6 Resume Red Flags to Avoid

by Guest Author, Beatrice Manuel

Are there any resume red flags that could cost you your dream job? Here are some things you should watch out for.

Finding a job is never simple, but having a resume full of issues makes it more difficult. Your resume is your first impression of a recruiter, and even the smallest detail could greatly affect your chances of success.

Anything that casts doubt on your ability, moral character, or attention to detail can be a resume red flag and might cost you the job. Here are some resume red flags to avoid when creating your own resume.

1. Employment Gaps and Job Hopping

A large employment gap on your resume is considered one of the biggest red flags. It may indicate something negative, such as an abrupt termination or resignation, suggesting that potential employers may find you unsuitable for employment. However, as long as you have a valid reason for any prolonged breaks, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Explain your break with complete transparency and honesty.

Along with employment gaps, short stays and unannounced departures also raise a red flag on your resume. It can be a sign that you were fired, left on bad terms, or that you’re likely to quit this job early. You can avoid prominent job hopping on your resume by combining related temporary positions under a single heading and avoiding mentioning temporary positions.

2. Generic and Clichéd Language

When you’re creating a resume, you need to go beyond writing a headline that stands out and supplement your skills with valid proof. Generic resumes can give the impression that the applicant is either unsuitable or unmotivated, potentially costing you the position. Your resume should convey why you’d be a good fit for the position you’re applying for, not give the impression that you’ve sent the same resume to every recruiter.

Take the time to curate a targeted resume that highlights the skills and capabilities essential for the job you’re applying for. Avoid generic buzzwords, overused language, and grammar or spelling mistakes. Getting your resume proofread before sending it to the recruiter is also a good practice to employ.

3. Irrelevant or Outdated Skills

Listing generic abilities like “Microsoft Word” or “Excel” suggests that you might not have any better skills. It indicates that you’re probably not a good fit for the role as you don’t possess the necessary skills or knowledge.

Try listing 5 to 10 targeted and relevant skills, so employers can quickly determine if you possess the required qualifications. Make sure you put the most important aspects of your background, credentials, and experience in the spotlight on your resume and make it targeted to the position you’re looking for.

Don’t mistake this for having no experience in a field. You can still apply for a job you don’t have prior experience in if you can demonstrate your ambition and existing skills while writing a convincing and passionate cover letter. However, if you feel your skills are a little lacking, then it’s time to get training.

4. Inconsistencies and False Information

Too much personal information looks unprofessional, while leaving out vital elements (such as your contact information) portrays you as negligent and makes it harder for employers to get in touch with you. Make sure to fact-check your information to ensure you include all the necessary and correct details about yourself.

While it’s natural to want to showcase yourself in the best light, you should avoid embellishing your resume with false information. Avoid including anything that you cannot support with a concrete example of how you applied and where you learned the skill.

5. Overemphasis on Responsibilities, Underemphasis on Results

It can be difficult to precisely sum up your professional strengths in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd. Often, candidates end up overemphasizing their responsibilities, making them sound boastful. This could repel recruiters.

Even though you may be a respected leader or a visionary thinker, those claims should be made about you, not by you. Avoid making any claims or statements about your responsibilities that cannot be backed by evidence. If you can, include a previous manager or supervisor as a reference, who can back you up on your accomplishments.

6. Lack of Quantifiable Achievements

Not quantifying your achievements in previous roles may make recruiters think you might be lying on your resume. Along with making sure you receive credit for your accomplishments, it’s also crucial to demonstrate the outcomes these efforts have produced.

Focus on achievements that align with the recruiter’s needs and showcase how you achieved desired results for these accomplishments. A great way to do this is by adding percentages or figures within specified timeframes. This is especially relevant in sales and marketing positions.

Build a Perfect Resume for Job Success

Being seen among a sea of applicants has become increasingly difficult in online job searches. You must be mindful of obstacles and give yourself the best chance of receiving an offer.

The greatest strategy to get an interview call is to ensure your resume is appealing to hiring managers. So make sure to avoid these resume red flags and increase your chances of getting the interview call you badly want.

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About the author: Beatrice Manuel is a seasoned productivity writer with a knack for uncovering game-changing productivity hacks that simplify life routines. You can reach her at beatricemanuelwrites@gmail.com.

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