BlogResume WritingWhy is My Resume Getting Rejected? Guide on How to Fix This!

Why is My Resume Getting Rejected? Guide on How to Fix This!

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So, you’re an esteemed professional with plenty of knowledge and experience or a motivated newcomer eager to progress their career. You keep applying for jobs that match your qualifications but can’t seem to land an interview. It’s only natural that you start asking yourself, “Why is my resume getting rejected?”

The simple answer is—it depends. There are several key reasons why your document doesn’t grab attention or gets discarded without even being looked at. We’re going to explore what those reasons are and give you actionable steps on how to improve your resume to stop it from being rejected. Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Your resume can get rejected for multiple reasons, including an unprofessional email address, a poor format, or a distasteful layout.

  • Many hiring managers will also reject generic resumes that aren’t tailored to the specific position and have a lot of irrelevant details.

  • Some of the best ways to ensure your resume isn’t rejected are to use a proven format, avoid fluff, and meticulously proofread the document after writing it.

  • You can use a resume builder to automate the process and make sure your resume is ATS-friendly with an industry-standard format and layout.

5 Reasons Why Your Resume Might Get Rejected

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Let’s examine some of the most common reasons why resumes are rejected. We’ll also give you instructions on how to fix any underlying issues and effortlessly optimize your document to avoid it being turned down.

#1. Unprofessional Email Address

Having an unprofessional email address is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your resume rejected. In the business world, where communication is crucial, having an improper email signals a lack of awareness and maturity.

As a job seeker, you want to demonstrate professionalism in every way possible. An inappropriate email address can signal to recruiters that you don’t take the application process, the job that you’re applying to, or even the company seriously enough.

Since this detail goes in the header of your resume, in the contact information section, it’ll likely be one of the first things hiring managers will see.

Having an email address with unnecessary numbers and nicknames (e.g., “1lovemus1c@email.com ") can leave an unfavorable impression and get your resume rejected immediately.

A generally accepted format for an email address goes along the lines of “firstname.lastname@email.com.” So, if you’re still adding an unprofessional email address to your resume, you should create a new one for the business environment.

Pro tip

You should also optimize your LinkedIn profile to make it look clean and professional before adding it below your email address.

#2. Generic, Copy-Paste Resume

Generic, copy-paste resumes show a lack of commitment and indicate laziness. Since you didn’t take the time to write a proper resume, hiring managers can think that you didn’t research the job ad or their company and don’t fully understand the position.

A lack of customization and personalization can make your resume bland and uninspiring to read. Furthermore, the document will likely fail to display the specific skills and accomplishments that hiring managers want to see, which can put you at a disadvantage compared to other applicants.

The solution to this is to craft a resume that is tailored to the position that you’re applying for. Look into the role and the organization to determine which of your skills and accomplishments impact the hiring managers, and then include those.

For instance, instead of cluttering the skills section of your resume with every ability that comes to mind, only include the select hard and soft skills that you know are useful for the job. The same goes for listing past jobs and achievements in the work history sections. Go for quality over quantity.

#3. Including Unnecessary Information

Including unnecessary information can be just as bad as having a copy-paste resume and get it rejected for multiple reasons. This is mostly because it dilutes your resume's quality by taking attention away from important details.

Keep in mind that many hiring managers spend as little as 6–7 seconds skimming through resumes. If they encounter unnecessary details during that time, they might conclude that you’re unfit for the job and move on to the next candidate. 

Even if they dedicate enough time to reviewing your entire resume, excessive irrelevant information can still get your resume rejected. It makes you appear unfocused and disorganized, as well as unable to prioritize and effectively communicate valuable details about your skills and experience.

Pro Tip

Ultimately, your resume should be one page long, concise, and focused only on the information that is relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

#4. Poor Formatting

Poor formatting and a messy layout make your resume visually unappealing and hard to read, which can result in an instant rejection. First, the illogical order of information in your resume can confuse the reader, who might not find what they are looking for.

That’s why you want to use an established resume format, such as chronological, functional, or combination. Moreover, there’s a consensus on how you should line up the sections of your resume.

