Resume Red Flags You Need to Watch Out For this Year

Most people put hours of work into their resume, and smart job seekers do their best to customize their resume for each job they are seeking.

Unfortunately, all that work can be for nothing if a hiring manager spots a red flag and tosses the resume in the trash can.

When proofreading your resume, be sure to look it over for anything that will immediately disqualify you, like bad spelling and obvious stretching of the truth. While some of these red flags may be obvious, some are harder to pick up on – unless your job involves looking at resume after resume.

Here are a few things to look out for the next time you’re about to hit ‘Send’ on your next resume.

It’s generic

If you want to earn a lot of interest from a hiring manager, give the same to them. If it seems like you haven’t taken the time to tailor your resume for the particular job you are applying for, it looks like you might be taking a generic approach to job seeking.

To avoid raising this red flag, customize each resume you send out and make certain you reflect the language in the job description. Indicate how, when, and where you gained the skills and experience to meet the requirements of the job.

Bad spelling and grammar

Now that every word processor, web browser and smartphone has a built in spellchecker – there’s really no excuse for misspellings. However, you can’t just scan your resume for words underlined in red and call it a day. Be sure that a wrong word didn’t slip past the automatic spellchecker, resulting in a nonsense sentence.

Truth stretching and fluff

Job seekers that don’t have iron-clad credentials might be tempted to fudge their experience. This is a temptation you should avoid.

Overgeneralizations, fluffy terminology and purposely leaving out crucial details are easy to spot and seen as red flags.

For instance, older job hunters might leave out graduation dates to hide their age. However, by trying to conceal your age, you are actually bringing awareness to it as your resume will look different than almost every other job seeker’s.

Even worse, raising this red flag tells a hiring manager that you have a hard time being upfront and honest.

Keyword stuffing

It is important to include keywords and phrases in your resume in case it gets entered into an applicant tracking system (ATS). These software programs use automation to scan resumes for essential credentials, like “forklift certified” or “manager experience”.

However, you don’t want to become so obsessed with including key words that your resume turns into a jumble of random sentences and awkward phrases.

A good approach is to write out your resume without even thinking about keywords, and then going back over it to see where you can incorporate them in the most natural way possible.

At LTI, we help job seekers with everything from resume writing to interview preparation. Please contact us to learn how we can help you take the next step on your career path.