These days the job market isn’t easy. There are definitely more qualified workers than there are jobs. This means that you can’t afford to make any mistakes when it comes to the hiring process. You need to have a solid resume. It needs to be bulletproof. What you may not realize is that people aren’t the only ones looking at it. At bigger companies it is typically a computer that scans your resume first. Only the resumes that get past that initial check will actually be seen by human eyes. This fact alone leads to several helpful tips in order to maximize the chances of getting your resume into the human resources department. But not only are there things that you should do, there are also things you shouldn’t do. Today we’re going to go over the biggest mistakes that people make when they are creating their resumes. Some of these involve pet peeves of hiring managers, others are just little technicalities that lead to your resume getting thrown out. Either way though, our goal is to get you an interview. If you can get that far, then you’re on your own. These are 25 red flags on your resume that may keep you from getting the job.
Cutesy contact Information
Emails like [email protected] are a sure fire way to land your resume in the trash bin. Make sure your email is professional sounding.
If you have lengthy gaps on your resume it can set you back so in your cover letter you’ll need to explain why (kids, education, saving the world, etc). Just remember it’s always better to be honest. Employers are concerned about you losing your edge so also mention what you have been doing to stay on top of the industry.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Companies don’t like this because they think it causes your skills to dry up. Our advice: try to pick up freelancing or consulting work to add to your resume. If all else fails, at least volunteer for a worthy cause so that you can talk about your experience (see the last item)
Changing jobs too often
This makes it seem like you are uncommitted. They will train you and you will run. You need to alleviate their fears and briefly justify why you changed companies so often in your cover letter.
While some recruiters are more lax on this than others, you should do everything you can to maximize your chance of getting the job. Proofread!
Not being professional
It may seem old school, but unless you are absolutely sure that you can refer to someone casually…don’t do it.
While not strictly related to your resume, even if you don’t mention your social media profiles, you can almost bet that they will be searched out and examined. Posting negative comments about past employers or talking about how you got wasted yesterday are not going to help your case.
If your resume doesn’t match up to your LinkedIn profile, you need to fix that right away. Otherwise hiring managers will either think you are lying or sloppy.
Hiring managers don’t want people who will bail on them the next chance they get. If you are obviously overqualified for your job, explain in your cover letter why you are applying, how you can help the company, and how this job matches your long term goals.
The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will automatically chuck your resume if it doesn’t contain keywords from the job description. Why? Because employers don’t want people who aren’t genuinely interested in the job or who haven’t even taken time to read through the posting.
Applying to multiple open positions at the same company
This isn’t so much a problem with the structure of your resume as it is with what you do with it. There is very little chance that one person will be legitimately qualified for multiple positions in a company, so if you apply to more than one on the company job board, you risk irreparably undermining your credibility.
Although you may have been king of the chess club at John Smith high school, if it doesn’t relate to the job for which you are applying, get rid of it. Some hiring managers will think you don’t have anything meaningful to talk about. Note: this same rule may not apply in Europe where CV’s are oftentimes much more detailed and personal than in the United States.
As we just mentioned, this is relevant only if you are applying for jobs in North America (and possibly a few other places). By and large though, American companies don’t care what you do with your free time and don’t want to know. Although it may not be so much of a red flag, it can certainly get your resume discarded in the initial stages.
Age discrimination in jobs is a real thing. Standard advice for older candidates is to leave your graduation date off your resume. Also, only use ONE space after periods. Double spaces are actually used to screen out older candidates (we know, you learned on a typewriter).
Obsolete work experience
This goes for older candidates as well. If you start listing things you did 20 years ago, all that is going to tell someone is that you are too old for the job. Anything that is more than 15-20 years old is probably no longer relevant in most industries.
Including your past salary information in your resume may send the wrong message. Salary negotiation will come later.
Terms like “guru”, “ninja” or “self starter” run the risk of getting on the hiring managers nerves more than anything. Let your achievements speak for themselves.
It’s not a crime, but using Times New Roman or other serif fonts will likely just give away your age again. Go for Arial or some other standard sans-serif.
Too many skills
If you list anything and everything (we’re looking at you MS Word masters) then the recruiter will think you are just trying to impress them rather than actually listing your skills. List a few and show how they are relevant to the job.
While in some countries this is the norm, in the United States your resume will likely get thrown out. Some companies do this automatically in order to protect themselves from possible discrimination lawsuits.
If you were a barista at Starbucks don’t write that you were “in charge of creating an uplifting ordering experience”. If you oversell the little things you probably oversell the big things.
Unless you are in academia, or you are applying for jobs in the same European countries that require photos, do not have a long resume. Many hiring managers will throw it out unless it gets to the point quick. Keep in mind that even famous CEOs have 1 page resumes.
For profit college
This one might hurt some people, but attending a for-profit school like University of Phoenix is actually looked down on by many hiring managers. The reason for this is because it makes you look like you are gullible, do not make wise choices, and/or attended a diploma mill that gave you a degree for your money. If you are considering online/for-profit schools…don’t! Do yourself a favor and attend a reputable institution. Most are cheaper and have online programs as well.
Skills beneath the job description
If you are applying for an IT job do not list Microsoft Word as one of your qualifications.
Lack of relevant information
If the employer asked for something specific, like professional license status or citizenship, make sure to include it. Missing something like that is sure to lose you the job.