What Recruiters Hate About Résumés And Cover Letters

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: June 12, 2008 - 10:42 AM

The candid advice of two experienced recruiters can help you avoid typical pitfalls, and get hired faster.

I'm going to share with you the awful truth about résumés and cover letters.

Here it is: Most of them stink.

I've read nearly 15,000 résumés and cover letters over the years and found glaring mistakes in about 85-90 percent of them.

It's also the opinion of most of the hiring professionals I've spoken to over the years.


Where do most résumés and cover letters go wrong? How can you avoid the mistakes of most job seekers?

To find answers, I spoke with two experienced recruiters. Their candid advice can help you avoid typical pitfalls, and get hired faster.

Here it is ...

Don't Use The Same Résumé For Every Job

Would you grab any old suit off the rack and rush off to church to get married? No. First, you tailor the suit so it fits. That way, you don't look ridiculous.

Unfortunately, job seekers look ridiculous applying for jobs without tailoring their résumés. It's a real pet peeve of most hiring professionals, including Larry Harris, a Minneapolis-based recruiter and President of American Consulting (americanconsultingcompany.com).

"Why don't candidates customize every résumé they send out, to fit the job they're applying for? That makes my job a lot easier when I forward that résumé to my client, the hiring manager."

According to Tony Haley, Director of UK-based Fenton Chase International (fentonchase.com), most résumés come across as generic, with no consideration about a particular position or company.


"The most surprising group of candidates who do this is Sales Managers and Sales Directors. These people spend their days reviewing résumés from candidates and yet when it comes to their own, they cannot sell themselves," says Haley.


Customize, customize, customize.

Tailor your résumé for every different company, position, and manager. Detail experiences most relevant to each opportunity.

Don't Be Boring

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