I have been told that I have an eye for resumes. And they have an eye for me. There are few things I love more than a good resume review. I take out my red pen and get to work. Many times more often than not, the resume draft looks like a badly marked up 6th grade essay by the time I am done with it. Typically, the resumes that I review are filled with tons of resume red flags that could be avoided, and will probably disqualify the person from the job they want so badly.

resume red flags pinned

Avoid These 10 Resume Red Flags:

  1. Having an address that doesn’t match the company.
    Companies like local candidates. If you are relocating, find a friend or family member with an address in the same city.
  2. Crazy email addresses.
    I have seen some doozies such as “tripleDsforyou@emailaddress.com” or “crazeefreakeegrl@emailaddress.com” I mean, would you hire you?
  3. Ridiculous fonts and colors.
    Your resume is not the place for 26pt purple font and Comic Sans. Keep it professional with a simple 12pt font in black.
  4. Spelling and grammar errors.
    Spell check, people. Spell check! Ask someone to read over your resume, and ask them to be honest.
  5. Leaving out valuable keywords.
    Most applications and resumes are submitted to an applicant tracking system. This software sorts resumes and applications by keyword saturation. Make sure your resume gets seen by matching the keywords in your resume with as many of the keywords in the job description as possible.
  6. It is way, way, too long.
    There is no reason your resume should be 3 pages long. If you have tons of valuable experience, 1 1/2 pages is appropriate. If you don’t, it better not be longer than 1 page.
  7. Listing day-to-day accomplishments.
    “I answered the phone.” “I set appointments.” Ok, so what?  Almost anyone can do these things. How did you do it different and better than anyone else? Be quantifiable with your accomplishments.
  8. Poor formatting.
    Microsoft Word and Google Docs both have resume templates that you can use. There is no reason for your resume to be a long boring list or a mashup of information. Find a format that works and keep your cover letter and reference page in the same style.
  9. Too personal.
    No hiring manager wants to know that you like to go camping or that you are a happily married homeowner. Does it relate to the job? If not, keep it to yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to share these things at the water cooler when you get hired.
  10. Gaps between jobs
    Although not entirely avoidable (most of the time), gaps in employment are a major red flag. Many times, though, employers are willing to give candidates the time of day to explain themselves IF the rest of the resume is spectacular. Just be ready to professionally explain yourself when asked; and you will be asked.

There is no shame in tearing up what you already have and starting over. Constructing your resume properly should take time, thought, and effort on your part in order to avoid the resume red flags that I have listed. If you have a resume that you think needs help, let me know by connecting with me in the comments below!

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