July 6, 2011

5 Red Flags to Avoid on Your Resume

Resume Red FlagsHow important is your resume? Some say VERY important. Others aren’t so sure. Your resume may not make or break you, but it will get you through the door and in front of a hiring manager. But before that can even happen, there’s a cold-hearted automated gatekeeper lurking out of sight who holds all the keys. This is a cautionary tale…

Of Robots and Resumes

Too dramatic? Every Jobseeker should be aware that companies are now using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort, parse and qualify your resume before it even gets to a person.

And if it’s not up to the robot’s standards, it gets thrown out.

So how do you convince the ATS you’re the real deal? Here’s how:

1) Use Keywords: Clever integration of job specific keywords and phrasing. Remember the ATS is trying to match you to a set of pre-determined criteria.  Use some of the lexicon from the position’s job description.

2) Objective/Purpose: Useless. Why would you be applying for the job if it wasn’t your objective to land it in the first place?  Solution: Get rid of it. It’s eating up valuable resume real estate.

3) Time gaps: You took a year off to explore Eastern Europe. That’s nice.  Unemployment gaps are suspicious. You must have been WANTED for murder and hiding out in a bungalow across the border. Solution: Explain yourself. You don’t have to tell your life story, just give a reason for where you went.

4) Experience: Really, your first job was VP of Global Sales? Back up a little; where’s the history? Give them some insight into your more formative years.

5) Resume vs. Application Differences: This one’s a no brainer. If you’re applying for a job that asks you fill out a standard application, PLEASE make sure it all adds up. No inconsistencies! At the very least it will look like you lack attention to detail.

Don’t forget the recruiter (or robot) reading your resume is busy. Very busy. Don’t give them a chance to toss away your pride and joy over these easily avoidable mistakes. Remember, they’re looking for reasons NOT to hire you, as much as they’re looking for all the right ones.

Read more in Resume Writing

David Clough is a writer living in New York City. He is passionate about marketing, human resource thought leadership, and classic American literature. David has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Human Resource Management.