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3 Common Red Flags on Resumes

What are the biggest resume red flags? Whether you're applying or hiring, avoid these three things.

Most resumes are not terrible-- but they’re nothing special either. Here are three resume faux pas to avoid (whether you're applying or hiring).

1. No results. Jobseekers are often diligent about explaining their responsibilities in great detail, says Rajat Taneja, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Electronic Art, in a recent LinkedIn post, but resumes should highlight results.

He wrote:

The more quantitative, the easier for a screener or hiring manager to understand and select them for the next discussion. Numbers and metrics speak louder than words. Vague generalities are the kryptonite of a resume.

2. An unexplained gap. If a resume doesn't explain a three-year absence from the workforce or multiple career paths, consider it a red flag.  

“Candidates should put on the hiring manager’s hat and look at their own resumes with this filter and then proactively address any of these issues in a clear and unambiguous way,” Taneja wrote. 

3. Sloppy formatting. With all of today’s tools to artfully arrange a document, not to mention spellcheck, a resume should be thoughtfully constructed and meticulously scrubbed for errors.

"It's clear that some people can’t—or won’t—proofread,” wrote Leslie Ayres, aka The Job Search Guru, in a recent blog post. “Others tell me they can’t remember the rules, and some must be in a heck of a hurry to miss that glaring typo in the first line. Whatever the reason, the result’s the same: they lose out on the interview."

Last updated: Mar 27, 2013


Julie Strickland covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.

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