When reading a resume, what red flags do recruiters look out for?

Over the course of my career, I have interviewed hundreds of recruiters and hiring managers. Regardless of their work style or industry, they each have red flags they look for in a resume that almost always result in a hard pass. Here are the top 5:

1.) The candidate has no long-term positions.

If you have been at each of your jobs for less than a year – sometimes even less than a few months, recruiters will automatically assume you are a job hopper that is looking to get ahead too quickly, or that you are a poor performing employee. There are a few exceptions to this, as some industries (such as manufacturing) are known for hiring short-term, contract-based positions. However, those industries are far and few between, so if you have many different positions on your resume, you may want to reconsider searching for a new job, and stay exactly where you are for a longer period of time. 

2.) The dates and positions provided by the candidate are inconsistent with their application, LinkedIn profile, or background check.

When dates and titles listed on your resume do not align with your LinkedIn profile, your application, or your background check, recruiters will almost immediately assume you are trying to hide something and simply move on to the next candidate. Honesty is always the best policy, and the only way to ensure that all your information is consistent across platforms. Do not try to inflate your titles or stretch your dates. Recruiters and hiring managers understand that it takes time to find a new job, so if you have gaps, be prepared and comfortable speaking about them.

3.) There are numerous grammatical errors, with a lack of consistency or attention to detail.

Listen, everyone has a typo hear or there (catch that?), but if your resume has a plethora of grammatical and spelling errors, it is a big turn-off. Do note, if English is your second language or the type of high grammar that is required for a resume is not your forte – you can always have a friend, family member or editor review the information for content accuracy. In fact, I strongly encourage you to, no matter what your background is. Two sets of eyes are better than one!

4.) The resume is missing a personalized touch.

One recruiter told me that they had three candidate resumes come through that were basically the same since they each copied and pasted the job description, verbatim. It showed a lack of personalization, and while it was pulled by the ATS, was shot down immediately. While there is nothing wrong with using a job description for direction (as you should ensure your resume is customized), plagiarism is never okay. Take the time to describe your skills and accomplishments in your own words, using the job descriptions for guidance only.

5.) The candidate is arrogant. 

It is one thing to draw attention to your accomplishments, but it is another to be boastful. For example, check out the difference between these two statements:

– Developed a sales strategy that targeted new customers and increased market share, growing revenue by 25% 4Q.

– Lead the best team in the company’s history, taking over from an underperforming manager to maximize sales by 25%.

One is straightforward, the other is well – not very nice! Be proud of your achievements, but not condescending.

If you are having trouble writing your resume, my Perfect Resume Builder Course can show you exactly what you need to do to get past the ATS systems and through to the recruiters and hiring managers. My program provides an ATS-friendly template, tips, and tricks to quickly customize your resume, my personal review, and much, much more. 

Feel free to contact me today. Your dream job is waiting!

Leave a Reply