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Resume Tips: Red Flags Employers Look For

Resume Tips: Red Flags Employers Look For

Avoid these things when applying for a new job

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Applying for a job is often time-consuming and stressful, but you can make the process a bit easier by making your resume as legible, professional and easy to understand as possible. Things haven’t changed much in the outline of what a resume looks like, but it’s still important to avoid certain mistakes and think critically about certain choices you make that could negatively affect your likelihood of getting hired.

If it’s more than one page

If it’s more than one page

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Most applicants should be able to avoid this mistake and keep their resume to one page. Less is more when it comes to resume building. Save detailed descriptions for your cover letter and be as concise as possible in your resume. Keeping your resume concise can also relieve some of your anxiety during your job hunt.

Typos and incorrect spelling

Typos and incorrect spelling

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Whether you’re fresh out of college or you’re a retiree returning to the workforce, your grammar and spelling should be impeccable. Not going over your spelling or not taking time to fix typos could be a sign that you don’t have a strong attention to detail or you were too lazy to go back and fix your mistakes.

Unnecessary fluff

Unnecessary fluff

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For your resume, cut unnecessary adverbs or adjectives, use attention-grabbing keywords and don’t exaggerate your experience.

Inconsistencies

Inconsistencies

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Check for inconsistencies. Carefully read your resume over and compare it to other elements of your job application. Does the information on your LinkedIn, cover letter and resume match? If not, make those changes so there are no discrepancies for a potential employer to question.

Listing a career objective

Listing a career objective

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For those reentering the workforce after raising kids, you may have an outdated resume that includes a career objective. The practice these days is to remove it. Rather than telling an employer what you want to get out of the job, you should be showcasing what you have to give them. Tell them why you would be a valuable asset to the company.

Listing references

Listing references

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Listing references takes space. Unless you’re a recent college graduate with limited previous experience, employers will assume that you have references whether you list them or not.

Disorganized formatting

Disorganized formatting

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Your career path might be in a declining field or a field that is quickly growing — either way, you want your resume to be eye-catching. Switching up the basic format just to make your paper look different doesn’t always work though. A common format is set up this way: header, education, experience, activities or skills. Listing skills first, for example, could tip off employers that you’re hiding inconsistencies in your experience or it could simply make it more difficult for a hiring manager to note the progression of your experience.

Absence of keywords

Absence of keywords

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Keywords pop out on your resume, which may be one out of hundreds that your prospective employer is looking over. Whether you’ve worked from home, have only had internships or you’ve had lots of jobs throughout your career, make what you did stand out. Use strong words that showcase your skills throughout the resume.

Personal information

Personal information

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There are quite a few things to consider when you have to present the most professional version of yourself. Trying to negotiate a wage too early in the hiring process, wearing sloppy clothing and getting too personal are things you should avoid. A simple way to limit how much personal information you share is to save personal stories or experiences for your cover letter or interviews, if they are appropriate during those times. When it comes to your resume, drop the personal anecdotes and stick to your work experience and skills.

Unprofessional fonts

Unprofessional fonts

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When you’re at home with the kids teaching them lessons or playing games, using fun fonts is OK. When you’re applying to a job, it’s best to stick to readable fonts that don’t distract anyone reading your resume. Calibri and Verdana are both well-recognized clean fonts that will help keep your employer focused on your experience and not your choice in curlicued lettering.

High school education or jobs

High school education or jobs

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Applying to jobs that don’t require a college degree might call for you to include your high school education. If you’re applying to a job that does request an undergraduate or graduate degree, it’s best to list only the college or university you attended and drop the high school degree since it’s assumed you received that.

Short tenures or long gaps

Short tenures or long gaps

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Resumes that show long gaps between various jobs or jobs that didn’t last long could be a poor reflection of your work ethic or a sign that you burn out quickly. If you do have an unemployment gap on your resume, make sure you discuss the circumstances and have a positive explanation of how you dealt with the situation.

Including a photograph

Including a photograph

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You may have healthy, glowing skin, but including a picture of yourself on your resume could influence employer bias or lead to discrimination. If your career isn’t in performing arts or broadcasting — in which case your appearance may play a role in hiring — then keep it off your resume.

Jargon

Jargon

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No matter if you worked for one of the world’s biggest businesses or a small town company, using industry jargon could be a turnoff for employers. Some terminology or acronyms are not universal, leaving your prospective employer to figure out what you are talking about.

Unprofessional email address

Unprofessional email address

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If you’re still using the same email address you created when you were 16, it’s time to change it. Cryptic names such as H0m3run42 or FlowerPower18 are not email names you should be presenting to employers who are expecting a high level of professionalism. Make an account that has your first and last name in it, or a last name and first initial. Be sure to keep your inbox organized so you don’t miss an email from prospective employers.

 

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