, it will help you stand out a bit, but don’t go for the “look what I can do” look.

If you want to demonstrate your creativity, do so by including links (or URLs) to your website, portfolio page, or projects you have worked on.  Also, make sure all the links are active (this happens more than you think and is an instant turn off).