Getting Started Resumes & Cover Letters

8 Red Flags Employers See on Your Resume

Written by Jessie Liu

Do you send out lots of resumes and never hear back? Recruiters watch for certain items on a resume and, if you have any of those on yours, that might be the reason. Considering recruiters tend to spend under five minutes to look a resume over, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, what an individual puts on a resume is important. A few resume tips on what to do when applying for a job may help.


1. Your Resume is Obviously Recycled

If you’re one of those individuals who sends out the same resume for every job application, you shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t hear anything back. Read the posting carefully and write your resume and cover letter toward that particular job. Include your relevant experience and how you would be an asset to the company. Otherwise, your application may be destined for the bottom of the pile. Recruiters say that it is surprising how many job applications have no relevance to the job.


2. Your Resume is Too Flashy

Unless you are applying for a job as an artist or graphic designer, over-embellishing your resume may backfire on you. Employers are looking for workers who are qualified for the job, and recruiters aren’t going to spend much time trying to figure out when and where you worked when they have to wade through decorative fonts, colors and other unnecessary decorations.


3. Your Email Address is Not Professional

While the email address you use may on a regular basis might be something you consider cute or original, such as, the recruiter might not find it amusing. If an applicant has this type of email address, it is a better idea to create a new email with an address that won’t be perceived as frivolous or suggestive.


4. You Have Spelling and Grammatical Errors

Poor spelling and grammar are noticed by recruiters and can make a recruiter discount your application. This also counts for social media postings. Take a moment before sending off your cover letter and resume to spell check, and make sure that everything is correct. Do the same for your social media posts.


5. You Omit Dates

While it may be easier for an individual to leave out dates it may seem suspicious to recruiters. This could mean there are gaps in employment history or that an individual changed jobs frequently. If you have a long history and great credentials, it may be less important.


6. Your Information is Outdated

When an individual does not update a resume when it is necessary, all the information may not be correct. While he or she might add a new job to the list, forgetting to check the current phone number and address is sometimes overlooked. Recruiters say it isn’t unusual to send an email to an applicant and have it returned or call and find out the phone number is different.


7. You’ve Changed Jobs Frequently

Those who show frequent job changes are not likely to be looked upon favorably by recruiters. While workers do change jobs more often than in the past, too frequent a change may be a red flag for recruiters. If an individual stays on a job less than two years, it might make that worker more likely to be overlooked for another individual with longer time at one job.


8. You Don’t Use Bullet Points on Your Resume

Recruiters like resumes that get right to the point, and the use of bullet points makes that easier to do. Sometimes, a lack of bullet points is accompanied by a resume that is far too long. Try to keep a resume under two pages, and use bullet points to focus on what you did to be an asset at your earlier jobs. Be specific.


Looking for a new job can be easier if an individual is careful to ensure that a resume is prepared well. Searching for a job can also be easier by using a job search site to do exactly that. Sign up for our job match alert, and TheJobNetwork lets you list your qualifications and job interests and then does a 24-hour search for jobs matching that description.

About the author

Jessie Liu

Jessie Liu is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, Digital Analytics, Content Marketing and Social Media. She helps lead TheJobNetwork’s content marketing efforts, including content strategy and promotion strategy. She believes in data-driven decision making. She recently adopted a Beagle mix puppy named Happy. Feel free to tweet her @jessiecliu for pictures of her adorable new puppy or just any marketing related stuff.