You Might Get A Rejection Letter If… by Liz Handlin

Did you know that Jeff Foxworthy is one of the most successful comedians of all time?  His album, “You Might Be a Redneck If…” has sold millions of copies and inspired countless copycat bits.  Including this post.

So, in honor of the very funny (and still relevant?) Mr. Foxworthy, I would like to present, You Might Get a Rejection Letter If….

If your resume is 4-pages or longer and is comprised of large paragraphs of information that require the reader to fully read each one in order to understand what you did – you might get a rejection letter.

If your job history is peppered with small companies that few people have ever heard of and you don’t bother to include some company background to help the reader – you might get a rejection letter.

If you include your photo on a resume (unless you are an actress or a model applying for acting or modeling jobs) – you might get a rejection letter.

If you include a “hobbies” section on your resume and list any of the following:

  • watching TV

  • drinkin’ beer and fishin’

  • smoking weed

  • surfing the net for porn

  • meeting with my parole officer

  • taking care of my 37 cats

  • cooking meth

  • masturbating to photos of Megan Fox

  • collecting lint

– you just might get a rejection letter.

If your resume is written in a font size that requires recruiters to use a magnifying glass to read it – you might get a rejection letter.

If your resume has inconsistent or confusing dates – you might get a rejection letter.

If you are a professional with more than 5 years of experience and your resume is mostly comprised of lists of job duties rather than meaningful accomplishments – you might get a rejection letter.

If your resume includes your personal motto, life or religious philosophy, and you aren’t applying for a job in the ministry, you might get a rejection letter.

If you spell your name incorrectly on your resume – you might get a rejection letter.

If you list a generic job title such as “analyst” or “engineer” or “project manager” and you don’t provide some kind of context about what kind of analyst/engineer/project manager you were – you just might get a rejection letter.

Okay, some of the above was exaggerated in an attempt to make a point and to be humorous.  With that said, if your resume is messy, hard to read, requires the reader to read closely and really try to interpret what your job was, or contains weird or inappropriate information you will get a rejection letter. If the economy were great and the U.S. was at 100% employment maybe a shoddy resume would stand a chance but in a competitive market your resume needs to be sharp and polished.

Remember that when you aren’t standing in the room to (hopefully) impress interviewers the resume is a stand-alone impression of you.  Even if you got a first interview through your network and the first meeting went well you should know that most interviewers will pass your resume around the office and to their superiors before they invite you back for a second interview.

I have known senior managers to overrule junior managers/recruiters who recommend a candidate with a poorly written resume for a second interview.  The higher up the food chain you go, the higher the expectations will be regarding your written communication skills.

If you are a job seeker, your resume is the most important piece of written work you will ever create.  Make it good or don’t be surprised when that rejection letter arrives in your email or mail box.

Copyright 2012 Liz Handlin©, Ultimate Resumes LLC


Catch up with Liz , your number one source for sage resume advice here.



  1. Liz, do you think it’s possible that I am doing something much, much worse than what you’ve outlined here? I’d say about 99% I don’t even rate a rejection letter. Should I stop listing my weaknesses (vodka, gambling, men) outright on the resume? I know it’s wacky, but I just want it get it out of the way pre-interview.

  2. I had to hire my replacement before leaving my last job. Sorting through hundreds of applications really makes it clear that we don’t teach kids how to apply for jobs. Or at least we don’t do it well. Here are a few more ways to get a rejection letter: Use the wrong company name in your cover letter, don’t follow clearly given instructions regarding format of resume and cover letter and/or display no knowledge of the company you are applying to. And yes, putting hobbies or religious beliefs is just a NO. No no no.

  3. Sarah – I think you are doing everything righit! I mean, why would you want to work for a company that doesn’t embrace your love of vodka and the gaming industry? Seems to me that those jerks don’t deserve to hire a real winner like you! WIth that said, are you certain that you have been spelling your name correctly on your resume? Incorrect name spelling is kind of a bad thing on a resume as it makes people wonder if your love of vodka spills (no pun intended) over into your working hours.

    • Okay, so I don’t always spell my name as shown on my identification… But I put “creative speller” in the skills section. Surely that has me covered.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: