What happens to your resume after you send it to an employer? A few resumes produce results, most others disappear.

Most resumes have serious defects; many resumes have mistakes that guarantee failure. Intelligent, highly qualified candidates often write inadequate resumes because they do not know resume writing-realities required to get even the most qualified candidate hired.

Job seekers who get interviews and offers of employment are not necessarily the best qualified. Often, they are the best prepared. The right answers to these questions willhelp you be one of the best prepared.

Does your resume catch attention?

No matter how it was submitted your resume must get you past an employer's gatekeepers such as recruiters and HR managers, and into a telephone screen or interview with the hiring manager. If your resume cannot pass the inspection of these gatekeepers, you will have difficulty getting interviews.

Can your resume survive a 15-Second scan?

Most staffing managers and recruiters scan and discard each resume in 10 to 20 seconds unless the resume provides them with a compelling reason to flag it for an in-depth review. Gatekeepers are paid to read resumes, they do not enjoy it. In order to process countless resumes, busy gatekeepers want excuses to reject most resumes quickly.

Is your resume computer search friendly?

Most recruiters, agencies and HR departments for medium to large companies and any employer that uses an Internet resume bank searches with keywords. Anything thatís not otherwise mentioned in the resume should be listed in the skills section. For example, donít just list "Microsoft Office", include "Word, Excel, MS Access, PowerPoint and Outlook. Mention every obscure skill and certification that you have.

Can your resume get past suspicious gatekeepers?

If they have any concerns about a resume, they do not contact the applicant for an explanation; they just reject the resume and go on to the next one. Employers receive resumes from candidates who are clearly qualified so they reject candidates who may possibly be qualified.

Are you an exceptional candidate with a mediocre resume?

Sorry, no interview. In resume writing, mediocrity equals failure. Many discarded resumes belong to qualified candidates who are not aware of the career damage from inadequate resumes that do not sell their experience, skills, and qualifications. Resume screening is callous and impersonal. The best job search will not overcome a weak resume.

Does your resume balance competing requirements?

Your resume must first survive a fifteen second scan, and then it must survive an examination by a gatekeeper wanting a reason to discard it. In order to survive a fifteen second scan, it must stand out and present a good snapshot of your skills. If your resume survives the scan, it should provide enough rich and compelling detail to sell you to the reader. These competing requirements are very difficult to balance.

Excellence is not optional.

If only 50 people apply for an attractive opportunity, your resume must tell the gatekeeper that you are better qualified than at least 40 of the other applicants. If your resume cannot beat 80% of the competition, you will not get interviews. Your actual qualifications do not count as much as your resume at this stage.