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20 Reasons Why Your Resume is Being Rejected

20 Reasons Why Your Resume is Being Rejected

Searching for a job can be like a full-time job itself, but worse because no one is paying you.  It can take hours to back your "accomplishments" into the position you are applying for, and then it takes another hour just to guess the format that will most resonate with the employer. Is Times New Roman too stuffy? Does using my middle initial make me sound smart or pretentious? Should I list my education first? Or employment history? What about my time as a waiter? Does it show I’m scrappy and down to earth or that I wasn’t interning at PricewaterhouseCoopers?

For your benefit, I’ve turned my own failures into a list of failures that you can now read. Here are the top 20 reasons you didn’t know your resume was being rejected for:

  1. You aren’t the niece of the CEO.
  2. You couldn’t afford an unpaid internship with the same company while you were putting yourself through college.
  3. Your resume comes off as stiff and old-fashioned.
  4. Your resume comes off as too green.
  5. The reader knew someone with the same name as you who was kind of an asshole to him in college.
  6. You listed a few hobbies on your resume to show a more robust picture of yourself: the reader found this superfluous.
  7. You listed a few hobbies on your resume to show a more robust picture of yourself: the reader also played lacrosse, but went to a rival school and, all things being equal, which they will never be, would never hire a Blue Devil.
  8. The reader spilled coffee on it.
  9. You grew up in a low income area and went to the nearest school, which was low performing.
  10. You went to the same boarding school your parents went to and it seems like you’ve never had to overcome hardship.
  11. You have a lot of degrees so it seems like you might be more of a philosopher than a doer.
  12. You dropped out of school because you had to care for an ailing family member, but your lack of degree reads as “no perseverance.” 
  13. You went abroad after graduating instead of going straight into the work force, so you delayed your Series 7.
  14. You never studied abroad so the reader thinks you might lack cultural awareness.
  15. You only speak one language because your immigrant parents insisted that you speak only English because they knew how cruel kids would be and wanted you to fit in. 
  16. You are bilingual, but your first language is not English, so communication might be an issue.
  17. You invested in a logo for your name to show off your background in design, but the reader finds it distracting. 
  18. You used a standard resume format to let your experience speak for itself, but the reader was really distracted by the fancy block letters on another resume and never read yours.
  19. The reader spilled wine on it.
  20. You asked for a living wage.

In sum, you should really just be the niece of the CEO.

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