One of unfortunate realities of job search process is often, people who are a good fit for a job get passed over because of an inadequate resume. In this age of online recruitment, hiring managers and recruiters may review a hundred or more resumes before deciding on who they want to interview. Given this high volume, they are only able to spend 30 seconds (or sometimes less) scanning a resume to determine whether candidate could be a good fit for position.
When a recruiter sees your resume, they want to quickly determine which of following four categories resume belongs in:
1. Resume is not appropriate for job at all - for example, a bookkeeper applying for an accounting job. Recruiters hate it when job seekers send in resumes for positions they're completely unqualified for. Some job seekers think it doesn't hurt to send a resume even if position isn't a match. They think maybe they will be considered for other positions they're qualified for. A recruiter's attitude is often that if job seeker can't read directions and applies for wrong position, person can't be a great candidate anyway and will throw resume in garbage.
2. The person is not experienced or skilled enough to do job. For example, if job calls for someone who can work independently and resume only shows experience working as part of a team.
3. The person is too senior or too expensive. This is kind of "overqualified" scenario. If you apply for a job that pays $50,000, but recruiter thinks from looking at your resume that you could make $60,000 -- or thinks from looking at your previous positions that you had been earning $60,000 in past, they will shy away from selecting you. Recruiters don't want to place someone who will end up leaving for a better paying position after just a couple of months on job. With third party recruiters, they don't get paid their placement fee if this happens, plus it may ruin their relationship with client company. With direct employers, they will incur opportunity cost of having to get another person up to speed if you quit prematurely.
4. The person's background matches position and they would be happy to take salary being offered. This is category you want to fall in.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR RESUME FIT THE POSITIONS YOU'RE APPLYING FOR
Your most recent job title should be about same as position you're applying for. If you're applying for a position as a Senior Accountant, your last position should ideally have been a senior accountant. Or if your last position was slightly junior to position you're applying for, recruiter will be looking to see that you spent enough time in that position to learn skills and gain experience someone with more senior title would be expected to have. Your most recent job title should *not* be more senior than position you're applying for. If it is, you may want to consider "downgrading" it. While lying on your resume is generally a bad idea, this kind of presentation change, which does not promise that you're qualified for something you're not, may be necessary to overcome "overqualified" reaction.