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Resume Red Flags to Avoid

Get the right attention!

by Janna Kefalas in Job Search, Resumes
resume red flags to avoid (1)

As both an in-house and agency recruiter, I’ve seen every type of resume under the sun. Good resumes, bad resumes, confusing resumes, hilarious resumes, strange resumes…

You name it, I’ve seen it!

And over the years, I’ve seen some recurring themes. The same red flags pop up over and over again.

I know there’s a lot of bad resume advice on the internet — I figure job seekers must be getting this misguided information somewhere.

But I’m here to dispel any myths and help you avoid these resume pitfalls that definitely don’t do you any favors.

#1 – The “One Size Fits All” Resume

It’s almost immediately obvious when a candidate is using the EXACT same resume for every single application. The telltale sign is that it’s vague and overly general. (Skills include: good communicator, detail-oriented, etc.)

It’s quite clear the candidate isn’t digging into each job description and attempting to create a customized resume, addressing the most salient job requirements.

So, go the extra mile — it matters!

#2 – The “Ridiculous Attempt to Cram Everything onto One Page” Resume

When the resume font is teeny tiny and margins practically don’t exist, I know the candidate is deathly afraid of going onto a second page.

Meanwhile, we recruiters are going cross eyed.

It’s mind boggling — that dang “one page resume rule” is so pervasive! But guess what? It’s basically obsolete at this point.

Unless you’re a new grad or only have a few years of work experience, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going onto a second page (and even onto a third under certain circumstances).

You’ll want to create plenty of white space and ensure your font size is at least 10.5 and your margins are minimum 0.5 inches. (Slightly larger in both regards is perfectly fine as well.)

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#3 – The “Entire 30-Year Work History” Resume

Job seekers tend to assume a resume is a historical document — that it would be breaking the law to omit any work history.

So they include every single position they’ve ever held dating back to college graduation, regardless of its relevance to the position they’re applying for.

Summer internships, temp jobs … even that stint bartending at TGIFridays somehow makes the cut.

But your resume is really a marketing document, and recruiters care most about your last 10-15 years of relevant work experience.

So don’t be shy about completely removing older and non-pertinent jobs from your resume.

#4 – The “Strangely Creative Fonts & Formatting” Resume

I’ve seen resumes that resemble wedding invitations. I’ve seen resumes that resemble comic books. I’ve seen so many photos & graphics, loud colors, strange emojis & symbols, I’ve lost count.

What I know is that all those bells and whistles do absolutely NOTHING to help you as a candidate. It’s really about content, content, content.

So save time by keeping your formatting simple and readable. Where you want to put your energy is customizing your resume content to job description.

Summing it Up

So take another pass at your resume and make sure it isn’t getting flagged for the wrong reasons. You want this very important job search document to get the attention it deserves.

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