What’s wrong with my resume?

This article is written by Jerrell Niu, Career Coach, and a Career Money Life Certified Supplier. You can view the original article on Jerrell’s website.

What’s wrong with my resume, you say. I keep on filling out application forms, sending out my CV to every opportunity I see but I never hear back from anyone except for those automatic emails that say “Thank you for your application but on this occasion your application was unsuccessful…“.

You probably feel like giving up. But your problem is something that you can fix. So how can find out what’s wrong with your resume?

You could send it to a friend, your manager or someone in HR. But you might not want to let people know what you’re doing. Or perhaps their views are a little dated.


You can conduct your own resume audit by assessing your resume against 5 key criteria used by recruiters to determine if your application will be advanced to the first interview stage.

Score each key criteria out of 5.


  • Is your resume structured and ordered?
  • Are the headings clear and consistent?
  • Can you easily find the information you need?
  • Does the resume highlight your strengths?
  • Does it look like a professional business document?


  • Does the resume provide a clear narrative?
  • Does the resume provide a clear narrative?
  • Are there any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors?
  • Is it written in the passive voice?
  • Are abbreviations and jargon used without explanation?
  • Are the key skills and accomplishments articulated?


  • Is the target role of the resume clearly apparent?
  • Are the relevant skills identified and specifically stated?
  •  Is the target role similar to the most recent roles in the work history?
  • Is the language used specific or generic?  Is the content relevant to the target role?


  • Is the resume longer than 3 pages?
  • Have more than 15 years career experience been included (in detail)?
  • Are the required sections included in the proper order?
  • Is the work history and education listed in reverse chronological order?
  • Have you included unnecessary details such as place and date of birth, marital status, and gender?


  • Does the overall document look professional and business level?
  • Does the overall document look professional and business level?
  • Does the document include a strong branding statement that includes your name?
  • Are your contact details easy to find?
  • Do your achievements and key skills stand out?
  • Have you developed a powerful value proposition?

If You Scored

0-10 NOT OF A PROFESSIONAL STANDARD – Your resume needs a complete overhaul.

11-15 BASIC – Your resume needs considerable restructuring to showcase what you have to offer.

16-20 FAIR – Your resume requires some changes and fine tuning to maximise your true value.

21-25 EXCELLENT – Your resume is already excellent and needs minor editing only

Career Money Life offers a wide range of career services – including resume writing and review, provided by highly qualified Suppliers. Contact us to learn more. 

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