What Are Resume Red Flags?
A letter to all you job hunters and candidates with red flags throughout your resume. Clean it up:
Dear Candidate/Potential Resume Writing Client,
Upon review of your resume, we noticed there are some trouble spots or red flags that need to be addressed prior to sending to potential employers.
While there is no “right” or “wrong” way to write a resume, it’s like fishing, you get fish with attractive bait, not with a shiny hook. That’s why it’s important your resume answers the “key” basic questions when first reviewed by the search firm, recruiter, personnel department, or hiring manager.
Employment departments are overwhelmed as they are inundated with resumes due in part to the economy and the sharp increase in firms offering career counseling and resume services. Surveys report that on average a recruiter, pre-screener, HR Manager, or search firm spends between 15-20 seconds reviewing a resume submitted by email before the resume lands in the stack “for further review,” sent to the personal departments database, archives, or into the round file. Think of it as “Tinder for talent.”
Your resume fails to provide the necessary information, or was deleted for any one of the following reasons:
1. Most personal departments or recruiters (the ones who first review your resume) receive hundreds of resumes per week and simply don’t/won’t take the time to visit your web site, or go to another venue to read your resume.
2. While you have an impressive resume, it would be easier to list the experiences and accomplishments you haven’t done versus those you have listed.
3. A rambling introduction of bullets, highlights are meaningless unless tied to the specific employer, technology, and relative dates of employment.
Below, listed in order of importance, are "key” components that should appear on the first 2/3rds of the first page of any resume:
1. Personal information, address, email, cell, or home phone number
2. Objective, or position/level of responsibility being sought, versus the reviewer speculating what you you’re looking for based on your most recent position, or employment history.
3. Summary,… a brief paragraph or two, that conveys to the reviewer a sense of accomplishment, successes, large or small company employment, technology, expertise, level of responsibility, private/public, annual revenues, etc. Limit the use of bullets.
4. Education, should not be listed as an after thought, or placed on the last page of your resume. Education should name the University(s) attended, Degree(s), including Technical /Vocational School, or additional Technical Training (specific technical skills, etc.)
5. Employment History (most recent first, length of employment (from – to) company name, city, state and a concise, informative sentence stating what each employer does (technology, manufacturing services, R&D, design, etc.) and your position by title, reporting to (Manager, Director, VP, etc,, no names), then a brief paragraph of your duties and responsibilities.
Your resume is a “tool” or snapshot of your professional employment history. It serves as an outline to get you to the next level, a phone call, a personal interview. It should not be a composition, or biographical history of your life. The repetitive nature of many resume formats indicates they may have been prepared professionally and at significant expense.
Now in order to “pass” the old 20 seconds test, you must eliminate the following red flags:
1. Employment gaps: If you’ve been out of work for awhile, it’s best to utilize the functional resume format over chronological. Rather than listing out your work history in order with accomplishments under each gig, try a functional where you author accomplishments in order of relevance at the top and keep the work history at the bottom. Just make sure your accomplishments are geared towards your targeted role.
2. Job hopping: See “Employment gaps.” Remember though, stick around somewhere for at least 3 years to avoid this MAJOR red flag. Everyone has issues with co-workers and bosses from time to time so maybe it’s time you start sucking it up if you’ve had 5 jobs in 5 years. Reality check time.
3. Absurd email address: No one will call back a candidate with an email address like “DemBoyz69@yahoo.com” or “iSmokeBluntsAllDay@gmail.com” or “CurvaciousGrl00@msn.com”.
4. Grammatical or spelling mistakes: It’s simple. Take the time to double check your writing and use spell check. Why rush the document? You are about to send it off to 30 employers this week. You only have one impression. Make it count.
5. Hiding education: If you don’t have a degree, don’t mark down that you do! If you’re enrolled into a certain program on a path to attain a degree, then write it like this – “Bachelor of Science in Marketing (currently enrolled) or Bachelor of Science in Marketing (estimated graduation date: April 2016)”
6. Hiding work history information: Mark your work history dates. Don’t confuse the reader by trying to hides the gaps or job hops. Maybe a functional resume is needed here if your work history is choppy.
7. Virtual red flags: your social media presence. Clean up your Facebook, Twitter, etc. profiles.
I’ve been in the recruiting, resume writing, and career coaching business for 10+ years and my opinions/suggestions are intended to be constructive. Therefore, you may want to consider modifying your current resume if it’s not yielding the results you had expected, or paid for.