Snow Day Truths from HR Hiring Managers: Resume Red Flags

Happy Snow Day to all you job hunters out there! 

While you’re trapped indoors, take a sec to think about revamping your professional profiles. 

Several HR Managers shared 12 red flags they’ve seen on many millennial profiles, resumes and job applications:

  1. A resume looks trendy and “expressive” but is too cluttered and hard to read through: A resume should be easy to skim through whether it’s by an HR recruiter or by an electronic system. Avoid personality summaries, vague language and resume padding. Short and simple is the best.
  2. A resume looks too general and has unrelated information: A resume should be tailored to the job to which you’re applying. Show you’re qualified for the job by having a few of the key words from the list of job requirements in your resume.
  3. An applicant lists only years and not months that you were in the positions listed: If you don’t have the years of experience needed for a job, perhaps it’s not the right job for you yet. Don’t fudge your years of experience by skipping the months in your employment listing.
  4. An applicant lists emotional concerns in the cover letter/application form: Recruiters want to see confident applicants who are ready and willing to commit to their company. They don’t want to read through a list of demands and concerns before they even have a chance to read through your resume. Keep things brief and professional.
  5. An applicant lists his/her State-Issued Drivers License as a professional certification: Professional Certifications are issued after completing special training outside of your formal college degree that was earned to excel in a specific field (e.g., First Aid, HR Management, Communications, Finance, etc.). 
  6. An applicant lists more volunteer activities than professional experience: It’s nice that you joined a ton of craft groups or were captain of the archery team, but your resume should show a focus on professional work. Philanthropic and volunteer activities listed should be limited to those related to the job for which you’re applying. 
  7. An applicant lists a non-professional reference: Listing relatives or significant others as professional references is considered a faux pas in the business world. 
  8. There are large gaps or too many transitions listed in the resume: People are hired and fired or choose to resign or transition for a number of reasons. There may also be a gap in your professional skill development over time. Make sure that you have a valid reason for any gaps in your career and that it is BRIEFLY addressed in your cover letter or in the section of your application marked “Additional Information.” (If there is a technical or “soft skill” that isn’t listed in your resume but the job requires, it’s alright to explain that while you never received formal training in a specific area it has been an inherent part of your previous job(s) ask if there is a preliminary exam you can take during the interview process. This hint of self-confidence will help move you forward.) 
  9. There are tons of errors in the grammar and punctuation: A good resume reflects the thoughtfulness of the prospective employee. If your resume is full of typos and errors it looks as though you didn’t put an effort in what should matter most to you… yourself… your brand. Why should a company hire a person who isn’t careful about the first piece of information that a Recruiter will see? 
  10. The cookie-cutter work summary: A Recruiter doesn’t want to read that you’re an energetic and motivated self-starter who works good in groups and independently. Obviously your list of professional experience should tell them that. Ditch the extra paragraph. Add more relevant information like your Technical Skills, Languages, etc.
  11. Information listed shows discrepancies and/or regression: You list in one place that you were working at a place from 2010-2016, but you list other work within that period. Were some or all of these jobs part time? How did you manage to work at so many different places at once? Employers understand that it’s difficult to make ends meet in today’s economy. If you’ve worked several part-time jobs, list “(Part-Time)” on the line where you list the job title and place of employment. Recruiters appreciate a straightforward resume. 
  12. There is a suspicious lack of an online presence: In today’s day and age it’s inevitable to open at least one social media account, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn, or whatever. While it’s possible you’re just not that into social media and don’t have accounts, it’s good to open a small LinkedIn account so that Google searches about you don’t reveal a suspicious absence. Again, keep it short, sweet and professional — both visual content and wording. Some people are treating LinkedIn like an extension of Don’t fall into the pit. Your future employers are watching. 

For more information on Red Flag items, Click Here.

If you’re interested in learning more, click here and email Philo4Thought to schedule a one-on-one Resume Review.

Move ahead and get hired!

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