Auto-Disqualification - When Your Resume Never Reaches the Decision Maker
How would you know if your resume did or didn't reach the appropriate decision maker? You can truly never know for certain. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your resume does not get "auto-disqualified", or provide obvious reasons not to be hired.
There are several "mistakes" commonly made in resumes that give immediate reasons why you will not be offered the opportunity to go to the next step in the hiring process.
The usual first step in obtaining a position is the submission of your resume. Typically that is to the staff in a Human Resources department.
Often, HR is given a specific group of parameters the hiring manager is seeking in a particular applicant. If a resume does not reflect those parameters it is often filed away and never given to the decision maker.
Age is often a factor in this process. Age discrimination happens. It happens to applicants that are too old for a position or too young. Companies are not allowed to ask an applicant's age, but often times they don't have to. Many people reflect this information voluntarily in their resume. By giving a high school graduation year, college graduation year, or even the dates you attended schools gives the reader ample information to decide if you are too young or too old for the position. Age is never a reason you will be hired, but it certainly could be a reason you are not hired. Why give them this information?
Many applicants are concerned that they have worked for only one company or in only one industry and that their skills are not transferable to other industries. This is when your marketing skills are truly tested. Marketing yourself is very similar to marketing a product. Find out what is going to make you attractive to the employer as a potential employee and showcase those skills in your resume.
So, how can you avoid "Auto-Disqualifying"?
Example: If you are applying for a management position but have never held a manager's "title," showcase the fact that you have managed others or supervised projects so the person reading your resume understands that you have the necessary skills even though you have not held the title. If your resume is not reflecting your skills, then it is probably being disqualified before it reaches a true decision maker. This is commonly known in the employment industry as "auto-disqualifying."
Education, or lack of, is a tougher hurdle to overcome. Many positions have an educational requirement that some people have not achieved. This again brings us to marketing yourself. Showcase, through your resume, that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed at the position they are trying to fill. There are very few "perfect applicants" for any particular position, as a result decision makers typically must choose whom they feel is right for the job based on skills, experience and you're your ability to fit into their team.
Do you know if your resume is reaching decision makers? Market your skills in your resume to ensure that your resume is actually reaching the true decision maker. Do this and increase your chances of landing that interview!
Steven Bristow is a senior consultant for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc. (http://www.interviewing.com), a career marketing firm and organization celebrating over 24 years of providing strategic marketing solutions for its clients' career transitioning needs.
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