accounting and finance jobs

10 Résumé Red Flags: What Employers Do Not Want to See

resume red flags

As employers, we often have to go through many resumes, whether in piles of paper or on computer screens. Reading through each one, with its repetitive timelines, skills sections, and pleas for attention, can quickly become too much. Sometimes, we might start thinking a not-so-great resume is better than it is because we’ve seen so many. But in doing so, we might need to catch up on some red flags on our resumes.

But what are these warning signs? or what are these resume red flags ? Are there specific mistakes or confusing words that should make us immediately throw a resume away? Is there a kind of “10 Rules” for reading resumes that every recruiter should know? Let’s read about ten resume red flags that employers hesitate to see;

      1.Job Hopping

Job hopping is a big problem when looking at resumes. It means the person has moved from job to job a lot, which could be a better sign.

When someone changes jobs quickly and often, it’s usually because:

  • They keep getting fired.
  • They don’t care about their job or career.
  • They’re still figuring out what they want to do.
  • They’re always looking for a new job, even when they already have one.
  • They have issues outside of work that make it hard for them to stay.
  • They’re doing short-term jobs or freelance work.


     2. Employment Gaps

A big gap in your job history is a significant resume red flags warning sign. It makes employers wonder if you need to be more dedicated or need to keep up with your field. Why did you take time off? Did you lose interest in your job? Why should a company hire you if you need to be more dedicated or keep up with changes?

These are all critical questions. Sometimes, though, people have good reasons for taking a break, like returning to school or dealing with personal things. While gaps in your job history are worrying, they don’t always mean you won’t get hired. Ultimately, you need to have a good reason when talking to employers. You also need to prove that you’re still good at your job. Like in the example above, it’s possible that you took a break for a good reason, and you’re still great at what you do.


     3. Lack of Progression

A person’s primary goal is to keep improving. A good worker should always try to move up, earn more, and work harder. But what if someone has been working for a while and has not moved up much? Why haven’t they gotten promoted? Are they not working hard? Do they need to improve at their job?

Not moving up is a big problem on a resume. It makes it seem like there might be something wrong with the person as a worker. They’re not trying to get better, or they’re just okay with doing the minimum. But it depends on the job. Some people are OK with staying in the same position, especially if they’re older or just looking for a part-time job. But younger workers should be trying to move up in their careers and companies.

   4. Telling Lies

Not sharing enough information or lying on a resume is a big problem. It shows the person might not care or can’t follow instructions. If someone doesn’t want to talk about their past jobs, they might be hiding something or not telling the truth.

Studies say about 40% of people lie on their resumes. We know you want to impress, but improving things could be better. We can usually tell when something doesn’t sound right.


     5. Not Following Instructions

Not following instructions when applying for a job is one of many resume red flags. If a job posting asks for something specific, like five references, and the applicant needs to include it, they didn’t follow directions. They might have thought it wasn’t necessary, didn’t see it, or didn’t want to do it. Two out of three of those reasons are not good. You want an employee who can follow instructions carefully, especially before getting the job.

This not only shows they might need to be a better employee, but it also shows they only care a little. They needed to care more about their jobs and do what was asked of them. They may send the same resume to many different jobs and don’t feel like making changes to yours. Either way, it’s different from what you want.

resume red flags

     6. More Career Changes

Let’s remember what we’re trying to do: help employers find good hires and help employees find great jobs. Red flags on job applications don’t mean the person should be rejected immediately. Someone with a red flag but a good work history should still be considered for an interview. It’s a sign to ask questions in the interview to address any concerns.

Having many different jobs on a resume is a big red flag, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s more like a warning light—yellow or orange. For example, if someone has had five jobs and is in different industries, it might make you wonder about their commitment to a career. Moving up in a job is hard if you keep starting over. Having entry-level jobs in many industries suggests people have yet to decide what they want.


     7. Unprofessional Email

Someone’s email should sound professional. Even if it’s a person who’s never had a job before, they should confidently handle their job application. Emails are easy to make, so there’s no excuse for a weird or unprofessional email. A resume should have an email with the person’s name or something related to their job. Anything else seems unprofessional and immature, which are not good qualities in an employee.

    8. Mistakes in Grammar

Today, with all the technology available, it’s easy to check for spelling and grammar errors. If a candidate’s resume is full of mistakes, they could have put more effort into it. You don’t want to hire someone who didn’t try hard with their application. There’s also the possibility that the candidate needs to learn English better. This is a different issue, but it’s a big concern if you’re hiring for a job where good English is essential.


     9. Generic Resumes

Today, hiring managers want to see resumes tailored to their company or industry. They’ll notice if you use the same resume for every job application. Generic resumes only work well if they have the right keywords and show why the company should hire you. So, take the time to customize at least the top part of your resume to show that you’re a good match for the company.


    10. Layout and Design

The first few things we’ll discuss need to be more specific about resume red flags. As a hiring manager, I know that the little details of resume building are a matter of personal preference. If you notice something off-putting but still hire the candidate, and they turn out to be a bad hire, you might start associating that detail with bad hires in the future. This can work the other way around, too.

But let’s get to the point. A boring layout or design is a simple  red flag you should pay attention to. Should the look of a resume be the most important thing? No, unless you’re hiring a graphic designer. But it can help you notice certain things during the hiring process.

These ten resume red flags will disqualify you. It all depends on who’s looking at your resume. One person might reject it for a mistake, while another might not mind. But it’s best not to take risks with your career. Ensure your resume looks as good as possible to give yourself the best chance.

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