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Resume’ Red Flags

Posted in on Job Post at 27 Jan, 2012

Some warning signs to look for when reviewing resumes:

If you advertise a position  in today’s tight job market, you may get more that you expect.   Many employers report that more people than ever are responding to ads.  But more resumes don’t necessarily add up to more qualified candidates.  Look out for these red flags, which could mean trouble.

  • Gaps in employment – once the most obvious warning sign, today’s slow economy is making gaps in employment more common and more acceptable.  However, they still warrant explanation.  A long period of unemployment could mean that the candidate was fired and couldn’t find a job.   Some candidates attempt to camouflage employment gaps by indicating only the year and not the months they were employed in previous positions or not including dates at all.
  • Too many lateral moves – while the recession has cut off opportunities for advancement at some companies, a succession of job changes with little or no increase in responsibility may be a bad sign.  There could be a reason the candidate was never selected for promotion.  If you’re looking for someone with potential, it may be a good idea to keep looking
  • Too long or too short – In addition to giving a candidate’s work history, a resume says a lot about his or her communication skills.  A good resume is concise but descriptive.  It should give enough information to adequately support the candidate’s qualifications for the position.  But it should (almost) never take more than a couple of pages to do so.
  • Too much irrelevant information – No matter how impressive an applicant’s educational background or how unique his or her personal interests, overly long descriptions of either are inappropriate.  The candidate’s focus should be on his or her qualifications for the job.
  • Inconsistent or unprofessional format – An organized, uncluttered resume is easy to read and usually indicates that the candidate is organized.   Tense should be consistent – past tense for previous jobs, present tense for current employment.  Colored paper, photos, and other gimmicks are not only unprofessional, but also distract from the important information about the candidate’s experience.
  • Grammar or spelling mistakes – An indisputable sign of carelessness, resumes containing grammar or spelling mistakes are filed by most managers in the circular file.

Got other red flags you look for?  Comment and add them to the list for everyon’s benefit.

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