10 Resume Red Flags & Characteristics That Employers Hate


10 red flags in resume

10 Biggest Resume Red Flags That Can Cost You An Interview

Resume writing is a challenging process. Not only should you concentrate on the impressive facts from your career bio, but also to avoid certain mistakes. Even if you have the right experience and skill setunder your belt, some things about your resume can turn the recruiters off. Today, the writers of our executive resume services will tell which things about your resume turn the employers off and how you can fix them.

If you notice one or several resume red flags in your document, don't leave them unattended. Correct them yourself, orcontact a professional resume writerto do it for you. At ResumePerk, we have 14+ years of experience in writing a resume for every industry. Our writers will correct any shortcomings in your resume and highlight the right qualities for your dream job.

10 resume red flags and qualities employers are looking for in your resume

When screening resumes of job-seekers, hiring managers look for an impressive employment history, personal qualities, and how well you fit into the job description. However, some details can become a major turnoff. Here are the top red flags to avoid:

Poor grammar and punctuation

Mistakes and typos in the candidate's resume show poor written communication skills or the lack of interest in the position. The data shows that 59% of recruiters are wiling to reject a resume if it has typos or grammar issues. And while a recruiter might not care much about one typo or missed comma, mistakes that appear frequently communicate such personal attributes as the lack of attention to detail or poor communication skills. Phrases like “pubic relations” and “atention to deteil” won't help you make the right impression on the employer.

Short job tenures, or job hopping

Job-hopping means changing jobs every few months. While you probably had solid reasons for quitting jobs soon, a prospective employer might see it as a negative thing. They can see the job-hopping as the lack of commitment, or they might assume you're difficult to work with or didn't meet the performance standards.

So, how do you explain it? If some jobs in your work history only lasted for 2-3 months, it's best to skip them whatsoever. If you quit because the previous employers shut down or merged, add the line about it at the end of the job description. If there is a specific reason why you changed previous roles often, mention it in your cover letter.

Unexplained employment gaps

Let's make it clear - the employment gap is not necessarily a warning sign. If you have a two months' gap, or were unemployed for some time because your company shut down because of the pandemic, the potential employers are fine with that. However, not explaining the employment gap that lasted a year will surely raise a red flag.

Don't make the recruiter assume the worst things about you. If you took a career gap to travel, take care of a newborn child or go back to school, clarify this on your resume or a cover letter. Otherwise, it can prevent you from moving further in the hiring process.

Missing information

Before you apply for the job opening, read your resume carefully. Does your resume have all the necessary section and is it detailed enough? Missing employment dates, a job title, or incorrect contact information can be seen as a sign of sloppiness or an attempt to hide something. If the job posting is lucrative, the recruiter will not reach out to you to clarify something - they will just move on to other candidates.

Don't compose your resume in a rush. Take the time to review it, correct mistakes, and seek feedback - it will help you create a resume that helps achieve your career goals. To be 100% confident that your resume meets the modern standards, check out the list of the popular resume mistakes to avoid.

Lack of achievements and figures

Listing job duties is important because the same job title can imply a whole different set of responsibilities with different employers. However, focusing on responsibilities only sends a subtle message that you didn't perform up to scratch and have nothing to brag or you simply didn't care how your performance affects the company.

So, show the results your tasks have yielded. Include figures, percentages, project names and other non-quantifiable results you delivered. Highlight this information in a resume so that it doesn't get lost in the endless bulleted list. It will help you come across as the perfect candidate for the job.

Poor formatting

There are two biggest mistakes with resume formatting that recruiters watch out for. The first is believing that formatting and design are minor issues, and submitting a resume that looks sloppy, cluttered and unprofessional. The second mistake is getting obsessed with the resume looks and creating a fancy, bright document that is difficult to read because of bright colors and fun fonts.

Both cases show that you have poor judgement about how a professional document should look. A resume should look neat yet not overly bright – it shows that you invested a decent amount of time in making it easier to read for an employer.

Not customizing the resume for a job description

The days of generic resumes are gone. Today, companies expect you to customize the resume with the right keywords and explain why you're a good fit for them. If you use the same version of a resume to apply for all jobs you've found online, they can spot it in a glance.

Generic resumes are ineffective because they don't contain the right keywords and don't make it clear why the company should interview you. So, spend some time to customize at least the top third of the document to make an impression that you're a good fit for the company. Look here to know words for a winning resume.

Not following the application directions

Along with employment gaps, this is the most popular mistake. Sometimes the job posting has directions about where and how to apply. For example, you may be asked to specify salary expectations, apply via email instead of send specific application materials such as the executive bio.

In most cases, not following these directions will automatically exclude you as a candidate. And even if the job isn't very popular, not following the guidelines means that you are either mass-mailing your resume or that you lack attention to detail.

