How to keep your résumé out of the trash bin

By Sacha DeVoretz

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Ten or 20 years ago, it was common for a person to mail a résumé to an employer or even drop by the office and hand it to the company's receptionist.

These days, this type of direct communication with an employer is a rarity. Most résumés are sent by email to the hiring manager. Sometimes applicants need to upload their résumé and cover letter to an online job application form.

This makes it hard to stand out from the crowd—hundreds of résumés don't make the cut. Follow these three tips to keep your résumé from ending up in the trash bin.

Carefully review the requirements of the position

Many companies have software programs that will review the résumés they receive. These software programs look for keywords. If your résumé does not contain the requirements that were listed in the job description, the software will reject it, and you won’t be considered for an interview.

Even if a software program isn’t reviewing your résumé, a person will be. It is still important for your résumé to address the skill set and educational requirements in the job description. This means adjusting your résumé for every job you apply for.

Make sure that you fit in with the workplace

There may be hundreds of applicants for the position you’re applying for. HR and the hiring manager will be looking for a person that will fit in with the work culture and environment. Is it a company with a fitness focus? They will most likely want a person who likes to be healthy. Even if they're hiring an accountant or receptionist, they’ll want the hire to be a good fit for the team and company environment. Consider how to communicate this in your application—maybe you could include interests on your résumé, or communicate about your values in your résumé profile or cover letter.

Pay attention to detail

Even with spell check and other computer programs that review our documents for errors, we often fail to see our own mistakes—even if we re-read our work several times. The best way to avoid this is to ask for help: Ask another person, a trusted friend or a family member, to review your résumé. They’ll catch blunders you won’t see and help you ensure that your résumé is error-free.

Your résumé is a reflection of you as a professional. Always make certain that it addresses all of the requirements of the job and is technically perfect. With this powerful combination, you will have a much better chance of landing the job you want.

About the author

Sacha DeVoretz is a lifestyle blogger, consultant, journalist and world traveller who has written five books on international employment that have been published in four languages. She provides extensive consultation services and seminars that help internationally trained job seekers overcome common barriers to employment in Canada and the U.S.