Have you ever heard of the old saying “Don't judge a book by its cover?” This is wise advice, as we should never make preconceived notions without knowing all the facts. However, these wise words are not always followed, especially when it comes to job searching.

Hiring managers make judgements every day without the benefit of ever meeting the applicant. These judgements are often made based on an applicant's resume alone. Your resume writing says a lot about your personality, interests, commitment and ability to perform. While some of the information it conveys may be intended, some of it may not.

Preconceived assumptions may seem unfair, but it's a matter of life in the job market. Companies receive hundreds of resumes for each available position. Hiring managers cannot sift through them all. Don't worry though. There are solutions to prevent those resume guardians from deeming you unworthy. Here are seven assumptions hiring managers make and how to use them as resume help to prevent them from ruining your chance at an interview.

Assumption #1: You're unwilling to relocate

Are you tired of your location and want to strike out for new riches? Tell your potential employer you want to relocate. This is one of the most common miscommunications hiring managers face. Applying for a job in one state and listing your home state as another may subject you to automatic dismissal, unless you state your willingness to move. No one wants to waste time on an applicant who doesn't want the job. Use the following resume help to avoid confusion:

  • Remove your mailing address from your resume.

  • State your desire to relocate at the top of the resume.

  • Reiterate your desire to relocate in the cover letter.

  • Be sure to include you are willing to relocate for free.

Assumption #2: You're behind the times

Okay, it's time to join the new world and toss those ancient tools. Say goodbye to your typewriter, DOS manual, ancient email accounts, etc. Freshen your skills, and let the hiring manager know you mean business. Hiring managers want candidates who know the current technology. If your resume writing details older systems, they may assume you aren't up-to-date and require expensive training. This is a red flag. Do the following to show that you're up-to-date on current trends:

  • Get rid of your AOL and Hotmail email addresses; opt for Gmail.

  • Research the web for fresh keyword replacements. (I.e. weblogs vs. blogs, junior high vs. middle school and Myspace vs. Facebook and LinkedIn).

  • Remove technical skills and software proficiency older than five years.

Assumption #3: You're overqualified

Hiring managers look at your age and experience level and often they will toss out resumes based on candidates who are overqualified or may demand more money than they're willing to pay. Sometimes you have to remove your most prized possessions to be considered. Do the following within your resume writing to avoid this assumption:

  • Delete experience exceeding 20 years; keep your resume at two pages or less.

  • Consider deleting advanced degrees – master's or doctoral – if the position doesn't require them.

  • Remove dates older than ten years, and consider removing advanced skills not applicable to the position.

Assumption #4: You don't fit culturally

Some assumptions are insane and unpreventable. They may discriminate against the school you attended (i.e. liberal university with a reputation for partying), sorority life, social activity (i.e. LGBT, civil rights, etc.) or even religion. While federal law prohibits most discrimination, hiring managers find ways around it. First, consider if you want to work for a company that discriminates against your passions. If you still want to work for the company, hide your controversial material. Consider using the followingtips as resume help:

  • Don't include volunteer information for controversial activity.

  • Never include sorority or fraternity engagement.

  • Highlight other achievements to draw attention away from this material.

Assumption #5: You're applying for the visa sponsorship

International experience comes in two forms – citizens who worked in another country and non-citizens applying for jobs in the U.S.. Hiring managers may read the international experience and assume you need an H-18 visa sponsorship, even though you are a citizen or already have a green card. First, if you need sponsorship, make sure the company offers this before applying. Others should explain their status at the top of their resume. Here are two examples for applicants:

  • Non-Citizen with Green Card: “Awarded Green Card and permission to work in the U.S. based on past experience with international business processes.”

  • U.S. Citizen: “[Nationalized] U.S. Citizen with experience building strong networks and driving business solutions with international businesses.”

Assumptions #6 & #7: You're lazy or uncommitted

Let's face it; life happens. We need to change jobs, or a company may downsize. During the recession, job jumping was popular and necessary for many Americans who lost their careers. Those gaps in work or short time on the job may send the wrong message to hiring managers. Or maybe you were offered the chance to expand your knowledge overseas and took a five year hiatus in China. Hiring managers may assume you lack focus and won't keep your job for long. Do the following within your resume writing to avoid seeming uncommitted:

  • Include two-line explanations filling in the gaps, explaining why you were out of a job.

  • Consider a functional resume instead of a chronological one.

  • Divide your experience into segments based on accomplishments rather than time frames.

Everyone is human, including hiring managers. They can, and do, make irrational assumptions based on miscommunications. Make sure your information doesn't lead you into this trap. Edit your resume writing and cover letter carefully, considering all assumptions hiring managers could make. Take your resume to a friend, recruiter or college for advice. Many colleges and state labor departments have services to help you iron out the bugs. Take advantage of these freemium services.

Need resume help? Our TopResume writers are here!

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