The 3 biggest red flags hiring managers look for in resumes, according to new research

by Guest Author, Morgan Smith

If you use artificial intelligence to write your resume — or get a bit too creative with the design — you could be hurting your chances of landing a job.

The biggest red flag hiring managers look for in job candidates is an AI-generated resume, according to new research from Resume Genius, which surveyed 625 hiring managers across the U.S. Other resume faux pas include poor formatting and typos.

Here are the three biggest resume red flags that could cost you a job offer, and how to avoid them, according to a hiring expert:

AI-generated resumes

More than half (53%) of hiring managers say they have reservations about resumes that include AI-generated content, with 20% calling it a “critical issue” that might prevent them from hiring someone.

“It’s extremely important that your resume is a truthful, authentic reflection of the skills and experience you bring to the table,” says Michelle Reisdorf, district director at recruitment firm Robert Half. “If you use AI to write a resume for you in minutes, it tells me you didn’t put a lot of time and thought into applying to my job.”

Reisdorf, who has worked in recruiting and hiring for over 30 years, still encourages jobseekers to use AI to review and edit their resume — but says you should write the first draft.

“AI is great for proofreading and enhancing what you’ve already written, but it’s not a one-stop shop to generate the perfect resume,” she adds. “Recruiters will be able to tell if you’re not including specific details from your past jobs or writing in a personal, human voice.”

Frequent job-hopping

Similarly, resumes showing a pattern of frequent job-hopping make 50% of hiring managers hesitant to move forward with a candidate, Resume Genius found.

This red flag is trickier to avoid: If you’ve switched jobs a lot, you can’t lie about your employment history. Plus, hiring managers have different definitions of what constitutes excessive job-hopping.

For some, it might be changing jobs every 1-2 years, while others would argue it’s a shorter timeframe (opting to move after less than a year).

You don’t have to explain every time you switched roles, “as most recruiters aren’t looking for that on the first pass,” Reisdorf says. “They want to know if you have the skills and the experience to do the job well — your past experiences and commitment to work are usually saved for the interview.”

If you have several short stints on your resume, however, Reisdorf recommends including a brief context (1-2 sentences) of your job changes elsewhere on your application.

“Most online applications will have text fields for additional comments or ‘reasons for leaving’ after you upload your resume,” she explains. “That’s a good place to acknowledge any job-hopping without drawing too much attention to it.”

Otherwise, save any explanations of your career choices for the interview.

Poor formatting

Another red flag hiring managers look out for on resumes is poor formatting, whether it’s a disorganized layout, using an obscure font or simply forgetting to spell-check.

Reisdorf says clean, simple resumes are the most effective as they’re easy for anyone to read and understand. That means using a basic black font, trimming it to one page and having clearly labeled, organized sections.

Put simply, you want a recruiter’s attention to be focused on your accomplishments — not a bold typeface choice or cluttered layout.

Proofreading for any spelling or grammar mistakes before submitting your resume is important, too, Reisdorf says, because it shows your potential employer that you’re detail-oriented and conscientious.

“Ultimately, you want the hiring manager to focus on you, as the candidate, versus the mistakes on your resume,” says Reisdorf. “Your resume should make them excited to interview and, hopefully, hire you.”

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About the author: Morgan Smith is a work reporter for CNBC Make It, where she covers hiring trends and the future of work, including how Gen Z and millennials are approaching their careers.

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