College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Conversation with a Former H.R. Director

William Mitchell -- According to one H.R. professional, there were two major criteria that can immediately result in the elimination of 75% of résumé submissions. If you make these mistakes, you may take yourself out of the interview race before it's even begun.

A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend about the subject of business financing and proper loan documentation, when the subject of resumes came up. Now, this subject was a little off course from where the conversation was, but it was a very interesting sidebar. The things he said mirror much of what I have told clients on many occasions, but it was interesting to delve into the subject with him to see what his personal experiences were when dealing with applicants and their resumes, and how he and his colleagues viewed certain scenarios.

My friend often worked career fairs and he and his colleagues would collect hundreds of resumes at a time, with the ultimate goal of trimming each of their stacks down to around 20 to 25 resumes. According to this professional, there were two major criteria that immediately resulted in the elimination of 75% of the submissions:

1) Resumes longer than two pages. As a busy H.R. professional, my friend felt that the applicants did not respect his time by submitting unfocused three and four-page documents. It showed not only a lack of awareness of (or respect for) the process, but also demonstrated an inability to communicate briefly and succinctly. It is very rare that one’s qualifications cannot be communicated well enough in a two-page resume to convince the resume reviewer that you are worthy of an interview.

2) Resumes littered with grammatical and spelling errors. When one is trying to convince a potential employer that they are a stronger applicant than the next person, one of the worst things one can do is to submit a resume and cover letter without thoroughly proofreading it. It demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and an inability to communicate in written form, which most positions require at some point. After all, you are looking to get a job where you are likely to be required to represent an employer internally and externally. Sending emails or other written communications that are difficult to read and full of errors looks bad on both you AND your boss.

My H.R. friend said that he and his colleagues would actually have contests to see how many resumes they could eliminate before packing up to leave for the day, often trimming 75% of the resume submissions before the event was even over, meaning the elimination of most of the competition before the resumes had even been read.

Beaten before the start of the race.

Next time you want to know why the phone isn’t ringing, think about this … and not just the state of the economy. I’ll say it again:


William Mitchell, CPRW is a certified professional resume writer and Owner/Lead Writer of the Resume Clinic, serving clients in the United States and Canada with highly targeted and effective resume and cover letter packages since 1995. Connect with William and The Resume Clinic on Facebook, LinkedIn, or via email.

© 2014 William Mitchell

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.