When hiring teams see red flags like excessive job-hopping, unplanned departures, and generic information it can raise alarm bells. But there’s no such thing as a perfect resume, so what does it take to overcome these hurdles and impress a prospective employer? Remember, your goal is to minimize or eliminate those elements that might move your resume to the discard file.
Let’s get started.
Typos and General Disorganization
This is one of the easiest resume red flags to spot and the quickest to resolve. Given all the online resources and books now devoted to resume writing, there’s no excuse for a resume that’s difficult to read, poorly organized, or filled with typographical errors. Candidates who submit messy documents demonstrate a lack of attention to detail, and this can overshadow an otherwise stellar background. After giving your resume a thorough review ask a friend or colleague to look it over, the more eyes the better!
Major Job Hopping or Extensive Gaps
Hiring managers understand that people may be out of work through no fault of their own. Most people who find a home in corporate America have been laid off, fired, or experienced downsizing at one time or another. The way that businesses are now restructured, any stigma associated with being fired is not what it used to be; it’s actually how you deal with being let go that will ultimately decide how you move forward in your career.
However, when a candidate has held a series of jobs for short periods of time, that’s a resume red flag. It can indicate a troublesome or unstable employee or a chronic job hopper. If you make it through to the interview, remember to prepare an answer. Whatever the reasons are for your leaving, take time to organize your thoughts and consider how this explanation will be received.
For a hiring team, a candidate that submits a generic resume didn’t tailor their resume to the job. This is a sign that they are applying to lots of positions without carefully considering fit. Another red flag that the resume hasn’t been tailored is length. A resume should preferably be one page long. Any longer than two pages and it indicates to the hiring team that the candidate isn’t tailoring.
Style over Substance
Resumes should look neat and be easy to read through. For most industries, a simple format is best to convey information. The best resume fonts are clean and easy to read, the information should be organized intuitively, and all of their contact information should be easy to find. If a job candidate goes the styled route, hiring managers may be distracted by the appearance of the resume and glaze over the content.
Remember, effective resumes market you and identifies your accomplishments and strengths. Hiring managers want to see that you’ve achieved success, not just shown up and completed tasks. Consider the document an opportunity to impress and craft a strong introduction about yourself, rather than just a summary of work history.