What are the biggest mistakes that job seekers commonly make on their resumes that cause them to be skipped over during the screening process? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Erin Berkery Rovner, Career Advisor, Former Recruiter, Freelance Writer, on Quora:

What are the biggest mistakes that job seekers commonly make on their resumes that cause them to be skipped over during the screening process?

It's hard to narrow it down to one big mistake, but in a general sense the biggest mistake is not tailoring your resume to the role you're applying for. I've seen plenty of clients who are overly qualified for a job who don't make it through the screening process, and it almost always comes down to tailoring.

One thing to remember is that in today's market, the first thing your resume does is go through an applicant tracking system. So a computer, or a bot, or an algorithm is the first 'person' to look at your resume. That means that if your language doesn't mirror the job posting, or if you don't have all of the relevant skills and keywords added, you may not be selected.

I was once searching for a senior role when recruiting where the candidate would still have to know advanced Excel functions (it was a very specific role), so I needed someone who was a manager, had specific functions and also had worked with Excel. You would be surprised how many people didn't list Excel on their resume, and even further surprised how many people didn't list it while they were doing daily VLookup functions, advanced Macros and Pivot-tables (which was what I needed from my candidate). I often found those candidates through referrals because other people would send me their resume and I could ask about Excel. However if they had taken the time to customize their resume to the posting (which did specifically say that advanced Excel was needed) I would have been able to find them more easily.

So take the time to do your research. Start by looking at the company website and seeing if there are any values you can put on your resume. (If they mention teamwork and you've worked on many teams, add it.) Then I would go to the job posting and make sure that you've addressed their requests in similar language to how they've written the posting. Lastly, go to LinkedIn and see the people who are currently working there. What do they have written for their job duties? Do the skills and language match your resume?

Many of my clients even go beyond that and contact people on LinkedIn for an informational chat, and often that leads their resume to be chosen, but I know that strategy can intimidate some people, however it can definitely get your foot in the door more than just a generic resume.

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Published on: Jun 29, 2018