17 Reasons Why Your Resume Gets Rejected (With Solutions)


Before we talk about the reasons why your Resume gets rejected, we need to understand the way resumes/CVs are created, sent, stored, parsed, reviewed, and screened in the various job portals/job boards, social media platforms, and various ATS (Applicant Tracking System) namely Firstcareercentre.com, Naukri, Monster, Shine, Foundit.com, Linkedin, Facebook, etc. and the reason for resume rejection or why resumes keep getting rejected doesn’t end here.

In today’s world of the internet and technology everything is online and you today apply mostly through online jobs. Every online job has a particular requirement for CV formats and so has every industry and sector. Every HRMS or ATS has its own specific way of parsing the CV format or finding the specific keywords which are very specific or particular to the job role and JD (job description). Many of us use resume makers or builders/CV builders to make resumes, CV/biodata which gives a standard CV format that many times are lacking to be specific to an industry/sector, company, job role, and JD(job description).

Now let’s summarize the points of resume rejection or why your CV/resume got rejected on the basis of stages involved from creating the CV/resume to it being accepted or rejected:

Stage 1 Rejection. CV/Resume Creation:

CV Format – Online Job & Hard Copy Format

When you apply for an offline interview, your Hard Copy CV/Resume Format doesn’t matter so much because it is monitored by the interviewer. When you apply for an online job posting, format matters the most as it is monitored by an ATS.

CV Format – Specific to Industry, Job role, Job description

CV Rejection or why your CV/ Resume gets rejected because you are following the method of One CV serves all which is very difficult otherwise.

For example, A salesperson in pharma or a salesperson in FMCG may have completely different jargon for products, sales, and distribution channels to make sales, or the way the sales are measured.

Therefore using industry-specific terms and jargon of the job title and role and presenting data in the very format shall prove to be helpful in getting your CV/Resume shortlisted. And so, the same principle should apply to Job roles and job responsibilities to help the recruiter hiring manager understand things easily and in context as much as possible. Make things easily understood rather than expecting to be understood, a little bit of well thought, and a planned, and written CV can do wonders.

Stage 2 CV Rejection. Attaching CV/Resume In Emails

When emailing the CV, ensure the following:

Proper use Of the Subject Line:

Mentioning the exact advertisement number or job code or any other number/code mentioned for the post /job /vacancy, etc.

Check Email Id Before Sending:

Ensure to send it to the exact mentioned Email Id, addressing the correct person and department. Along with this, Ensure to send from the email Id you have mentioned in your CV/ Resume to avoid CV/ Resume rejection or to cause confusion in getting any reply from the person who applied instead of finding another email Id mentioned in the CV/ Resume.

Check the Size Of the CV

Sometimes some ATS are not able to parse your full CV because of your huge file limit. To avoid this, please ensure that your CV is below the file size limit of 4MBs which is the general file size limit of any resume parser.

Check Uploaded Attachment

Note: After you upload an attachment, preview if an image is viewable or not. Recruiters who are always under pressure of hiring candidates don’t have the time to ask you for your CV and keep following you.

Check & Ensure Compatibility Of File type that is Sent

Ensure to attach the CV/ Resume, cover letter, and any other documents properly and in formats like PDF, TXT, DOCX & DOC formats that are easy to view and downloadable formats.

Stage 3 Rejection. Uploading CV/Resume To Job portals

As mentioned above, Job Portals don’t support specific types of formats like GIF, and jpeg formats for CVs. Therefore, Formats like PDF, TXT, DOCX & DOC formats that are downloadable formats

Stage 4 Rejection. Parsing Of CV/Resume by ATS or HRMS

Add Keywords and Specification

When your resume goes to a resume parser i.e. ATS, it searches for specific keywords and specifications.

Now, there are some specific ATS Friendly Keywords that you should mention in your resume. The resume headline and Skills Sections are the primary sections where an ATS would generally search for a keyword.

These keywords are specified by the HR Recruiters and can easily be founded in the job description of the job posting. All you have to do is note the keywords and phrases that repeatedly come in the JD(job description) and include them in your resume in the above-mentioned sections.

For example, if you are applying for a lead role of React Developer, the possible ATS keywords would be –

  • “React” in Hard Skills Section
  • “Leadership” in Soft Skills Section
  • “Good Communication” in Soft Skills Section
  • “Leadership experience” in Resume Headline
  • “8 years of experience” in Resume Headline (may vary)

Pro Tip: More & More keywords and specifications could be founded from the JD itself. Include all Hard Skills mentioned in the JD.

