4 Little-Known Mistakes That "Burn" 72% Of Resumes - Delta Position

4 Little-Known Mistakes That “Burn” 72% Of Resumes

By on June 29, 2015
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If you have ever tried to write a resume, you already know that this is not an easy task to take on. So much information goes into a resume; from your career objective to the list of your qualifications. Your resume should also be personal, convey confidence and set your best foot forward in order to impress a potential employer. However, before your resume even gets to that employer, it will have to get through their automated screening software first.

With the overwhelming amount of applications received for each job posting, employers and recruiting firms have no choice, but to rely on these “robots” to shortlist resumes for them. As a result, an estimated 72% of resumes NEVER get seen by human eyes.

The following are the most commonly made mistakes in resume composition:

1. Lengthy paragraphs describing your experiences.

To list the responsibilities you’ve had in your past professional experience, you are best off using bullet points that begin with action verbs, such as “managed”, “developed”, etc. and include keywords related to the job posting. Without the relevant keywords, your resume is going in the trash – guaranteed.

You do not need to use full sentences, and you certainly do not need to use the paragraph format. This makes the information in your resume overwhelming and difficult to review quickly for both humans and machines. Make your statements brief and clear; don’t add words to fill in space.

2. Incorrect company/school listings.

Another mistake people make, without realizing that they are making it, is not referring to the past employers and/or the school(s) they’ve attended by their full names. Do not use variations of company and school names. Don’t use abbreviations unless they are in fact part of the name. If you have attended New York University, list the complete name, not just NYU.

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The automated screening software is sometimes programmed to only shortlist resumes based on certain keywords, which could very well be prominent company names and famous schools. You don’t want to get tossed aside because of something as easily avoided as this. In addition, some hiring managers might simply not be familiar with abbreviations of shortened names. You also don’t want to appear sloppy or as if you don’t pay attention to details.

3. Typos.

One of the most important factors in crafting a winning resume is proof reading. You want to put your best foot forward. If your resume contains grammar and spelling problems,it might get “flagged” by the screening software, which could be configured to automatically reject documents that have over a certain percentage of errors. Even if it gets through, your potential employer will get an impression that you are not detail-oriented.

Yes, sometimes it is hard to proof a document you have been working on so closely – so use spell check (but beware, it will not catch everything), ask your friends for help, meet with a career counselor or a mentor. Do your best to present the most polished resume to your potential employers.

4. Cramming content into a single page

One of the most common challenges is creating a resume that formats well on a single page. As a rule, a resume should not exceed two pages. However, in recent years, it has become commonplace for professionals to change jobs frequently, and listing all the experiences, in addition to your career objective, education, qualifications and references, can certainly take up a lot of space.

Do not use a small font in order to fit everything into your resume. The reason for this is simple: not only it is hard on the eyes to read, it is also pretty much guaranteed to get rejected by automated screening software. These “robots” are not equipped to deal with things like miniscule font sizes, unusual font types, margins filled with text and complex tables.

There is not a single area in your resume that should have a font size of less than 11 points. Keep in mind the font type you are using – sticking to the basics, like Arial, is your best bet.

Instead of changing the font size, or trying to cram a few extra lines into the margins, review and revise your resume to make your statements more focused and concise.


Make sure you are not making these four little-known mistakes, so your resume doesn’t get “burned” by the robots (or their human “masters!). Keep in mind, these are the most common problems, but more and more issues become known as we learn more about how these screening systems work.

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