Most of the time there are more people looking for work than jobs available. Employers get overwhelmed with resumes and applicants and are often not able to provide candidates with a reason for not being selected. As a recruiter, I know this can be unsettling. To help answer the question why, here are four of the most common reasons people do not get past the resume stage and how you can improve your chances.

  1. Your skills don’t match – First, know the company and the job you are applying for. Know what job it is and what skills are needed. Make your skills and abilities are easily noticeable on your resume. So many times people are rejected from an opportunity because the resume failed to do its job. It is the tool you use to open the door to an interview and must show how you can remedy the employers need. Use honest, accurate information including your work history, volunteer work and personal experiences. Make sure to highlight the skills you have that are needed in the job.
  2. Short-term jobs and gaps – You can’t change the past. If you have gaps in employment or multiple short-term jobs (less than a year), you’ll want to be honest, but may want to focus on a more positive aspect of your work history. In these situations, a skill-based resume may be the best option. You can find many free online resources for help with this. This way you are highlighting your skills and abilities first then offering a short list of places and dates you have worked.
  3. Missing/incorrect contact information – You might be amazed at how many people do not get the “call” simply because employers can’t make the call. Missing, incorrect or inactive information can cause you to miss the opportunity. Busy employers will not be able to track down information on you, continue to call or email, etc. It is critical that your contact information is correct and working properly. Use numbers that are reliable and always try to provide at least two phone numbers and a valid email. Return calls and respond to emails timely and professionally.
  4. Red-flag resumes – If you want to be taken seriously, it may be good to make sure your resume looks the part. Every job is different, but one thing is common with them all; employers want good employees that care and do a good job. Proving you care starts with your resume. Typos, bad formatting, poor grammar, missing information, spelling errors, leaving off dates of employment, etc., can suggest that you do not care enough to take the time to put your resume together properly. Use free online tools or local resources if you need help formatting a resume. Use spell check and always have a friend or family member proofread to point out any errors you may have missed.

Check these four problem areas before sending out your next resume and you may land that interview.

Stacie Wills

About Stacie Wills


Stacie shares her experience and expertise to help build stronger communities by supporting employees and applicants in the ever changing world of work. From ethical work practices that have not changed in many years to best practices that change all the time, she can guide you through the challenges of finding and keeping steady work or growing your career.