Correct Typos & Grammatical Errors

This couldn’t be explained more easily: If you have spelling mistakes in your resume there is an 80% chance that you won’t pass the ATS stage. As mentioned in the last Tip, keywords should be mentioned in your resume.

Imagine that you spelled “React” as “Reakt” or “Reacktt”, do you think that the ATS would pass you? ATS only searches for specific HR-defined keywords and if you don’t check the boxes, you can’t even reach HR.

Secondly, if you have Grammatical errors then even if you pass the ATS, HR could reject you for a “Lead” or “Data-Entry” position instantly as Grammar and Communication is essential for these roles. That’s why you should double-check your resume before sending it to HR and make sure that you have no grammatical errors.

Avoid Un-Readable Or Silly Fonts

Fonts like Curlz MT aren’t readable fonts. These fonts are way more than artistic and this can lead HRs to miss pointing out their top skills and worth. In worst cases, if your font is too clumsy or untidy then ATS wouldn’t be able to read your resume correctly and reject you instantly.

Pro Tip: Always prefer to use simple fonts like Calibri, Aerial, and Serif fonts for the best results.

Your font size also matters here if your font is somewhat less than 10 pixels then your resume becomes very untidy and busy. Again, HRs may miss your core points and skills and get you aside from getting shortlisted.

Use Preferred Date Format Of ATS

As we have the habit from the school of writing dates in mm/dd/yyyy, In an ATS the most supported dates format is mm/yyyy format. This is important to mention in the Work Experience Section, so we should try to use the preferred dates format for the best results.

Pro Tip: Use Reverse-Chronological Order in your Work Experience Section as it is the most compatible order with an ATS.

Stage 5 Rejection: CV/Resume Reviewing & Screening By HR

Once your CV is parsed based on keyword-based parsing, Grammatical parsing, and Statistical parsing by the ATS, your CV is reviewed and screened on the basis of the following points – Job Title/ Job role, Duties & Responsibilities in the above roles, Achievements in terms of Increase in positive metrics and decrease in negative metrics, Awards & Accolades, All required educational degrees, and qualifications should be properly mentioned so that your CV doesn’t get rejected.

Mention Qualifications & Degrees

Suppose, you want to apply for a team lead in a company D, and the minimum requirements or qualifications are-

  • Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology
  • 10+ years of experience in the technological field
  • Good Communication Skills

The Education Section can’t be changed but must include all the degrees that you currently have. Second, “10+ years of experience…..” in the job title and “Good Communication Skills” in the Soft Skills Section.

Provide Application Materials

Submitting a cover letter is not always necessary. But it’s something that HR would like for sure. A cover letter acts as a bridge between you and the employer.

More than 85% of recruiters are demanding it and it’s also a must-have in big companies.

In a cover letter, you can submit reasons for employment gaps in your career history, briefly introduce yourself, and tell why you are a perfect fit for the company. Alongside, You could also list some hard-coded achievements that you have achieved.

Extra Benefits: A good cover letter always helps you grab HR’s attention on the first try. He/she digs deeper into your CV or Resume spiking the chances of you getting interviewed

Explain Employment Gaps

Employment gaps have already become a general period in this age of large layoffs and job cuts.

Many candidates do the mistake of expanding the employment dates and when an HR asks for the offer letter and resignation letter of the candidates they simply fly away and don’t get a chance of getting employed by big companies.

So the best way to counter this situation is to give the reason for your employment gaps in your cover letters because leaving any doubt in the recruiter’s mind will simply higher the chances of getting rejected by 70% because HRs face these types of situations in their daily routine.

Provide Appropriate Contact Details

A simple mistake and your CV is no longer shortlisted, Imagine that you got approval from the ATS but never heard back from HR. If your email is wrong or there is a small mistake of digits in your phone number then it makes it nearly impossible to contact you.

So it’s best that you double-check your email and phone number before sending it to HR.

Check & Ensure Compatibility Of File type that is Sent

While attaching the CV/Resume, cover letter, or any other documents, ensure that they are properly attached and in proper downloadable formats like TXT, PDF, DOC, and DOCX formats.

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