The order goes like this:

Resume Format Order

  1. Contact information

  2. Resume objective/summary

  3. Work history

  4. Education

  5. Skills

  6. Optional sections

Then, there’s the question of layout mistakes and inconsistencies. First, you shouldn’t be using fonts that are difficult to read or a mix of many different fonts in a single resume. Furthermore, don’t overdo it with colors and graphics; you want a clean and professional document.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong by following the business letter format. Keep the sections distinct and easy to spot, have at least one-inch margins on all sides, and don’t forget to leverage bullet points to make your writing concise and impactful.

#5. Not Emphasizing Achievements

Not emphasizing achievements fails to highlight your true potential to hiring managers. So, if you’re a highly accomplished individual wondering why your resume is getting rejected, chances are you aren’t portraying yourself in the best light.

Pro Tip

This is most important in the resume summary and work experience sections. These are the places where you should underline your most prominent achievements and most notable results.

Some candidates make the mistake of listing everyday tasks and responsibilities they had during previous employment. Unfortunately, a resume that focuses too much on regular duties likely won’t set the candidate apart from everyone else who has done similar work.

Instead, you want to talk about outstanding endeavors demonstrating exceptional knowledge, skill, and dedication. To make these achievements truly stand out, you should use numbers and statistics to quantify them, as well as action verbs and power words to make them memorable.

Here’s an example:

Emphasizing Achievements Example

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4 Tips to Ensure Your Resume Doesn’t Get Rejected

how to write a cv

Let’s check out some pro tips that will help you minimize the number of resume or CV rejection emails you get. By leveraging these suggestions, you’ll end up with an ATS-friendly resume that grabs attention and optimally demonstrates your competence.

#1. Avoid Fluff

Eliminating fluff from your resume makes it concise and focused. It ensures that every bit of information a reader sees is essential and contributes to portraying you as the right person for the job.

A brief resume with highly relevant details is much better than an overcrowded document where half of the writing is vague, generic, or unrelated to the role that you’re going for. You want to be effective at communicating your competencies and not waste the hiring manager’s time, risking them discarding your resume.

#2. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

Proofreading is vital to avoid making mistakes in your resume. Even a simple typographic or punctual error or a mispronunciation draws the wrong kind of attention. It weakens your resume and makes you appear less professional.

Having these mistakes indicates a lack of diligence and attention to detail, both of which are highly desirable qualities in the business world. Moreover, taking the time to review your resume once it's finished allows you to iron out the kinks and make final adjustments that can result in an even better document.

#3. Use a Resume Builder

A well-designed resume builder minimizes your chances of making mistakes by automating most of the crafting process. Novice job-seekers can use them to produce their first resume effortlessly, while experienced professionals leverage these software solutions to speed up creation processes significantly.

Our resume builder comes with presets and templates that have already passed the dreaded ATS resume checker. The simplest way to use it is to input your details in the designated areas and download a finished product. If you want to go the extra mile, you’ll find plenty of customization options that allow you to change everything, from fonts to colors.

#4. Incorporate Keywords

Certain words and phrases in your resume function as keywords. Applicant tracking software scans resumes for these keywords and can accept or reject a document based on its findings. Even hiring managers often skim through resumes and only stop to pay closer attention when they spot a term that catches their interest.

One of the most common types of keywords is skills. ATS and hiring managers will go through your resume summary or objective, work experience section, and skills section, looking for particular abilities pertinent to the job. The same goes for a job title in the contact information section and your past roles in the work history section.

That’s why you should pay attention to the job ad and ensure that the terminology in your resume matches the requirements posted by the employer.

Final Thoughts

A resume is your entry ticket into the professional world. Many candidates who wonder why their resumes are getting rejected simply keep making the same mistakes while writing them.

Regardless of your skills or experience, you throttle your chances of success if you don’t demonstrate your competence optimally. More than that, a simple typo or an improper email address can result in an immediate rejection.

The upside is that you can take advantage of the guidelines, tips, and tricks outlined in this article to get ahead of the competition. Remember, resumes are all about making strong first impressions, so make those impressions count!

Kervin Peterson
Kervin Peterson
Career Coach
Whether you need help preparing for an interview, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, or creating a resume, you can rest assured that our dear Kervin Peterson can help! Kervin is a man who can turn obstacles into experience with his eyes closed, always striving to bring the most to the table. Other than being a career coach, he’s a new dad and loves nothing more than hitting the gym and spending time with his family!

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