Resume Tips: The 5 best ways to land your resumé in the trash


After reading a few resumé articles online and feeling completely frustrated by their bad advice I decided to clarify a few important points. Given the multitude of misinformation out there regarding resumé tips, strategies, and techniques I want to help set the record straight.

Here are the five best ways to get your resumé thrown in the trash by a potential hiring manager.

1. Forget to include a cover letter

Not attaching a cover letter to a resumé is like shooting in the dark. Hiring managers are receiving hundreds of resumés for vacancies every week and if they don’t know where to place you from the start you’re likely to be discarded altogether. Clearly indicate on your cover letter which position you are applying to and why. Don’t assume they’ll just get it from reading your resumé.

2. Use an objective

Point blank objectives are bad form. No one uses an objective anymore because they express what you – the employee wants versus how you can supply what the employer needs. Instead utilize a career summary that will ‘show’ not just ‘tell’ the employer how you can meet their needs.

3. Use headings like profile and career summary versus a powerful sales pitch

Do not waste space is what I tell my professional resumé writers. Think of a Career Profile as a FREE billboard that you can use to advertise your best attributes. Instead of titling your career summary – Career Summary, create an eye-catching sales pitch like: Award-winning and market-driven sales strategist. See how instead we’re selling them on who you are from the start?

4. Leave out keywords

Not just keywords but industry specific keywords – your resumé may not even make it into the hiring manager’s hand never mind landing in the trash. I read an online article on a wildly popular job board site that stated only 25% of recruiters use scanners to find resumés so keywords were overrated. They couldn’t be more wrong!

Did they forget about how over 90% of major employers use job boards to find qualified candidates?! What does a job board do? It scans its database of resumés based on the industry specific keywords a recruiter enters and pulls up all applicable resumés by relevance. Guess who is the most relevant? You guessed it the person with the most matching keywords.

Here are examples of industry specific keywords: account manager, accounts payable, account executive, sales manager, human resources manager, executive trainer. Here are some examples of what a keyword is not: great communicator, excellent presentation skills, team builder, or written and verbal skills.

5. Small mistakes or grammatical errors

It always pays to have someone else review your resumé. They will find little goofs that your eyes will overlook. Even one small error like leaving out a punctuation mark, misspelling a word, or leaving a sentence unfinished. These are resumé killers and ALWAYS land your resumé promptly in the trash can. Choose one or two people to review your resumé and if you don’t know anyone with great editing skills there are companies out there or writers out there you can hire just to review and edit your resumé.

Jessica Holbrook is a former Executive Hiring Manager for Fortune 500 companies and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates powerful, customized, and targeted resumes that are guaranteed to get her clients interviews.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for [American] college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.