Sure Ways to Get Your Resume in the "No" Pile

We were recently looking to fill a "Senior Java Developer" position. We got some interesting applications that went straight into the "no pile". I'm sure there are tons of list out there like this one but I couldn't resist listing a few of the things I saw:

  • Your resume looks like it was written using Microsoft Works for Windows. It kind of document I might have made in 1990 with my old 386.
  • Your resume is 7 pages long. This guy thought "don't make your resume 3-4 pages" meant that it should be even longer, not shorter. Sorry, if you can't summarize your experience in 1-2 pages, or, if you can't put in the effort to tailor your resume for the specific position, you're probably incapable of doing a lot of other things.
  • The subject line of your email says that you are applying for the Senior Software Developer position and then in the closing line of your cover letter you say "I'd like to apply my skills and experience in working as a Scientific programmer." Never let on what you really want to be doing. Pretend that you actually want the job you're applying for. It is possible that this particular applicant copied and pasted from a different cover letter. So double-check your letter for typos. But there's still no way we're going to higher someone who applied for a Scientific Programmer position at a different company for a Senior Developer/Architect type position at ours.
  • You used Word's highlight tool to highlight certain words in your resume using red, green, and yellow. Yeah that's right, I'm not talking about using the "font colour" tool, but the "highlight" tool in Word. Someone actually did that.
  • You didn't attach any resume. Only a cover letter contained bulleted lists and a transcript. You're wasting your time (and mine).
  • You put things like "Watching movies & TV", "computer games", "listening music" (is the music doing the listening?), "internet surfing", and "driving" in the hobbies section of your resume. Better yet, don't even put a hobbies section. What you do in your spare time is your own business. Well, put a few interesting or unique things in if you want.
  • Your resume lists the 3 Indian languages you are fluent in. Ask yourself: is that important for this job with a North American company?
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Comments

You put things like "Watching movies & TV", "computer games", "listening music" (is the music doing the listening?), "internet surfing", and "driving" in the hobbies section of your resume. Better yet, don't even put a hobbies section. What you do in your spare time is your own business. Well, put a few interesting or unique things in if you want.

The "hobbies" section in applications is always something that I find extremely funny.

Let's face it: Almost no one has interesting hobbies. Hobbies are interesting to the person that is involved in them but most are just retarded. And that's fine; we all have these little dumb things that are important to us but that others laugh at.

Putting something like that into your resume will only make you look weird, plus "watching TV" is not a hobby, that's a way to kill time.

Sometimes people take their crap just too seriously and don't reflect on what they are doing. It is probably some consulting company's fault cause they stated that a resume has to include a "hobbies" section, but as long as they are not of concern for the job, they have no place in the text.

If you apply for a very important position that the company really depends on, maybe you should actually avoid putting your extreme sports hobbies in there ;)

Some of those are quite clever. I had never thought of using Word to highlight the important parts. :p

On the same hand though if you ever come up with any serious tips on what I should do as opposed to what I shouldn't do, I'd like to see those as well.

Barring the discriminatory implications of "Your resume lists the 3 Indian languages you are fluent in. Ask yourself: is that important for this job with a North American company?", for some (larger U.S. multinational) companies this would be valued.

You gotta diversify them bonds, ...

Sorry I didn't mention how many people our company has or what it's scope is. We have 50 fifty people and entirely based out of Vancouver. Knowing 3 Indian languages is about as useful as having "experience working with kids" or "experience handling money." I used to put "fluent in French" on my resumes when I was in younger, then dropped it when I applied for serious jobs. If I was applying for a job at Business Objects in Vancouver, for example, I might put that on my resume, as Business Objects has an office in France and I know people who work in Vancouver who have had to travel to Paris for business. I would expect someone to research a company beforehand. I would look at the company I am applying for and decide whether that is a skill that would offer any value to the company.

Yes, I am prejudicing and discriminating against candidates that don't put in any effort to research the company they are applying for and don't tailor their resume to suit each position.

What about people who don't proof read what they are writing before posting for the whole world to see?

Not claiming to know a great deal about Vancouver, but aren't there copius amounts of people living in Richmond who are of an East Indian background? From my understanding, they are quite affluent, and well educated. One would think that they may be applying for jobs in Vancouver, no?

Also, doesn't Vancouver have a large Asian and East-Asian population?
When I was there some 6 years ago I took one of the great bus tours around the city and we were told by the guide that the population was 43% Asian (he didn't specifically categorize which groups were being considered as being "Asian", but one would have to acknowledge that Chinese would be the predominat group.)

I'm not sure exactly what your point is, but I think you are saying that knowing 3 Indian languages might be useful? It was not at all useful at our company, a high-tech company where we converse in English. We certainly have people that speak more than one language but the one and only language that everyone can speak is English. So mentioning that you know 3 Indian languages on your resume shows a bit of ignorance (or maybe just naivety) for the work environment, and if you don't mention your competency in the English language as well, it makes it appear as if you speak Indian languages better than you speak English. When screening 100 resumes I am very picky. I don't have time to interview candidates that don't at least have a 50% of working out. So that means only realy good resumes even get a phone screen, and even fewer get a full in-person interview.

Oh, David, I could write a book on resumes. I have been a Recruiter for over 8 years and I also personally hired over 300 people during the dot com days.

There are lots of stories but I remember one from someone who applied for a Network Support position. His resume came via snail mail. Out of curiosity, I called him and asked him why he would send his resume that way and not electronically. His response "I wanted to make sure it got there"