Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » 5 Ways to Avoid the Red-Flag Resume

Every job application pool usually has at least a couple of candidates swimming in it who raise red flags for hiring managers.  The resumes may show signs of unprofessionalism or are flat out irritating to read.

You can bet your bottom dollar that even if your red-flag resume makes it through the computer screening process and into the hands of a hiring manager, it won’t take you much further.  For this reason, you want to do everything you can—right from the start—to avoid producing this type of resume by doing the following:

1. Don’t Overlook the Job Posting

Hiring managers create job postings for a reason—to let candidates know what it takes to qualify for a job.  So say, for instance, you are a part of the hospitality industry and are applying for a job as a hotel manager.  The qualifications include preparing budgets and forecasts, managing financial activities, recruiting qualified applicants, and overseeing the grounds.

If you make no mention in your resume of having these qualifications, the hiring manager will see the red flags and have no choice but to reconsider you as an option.

2. Don’t Forget to Account for Gaps in History

Suppose you haven’t worked a professional job in five years—with good reason, of course; you were at home raising your family.  If you make no mention of this gap in time, the red flags are likely to go up, and managers will wonder what you were doing for five years.  And if other candidates have no gaps, you may be discarded before you even have a chance to explain.

3. Don’t Tell Them What They Don’t Want to Know

Sometimes it’s fun to be lighthearted during your job search.  But under some circumstances, giving too much information about your life may simply be unprofessional.

For instance, if you create a section about hobbies, then mention that you love to pick your nose (yuck!), some could find this amusing, but most would likely be turned off by the offbeat humor.  Of course, we know that you wouldn’t really say that in a resume (I sure hope not), but some people might place equally unprofessional information on their resumes.  Leave the personal information off.

4. Don’t Leave Off the Obvious

Another major red flag for hiring managers who are looking through resumes is receiving some from candidates who leave off the obvious details—such as contact information.  Even if you’ve already entered it on your application, you still want to include it in your resume.

5. Don’t Forget to Edit

If you submit a resume with typos or misspelled words, you’re asking for the red flags to go up.  So before submitting your make-or-break document, be sure to edit, edit, and edit some more.

Red-flag resumes are only good for ensuring that you don’t get the job you want.  If you are taking your job search seriously, be sure to work hard on your resume so that it doesn’t raise any red flags.

For additional tips and advice on resumes and cover letters, follow @GreatResume or visit our blog.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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