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Top 5 Reasons Employers Throw Resumes In The Trash

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Getting eliminated from a job application before even having a hiring manager see your resume is frustrating, infuriating, and downright depressing. But did you know that a lot of job seekers make the same, easily avoidable mistakes?

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1. Didn't customize your resume for the job:

If the position you’re applying for requires at least four years of experience doing the same, or similar work, and you only have one year, don’t bother applying. As a matter of fact, doing things like this will sometimes make employers blacklist candidates. In the eyes of the employer, applying for a job when you don’t have the necessary skills or experience can mean a few things: you haven’t read the job description thoroughly, meaning you’re hasty; you’ve read it, but decided to apply anyway, meaning you don’t respect the recruiter’s time. Both scenarios end up with why employers trash your resume.

But what if you have more than enough experience for the job, just not the years of experience? In a case like this, you need to customize your resume to show employers your transferable skills. Your resume needs to contain all the proper content and keywords so when an employer looks at your resume, they're impressed with your success. You must astonish the hiring manager so much with your resume and cover letter, that they look past the years of experience requirements.

2. Resume isn’t proofread:

If you’re trying to present yourself as a detail-oriented, highly motivated individual, having typos and spelling errors won’t do you any good. Not only is there a possibility for the company’s ATS system to eliminate you, but your potential boss will also find you frivolous. Also, keep in mind your resume’s file name. Names like MyResume.docx or Resume123.docx will often get you eliminated, as employers don’t have the time to sort out these things.

Keep your last name in the file name. For example: LastnameResume.docx. And don’t forget to send the resume in the right format. If the employer asked for a .pdf, don’t send a .docx. If your proof writing resume skills aren’t top notch, you might want to give it to a resume-writing agency. They can craft a customized and tailored professional resume sample, perfect for the job you’re applying to.

3. Resume is too long:

One of more ‘popular’ mistakes job seekers do, which ultimately result in their resume getting trashed, is writing a resume that’s too long. Now you’re asking, “how many pages is too long for a resume?” Thinking it will make them look more experienced and professionals, job seekers tend to add even the slightest details about their lives, many of which are completely irrelevant for the job position. Remember the old internet meme ‘TL;DR’ (too long; didn’t read) and keep it short, and sweet. Don’t worry if it’s less than a full 2 page’s length. If your resume has all the necessary information, it will do just fine.

4. Trying to create an innovative resume:

Nowadays, it’s trendy to be ‘different’ and ‘have a resume that stands out in the crowd’. This trend is forcing people to try and create tip-top creative and innovative resumes. Although that can work in some instances, like applying for positions at creative agencies, art positions, marketing, etc. – employers will mostly look for a professional, simple, straight to the point resume. Others will just look immature.

5. Misleading employers on resume:

If you’re trying to conceal dates of your previous job descriptions because you fear gaps will have you eliminated, you’re worrying about the wrong things. It’s deception that will get you eliminated, not gaps in your career. Don’t try to be deceptive, as recruiters will see through your intentions right away and have you eliminated even faster.

Other reasons that might get you eliminated
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Trendy but no-value-added buzzwords on a resume:

Last, but definitely not least, are the trendy buzzwords, those pointless corny phrases that fail to describe you as an individual, like ‘team-player’, ‘works well under pressure’, ‘thinks outside the box’. Lose the lame and overly used words. Be concise, direct, and professional.

Resume Inconsistency:

A resume in various fonts, font sizes and text color frustrates recruiters. It shows them you haven’t thought your resume through, and haven’t proofread it. It might not be in the top five reasons to get eliminated, but it is something recruiters fret about. When considering how to properly proofread a resume, make sure you scan the document for typos, spelling and grammar errors, inconsistencies in fonts, font colors and sizes, as well as any justification.

‘Amateur’ email address on a resume:

An immature and unprofessional email address like “” is not something an employer wants to see. You don’t need private email hosting; a Gmail or a Hotmail account will do just fine. Creating a professional-looking address (a combination of your first and last name) only takes a few seconds, and by not creating it you show that you haven’t devoted enough time to the application, meaning you’re not really serious about the job.

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