As I wrote in a previous post, I am working on a large number of searches. The result has been the receipt of hundreds of resumes. The funny thing is, in some cases I can know, even without opening them, if the applicant is a viable candidate. And, yes, I do open them and that is why I know I am correct. (And for the statisticians reading this, hundreds of resumes make for a representative sample on which conclusions can be based.)
First, as noted in the above referenced post, if you apply for a job in the wee hours of the night, your resume is second-rate and you won’t get the job.
Second, if you send your resume as a .txt file, meaning you wrote it on Notepad, you are not a good candidate and you won’t get the job. Notepad is used by candidates who are not tech savvy. This is not to say you have to be an IT maven, but everyone has to be able to use Word, at a minimum.
Third, when I asked a candidate, over the phone, why she had been at her past jobs for only short periods of time, she said, “It’s age discrimination.” She then told me her age. If you reveal privileged information about yourself, you are not a good candidate because you do not know HR law and you won’t get the job. Moreover, if you default to the discrimination excuse (which, I admit, is true in some cases), you may not be a good candidate and you won’t get the job because an employer will be worried that you are a law suit waiting to happen.
Fourth, in this case I invited her for an interview. When I told her we would have to meet in mid-town Manhattan (she lives in the Bronx), she said, “I don’t go to Manhattan. I’m not interested in the job!” and hung up. So the problem, I am willing to guess, that she has been having has nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude. It you have a bad attitude, you are a bad candidate and you won’t get the job.
Fifth, if you have prepared your resume in a font smaller than 11- points (it should be 12), you are a bad candidate. Why? Well I have received numerous resumes in 8- and 9-point fonts. I can’t read them. If they are so small that they can’t be read, the candidate is clearly trying to hide something. Or, just as bad, someone told them that a resume should only be one-page in length, so they prepared their resume and then shrunk it to fit a page not thinking about the recipient. That tells me everything I need to know about their judgement and what they would do on the job. These are bad candidates and will not get the job.
Sixth, if you mix your volunteer activities with your actual work experience, it is a clear sign that you are trying to hide something. That something is almost always a gap in the resume. There are way to fill the gap with volunteer and other employment-related activities, but mixing is not the way. That sends the message that you try to deceive. Deception is not a positive trait for a candidate. You won’t get the job.
Finally, if you apply for a job that is well below your present salary, you will not be considered. No employer is going to believe you will stay on the job if you have to cut your quality of life. You won’t get the job.