Is Your Resume Sending Up Red Flags?

July 12th, 2013

If you’re lucky, a hiring manager will spend 20-30 seconds looking over your resume. More likely, he or she will only spend six seconds. So not only do you need to make those six seconds count, you have to avoid being disqualified immediately.

Here are five red flags that will get your resume tossed aside in a snap:

1. It’s too generic. The employer needs to see that you’re taking this opportunity, and this company, seriously. If you don’t take the time to customize your resume, you’re ignoring the most basic question: How is this resume relevant to this particular job?

You need to tailor each resume you send out, matching your experience to the necessary qualifications. Basically, show exactly how, when and where you developed the talent and expertise to meet the needs of the position for which you’re applying.

2. It looks “crowded.” Is your resume reader-friendly? If you use non-standard fonts, small text with little space between sections and narrow margins, you’re raising a red flag. First, it shows that you don’t care how it looks or how easy it is to read. It also suggests that you’re cramming too much information into too small a space, rather than paring it down to the most important achievements of your career.

You don’t need to include everything you’ve ever done at every job you’ve ever had. Use a standard font at a reasonable type size and forget lines, graphics, pictures and colors.

3. It displays poor grammar & spelling. At the very least, use spellcheck. While it won’t catch every error, it will help. And try to get someone who is good with language to check it over. You don’t want to raise the question: “If this candidate is too lazy or incapable of checking over a resume, what would they slack off on if they were on the job?”

4. It’s hard to follow. Does your resume clearly present the sequential steps of your career? With dates set apart, preferably flush right? Hiring managers won’t take the time to search for this information, and if it doesn’t exist at all, that’s a huge red flag. It will look like you’re trying to hide something.

If you have gaps of time in your work history where you had legitimate reasons for not working, address them. For example, as the last bullet under a given job, you can say something like: “Left position to pursue additional educational opportunities” or “Left position to deal with a family member’s chronic medical issues.”

5. It’s full of clichés. Some job hunters use too many hackneyed phrases like “hard worker,” “out-of-the-box thinker,” “team player,” “excellent communications skills,” etc. You don’t want to sound like everyone else; also, these words are so overused, they don’t convey any true meaning.

Show instead of tell. Give examples of your out-of-the-box solutions, and talk about times when your actions really did benefit your team.

If you take the time to lower these red flags, you will raise the likelihood of having your resume read and of moving on to the next step. Got any more questions about resumes or are looking for a great job opportunity? Contact the recruiting experts at Synerfac anytime.

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