Using the corporate email address

Many people see nothing wrong about applying for a job using a current working email. Yet, for a recruiter it is a huge red flag. In most cases, it means that you are job-searching in your working hours, which casts doubt on your work ethics. If you use the resources of your current employer to land a new job, chances are that you'll do just that if the company hires you.

This practice is also risky: chances are, that the employer can read your emails and they'll be curious to know that instead of calculating sales forecasts you seek opportunities elsewhere.

A resume that shows you're overqualified

If you struggle to get hired for a job that matches your skills and personal qualities, there's nothing wrong about landing a job you are overqualified for. However, employers typically reject such candidates. They believe that you'll quit as soon as you find something that better meets your professional level and salary expectations.

If you've worked as a marketing director and now would like to apply for a job as a marketing manager, you'll need to adapt your resume to be considered. Try adjusting the job titles and downplaying the accomplishments.

We cannot say that these red flags will absolutely disqualify you from the competition. Everything depends on the person doing the screening – while one recruiter will decline a resume upon seeing a mistake, the other will see nothing wrong about them. However, it's better not to risk your career and make your resume look the best possible way.

Don't stretch the truth to get hired faster.

If you are tempted to stretch the truth a little to get the job, think twice. Embellishing facts in resume is a huge red flag which can not only cost you an interview but also destroy your professional reputation. By browsing your social media pages and making a couple of calls a hiring manager can check quickly if what you've written in a resume is true. So, don't take the risk and only say the truth in a resume.

What do employers look for in a candidate's resume?

Above, we have discussed the resume red flags that can turn off the hiring manager. Now, let's look at the things and personal qualities that are good to have to increase your interview chances.

Relevant work history

The first thing the recruiter wants to see on your resume is relevant experience. List the similar positions you had in the past. Use bullet points to uncover your daily duties and achievements. If you are a graduate with no paid experience, list internships and volunteering work as real jobs, focusing on your contribution and the difference you've made.

Hard and soft skills

Adding a separate Skills section and list up to 20 relevant skills there. You can include technical skills, software proficiency, programming languages, foreign languages, and other details depending on your industry. Mention some soft skills too, especially if the job posing asks for them. Skills on your resume work as keywords, helping you pass the ATS screening and get seen by a human recruiter.

Measurable achievements

Achievements with figures show that you are focused on delivering results and can make the difference in the company. To look like an ideal candidate to employers, add at least one achievement with numbers for each job.

Strong social media presence

When looking to fill an open position, recruiters scan social media profiles of applicants among other things. Make sure that you have a professional LinkedIn profile, and that your private social media profiles doesn't have anything inappropriate. Or, keep your personal profiles private so that they are visible only to your close friends.

Explained job changes

If you were laid off after only four months due to the company restructuring, you can mention that on a resume to avoid making the wrong impression. Similarly, if you are changing industries, you need to address this change either in your resume summary or a cover letter.

Which words do the employers look for on online resumes?

As you've cleaned up the resume space from fluff, it's time to add some helpful details. To catch the reader's attention, make use of these resume words:

- Led/managed

- Achieved

- Value

- Verbal/written communication

- Performance improvement

- Initiated

- Organized

- Developed

- Improved

- Coordinated

These traits communicate the important characteristics that hiring managers look for across the fields: leadership, initiative, and willingness to create value for an employer.

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What are the biggest red flags in a resume?

Some red flags in a resume include gaps in employment history, grammar and spelling errors, missing information, and the lack of measurable accomplishments. Poor formatting and job-hopping can also be the reasons for rejecting your resume. Plus, you should never stretch the truth as it can reflect negatively on your career.

Always check your resume before sending it to make sure there are no mistakes and shortcomings that can turn off potential employers.

What is the golden triangle of a resume?

The golden triangle is the space at the top left corner of your resume, across the top and down the left side. The recruiters scan resumes in the form of this triangle and pay attention to the information there in the first place.

The reason is, they have to scan dozens or hundreds of resumes daily, which makes it physically impossible to read each resume from top to bottom. If they don't find anything valuable there, they move on to the next resume. Thus, the right corner of your resume and the second page rarely get seen.

Try to concentrate the most important information in this triangle. Add contact info and achievements at the top. Adjust the job titles if necessary so that they accurately describe your experience. Make all details within this triangle count.

Is job hopping always a red flag?

Not necessarily. Everything depends on how frequently you changed jobs and the industry. In the digital and tech sector, employers are not so opinionated about changing jobs frequently. In conservative sectors such as finance and law changing jobs each few months can raise questions. Plus, if you changed jobs because of the pandemic or problems in your industry, most hiring managers will understand that.

If you give solid reasons why you changed jobs frequently, hiring managers will probably not see your job-hopping as a problem.

Our experienced writers can create a powerful resume suitable for each position. However, you may also request a specific resume depending on the job you are applying for, thus it will be tailored individually for your profession:

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