Scared man hiding behind deskDid you know that the average time looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds? According to The Confessions of the Recruitment Industry infographic by BeHiring, not only do recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning resumes, if they catch one spelling or grammar error the resume will automatically be discarded. Ouch.

With more than 12 million people unemployed nationally, job seekers cannot afford costly mistakes when submitting their resumes. The window of 5-7 seconds is a narrow one, especially considering a potential employer only allots that amount of time to hundreds of resumes a day. Below are seven common ways to frighten a recruiter; avoid them to increase the chances of that ‘narrow reviewing window’ opening up a little wider for you.

1. Sloppy resumes

At number one, grammatical errors, typos and misspellings are the most common and, often, most costly mistakes. Hundreds or even thousands of people can apply for one position. Why would a recruiter waste his or her time with an applicant who spells acheive for achieve or excede for exceed? Obvious typos tell potential employers the applicant did not take the time to review and reread his or her resume before submission and grammatical errors, especially for communications positions, show employers whether or not an applicant is a good fit. Using a colon in place of semicolon, omitting necessary commas and placing the period outside of quotation marks —these are all ways to scare off recruiters. The most threatening error? Misspelling a company’s name. If an applicant cannot make sure to spell the name of the company that he or she is applying to correctly, that person will immediately have his or her resume thrown out.

2. Unprofessional email address

Employees represent the companies they work for; they help maintain and reflect a company’s brand. Recruiters look at potential candidates to see who will best fit into the culture of the company. An unprofessional email sends a red flag to employers. They want to hire mature adults, ones who understand the importance of creating a professional email address. If you aren’t sure whether or not your email is professional, take this test: Imagine a recruiter just called you about a job opening. He or she asks you to provide an email address to forward the information to. Say your email address aloud, just as you would over the phone, and see how it sounds.

3. Residence

Some companies try to avoid hiring out-of-state applicants. Relocation and the expenses that come with it are not always things a company wants to deal with with bringing on someone new. Find out if an employer is seeking “local candidates only” before applying because if that’s the case, he or she won’t even consider an out-of-state resume.

4. Lack of detail in work history

It’s true you do not want to crowd your resume with long sentences, but not providing enough detail is also risky. Simply listing previous positions is not enough. Recruiters want to know the functions and duties carried out while you worked at a company. Lack of detail makes them question how significant your previous roles were.

5. No knowledge of industry applying for

Resumes that reflect work history that has nothing to do with the industry of position you’re applying for are also red flags. Unless it’s a ”no experience necessary” position, most job postings list some type of requirements and/or qualifications for applicants, and applicants must often have some type of background in the field of the open position.

6. Lack of professional references

Having no references can often be a deal breaker for recruiters. Employers value feedback from those who can attest to an applicant’s work ethic and skills. If two or more of a person’s references are personal —family members or friends —this can also hurt an individual’s chances of their resume getting further attention. Too many personal references tell employers an applicant doesn’t have enough professional references, and this leads them to wonder why? Do they not truly have the work experience they claim to? Was their work poorly done? Did they leave on bad terms? You do not want your resume to leave recruiters skeptical or confused.

7. High school activities

This pertains to college students (because I’m hoping no one out of school would do this). When seeking internships or regular employment, a list of high school activities blares a warning to recruiters. Like personal references, the applicant doesn’t have enough current or collegiate experience so he or she went back to high school. Unless you’re a freshman student, this is a big no.



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