Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » The 5 Best Ways to Land Your Resume in the Trash

After reading a few resume articles online and feeling completely frustrated by their bad advice I decided to clarify a few important points. Given the multitude of misinformation out there regarding resume tips, strategies, and techniques I want to help set the record straight. Here are the five best ways to get your resume thrown in the trash by a potential hiring manager:

1.Forget to include a cover letter. Not attaching a cover letter to a resume is like shooting in the dark. Hiring managers are receiving hundreds of resumes for vacancies every week and if they don’t know where to place you from the start you’re likely to be discarded altogether. Clearly indicate on your cover letter which position you are applying to and why. Don’t assume they’ll just get it from reading your resume.

2.Use an objective. Point blank objectives are bad form. No one uses an objective anymore because they express what you – the employee wants versus how you can supply what the employer needs. Instead utilize a career summary that will ‘show’ not just ‘tell’ the employer how you can meet their needs.

3.Use headings like profile and career summary versus a powerful sales pitch. Do not waste space is what I tell my professional resume writers. Think of a Career Profile as a FREE billboard that you can use to advertise your best attributes. Instead of titling your Career Summary – Career Summary create an eye-catching sales pitch like: Award-winning and market-driven sales strategist. See how instead we’re selling them on who you are from the start?

4.Leave out keywords. Not just keywords but industry specific keywords and your resume may not even make it into the hiring manager’s hand never mind landing in the trash. I read an online article on a wildly popular job board site that stated only 25% of recruiters use scanners to find resumes so keywords were overrated. They couldn’t be more wrong! Did they forget about how over 90% of major employers use job boards to find qualified candidates?! What does a job board do? It scans its database of resumes based on the industry specific keywords a recruiter enters and pulls up all applicable resumes by relevance. Guess who is the most relevant? You guessed it the person with the most matching keywords. Here is an example of industry specific keywords: account manager, accounts payable, account executive, sales manager, human resources manager, executive trainer. Here is an example of what a keyword is not: great communicator, excellent presentation skills, team builder, or written and verbal skills.

5.Small mistakes or grammatical errors. It always pays to have someone else review your resume. They will find little goofs that your eyes will overlook. Even one small error like leaving out a punctuation mark, misspelling a word, or leaving a sentence unfinished. These are resume killers and ALWAYS land your resume promptly in the trash can. Choose one or two people to review your resume and if you don’t know anyone with great editing skills there are companies out there or writers out there you can hire just to review and edit your resume.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin P. Kelly, Jessica Holbrook. Jessica Holbrook said: The 5 Best Ways to Land Your Resume in the Trash: via @AddToAny […]

  2. MSA Recruiter on December 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Great Tips!

  3. uberVU - social comments on December 8, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Recruiter_n_OH: via @AddToAny…

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