So you’ve put all that time and effort into tailoring your resume for a position and you receive an instant rejection email or notification. Something along the lines of “thank you for applying, we regret to inform you that…”
What causes your job application to be automatically rejected? There could be a number of reasons as to why the resume was rejected in such a short period of time which we’ll cover in this post.
Most companies today use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) which automatically screens a resume before it’s ever seen by a human. The software is designed to scan a resume and determine whether the candidate is a good match for the position. The candidates the ATS feels are a good match are sent forward to a hiring manager. Approximately 75% of resumes are rejected by an ATS and many times it’s because the resume isn’t formatted correctly.
Okay, so how do you format a resume for an ATS?
The first thing you need to do is use a Microsoft Word document and not a PDF. A Word document is easily read while a PDF may be problematic for some ATS.
You also need to use a standard resume format and avoid fancy colors, designs and graphics. These things can’t be read by an ATS – and when that happens, it’s usually rejected.
We have a free resume review which shows you how your resume performs in an ATS. You can click here to get your free resume review.
Making sure your resume could be read by an ATS is the easy part, you then need to ensure you have the proper keywords to score high. The ATS looks for keywords that are related to position to determine whether you’re a good match for the position.
If a position requires knowledge of Excel and Quickbooks – make sure you have those terms on there along with other relevant keywords. A core competencies or skills section is the perfect place to utilize keywords and easily swap them in and out when tailoring your resume to different positions.
The content on your resume should also be relevant to the position. For Example: If you apply to an accounting position and submit a two page resume on your experience as a waiter, it’s likely to be flagged by an ATS.
Another possible reason for automatic rejection could be that you’re either under or over qualified for the position.
Read the descriptions carefully to see whether the job is worth applying to. Yes, in some cases you should still apply to jobs where you meet most, but not all the qualifications.
There is also a chance that you’re over qualified for a position but it’s not easy determine as that’s usually not listed in the job posting.
A hiring manager could tell the ATS to automatically reject those with over 10 years of experience. In this case, anyone with over 10 years of experience could be automatically rejected.
An automatic job application rejection email could be hard to deal with. The best thing to do is to ensure your resume gets past ATS and is properly keyword optimized to perform well. You should also read the job description carefully to see if it’s a position you’re actually qualified for. Don’t let an immediate resume rejection get you down – it happens to the best of us. Stay positive and keep applying!