Five Reasons Your Resume Is Rejected

And How To Turn It Into Your Own Personal Marketing Machine

Highlights From the Previous Episode

But before we do, in our last show, episode 005, we talked about The Hidden Job Market and How You Can Find It
As a reminder, The “hidden job market” refers to job openings that are not posted online or advertised.

  • Positions are posted internally with hopes that employees will refer candidates.
  • Human resources receives too many applications.
  • Human resources is focusing on priority openings.
  • Sensitive high-level position.
  • Replacing someone with a critical function that the company cannot afford to be without.
  • Extremely low supply of highly specialized skills. These openings are typically given to recruiters.

If you missed it, you can listen by going to

On This Episode

Hottest spots on a resume.
Heat map studies of where Recruiters are looking on your resume.


1. Format and Layout

  • Doc/RTF/PDF
  • Contact Info in Header
  • Templates are a problem for ATS’s
  • Versions for online vs in person
  • How much contact info?
  • Top third (above the fold)
  • Titles most important, then company, then dates to the right.Duties in a small paragraph (2 to 3 lines)
  • Accomplishments in bullet points (2 to 3 for each position held.
  • 10 years work history is enough.
  • Fill gaps with volunteer / continuing education
  • Education at the bottom listing degree but leave off year.
  • No personal information i.e. height, weight, pictures, marital status, religious or political affiliation.
  • Leave off superfluous and “duh” type information, like “Resume upon request”

2. A resume in not a Biography.

It is a marketing brochure. Highlighting the benefit/value you bring to the company. Thorough company research is required to understand the position and how you fit in.

3. Leave off an objective.

It limits your opportunities. Use a Professional Overview instead. This should highlight major accomplishments and value you bring to the prospective employer.

4. Accomplishments vs. Duties.

While some duties may be necessary, these should not be the obvious that everyone in that position typically performs. These should be the high profile duties that make a significant contribution to the workflow. Focus mostly on Accomplishments – how you have made money, saved money or improved process. Think of challenges you faced, the action you took to address the challenge and the result of your action. Use numbers whenever possible, i.e. % increase, top 3 in the country, etc. Remember, try your best to only use bullet points for accomplishments.

5. Keywords are paramount.

Once again, you must do your research to know them. In addition to recognizing them on the company website, in job postings, and in conversations you have with people inside the company during informational interviews, use a tool such as or on iOS devices.


In order for your resume to get you the attention you deserve, 1. Format your resume properly keeping ease of reading / scanning in mind. 2. A resume is a marketing brochure, not an auto biography. 3. Use a Professional Overview in the place of an Objective. 4. Focus on Accomplishments rather than putting so much emphasis on duties. 5. Use Keywords that match the position and culture of the company.

Something to Ponder

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana Thank you for spending time with me today. I truly appreciate it. You can find the show notes including any links and references mentioned today at

What are your thoughts?

What challenges do you have in writing your resume? What have you found to work well for you? Share what you think with the other listeners in the comment section of the show notes.   Until next time …

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