How To Stop Your Resume From Becoming Spam

Today’s more sophisticated e-mail systems often look for certain characteristics in e-mail text and in any e-mail attachments. Unfortunately, words or graphics that may be perfectly appropriate in some cases can cause spam filters to stop your e-mail, thus rendering your resume “never received.” Related: Resume Clichés: What To Avoid And Why As crazy as it may seem, totally innocent words can create problems for spam filters. Consider the alternate meanings of these words (as examples) and how spam filters would likely block your resume if it contained them:


  • Free
  • Expand
  • Trial
  • Mortgage
  • Cum (like cum laude)
  • Unusual fonts or colors
  • Dollar amounts
  • HTML formatting in your e-mail (vs. flat text)
Many of the words above could easily relate to common spam schemes like pharmaceuticals, obscene text, online scams, and the like. The end result may be your address or even your overall ISP appearing on a blacklist or a white list. In the above examples, you could substitute “summa cum laude” with “high honors” or “with honors.” Attachments can also create issues as many viruses and spyware programs are delivered by bogus attachments. You may consider creating a flat text resume and cutting and pasting it into the body of your resume, along with your cover letter, to avoid this issue. You will lose some aesthetics, but it’s better than not being seen at all. Be sure to use the subject line to accurately describe what you’re sending – for example, “highly adept project manager with CRM experience” – this will help to not have the recipient automatically delete your e-mail. Networking with the recipient beforehand can help to get your e-mail read, especially if your resume is unsolicited. There are just too many e-mails in a day for most people these days, and an unsolicited resume isn’t likely to be noticed. If you must apply quickly, send the e-mail, and follow-up with a phone call or hard copy of your resume as this will increase the odds of it being seen. Sending your resume as a PDF attachment may also help as it’s far less likely it will trigger spam filters; however, the downside is many automated resume software programs cannot open PDF files.

Related Posts

How To Make Sure Your Resume Gets Noticed 7 Cover Letter Mistakes You Make When Applying Via E-mail How To Make Your Resume And Cover Letter Work Together   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!