Résumé Rejection Reasons – An Illustrated Guide – Part 5 – Parting Tips

Part 5 – Parting Tips

A few remaining aspects of résumé creation and submission that did not fit in the previous parts…

Do Not Apply Everywhere

The ‘Careers’ section of a large firm’s website list dozens of job openings at any given time, as it is hiring perpetually. Do not follow the urge of applying to all of those positions, hoping to getting an interview. You’ll only hurt your chances of being shortlisted, if the firm is using a decent ATS, as your multiple résumé submissions will be aggregated and visible to the recruiter. If the openings that you are applying for require completely different skill-sets than your entry level résumé contains, your résumé could be ignored by the same recruiter when a matching position does open up, because of that first impression.

You do miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take, but you don’t jump into a basketball court with a hockey stick either.

This candidate ‘cracked’ the multiple applications restrictions by using different spelling combinations of their name.

Targeted Résumé

If you have the will, time and motivation to customize your generic résumé to highlight the skills that are listed a particular the job description, do invest that time, without stretching the truth, and tweak your résumé. Using the same adjectives and technologies that are mentioned in the job ad is a good start, rearranging your résumé content so the expected attributes are highlighted is even better.

The time that you invest in creating a bespoke résumé would be worth it if it can make the recruiter believe that you are just the right person for the job. Do not stick to a generic résumé that you submit for twenty different openings.

You can further strengthen your application by linking your skills in the cover letter with the job description, through mentioning demonstrable experience and exposure.

Submission Filters

Some job ads have very specific instruction that are to be followed during résumé submission. Read those instructions, read them again, and then follow them precisely. Whether the ad calls for you to submit your résumé in .docx format, to use a specific subject line, or to include certain information at the end of your résumé, do exactly what is asked.

I must confess that I also use such filters to save my time, and I am surprised at the lack of compliance. Even when the job ad explicitly mentions that ‘Résumés that do not follow these instructions will not be considered.’, 90% of the applicants refuse to follow the provided instructions, and are not considered.

You can easily be in the top 10% of candidates who are filtered in, simply by doing what is asked.

ATS Friendliness

Even if your résumé is not the best fit for the job that you applied for, it might still be added to the résumé pool that most large firms maintain, so that it may be reconsidered for future openings.

There is always a shortage of high-quality candidates and an abundance of positions to fill, and don’t let anyone else make you think otherwise.

If your résumé lands in a résumé pool, but it is full of graphics and icons and everything but parsable text, it would most likely drown and would not be usable for other openings if the ATS is unable to properly parse it.

Make sure that your pdf résumé was created from text and not from a mosaic of images created in Photoshop, and also ensure that your skills and technology stack expertise are properly spelled and indexable. One quick test to see ATS friendliness is to save your pdf content as text, if the exported text maintains content some of the structure, the ATS will be happy.


Kaizen is about constant improvement, and is a great philosophy to apply on your résumé until you land a job, and even beyond that, to keep it current. Every day, keep pruning, improving, refining, editing and enhancing your résumé, even if it is one word or one bullet-point, so each future submission shows a better version of your résumé to the world.

Closing Thoughts

This post has evolved into a slightly lengthier version of the couple of pages that I intended to write on the dos and don’ts of résumé writing, mainly to help the fresh graduates out in their first job search. Therefore, whatever you have read above is my personal take and should not be taken as unbreakable rules.

The example images are taken from real résumé submission, to highlight the pitfalls to avoid while creating an entry-level résumé. The images are not shared with the intention of causing distress to the original authors, and I have taken great care to obfuscate any PII. If you find an example from your own résumé and want it removed (instead of learning from the mistake and letting others learn), do get in touch with me and I will replace it.

A résumé and a CV, or Curriculum Vitae, are two different things, but I have used them interchangeably. Recruiters and hiring managers are also different individuals and roles, but are used interchangeably for simplicity.

I’ll touch upon a few more topics that were skipped from this post, based on your feedback and interest, so please share your comments, and this post with someone who can use it.