There are a hundred reasons applicants get their resumes tossed in the circular filing bin, not the least of which are a total lack of relevant experience and education and skill sets that don’t align with expectations and requirements.
Candidates can take emphasis off of some issues with fancy resume work, but astute hiring managers are likely to spot them anyway. Among the commoner red flags:
- Gaps in work history. The longer, the worse. You might be left thinking, “was this person in prison?”
- The interviewee wasn’t prepared. If the candidate hasn’t done his homework, that may be a good indication of his preparedness on the job, or at least of a lack of real interest in the position!
- Failing to follow directions on the application. If a cover letter is requested but not provided, your decision about that particular candidate might be the easiest one you make all day.
- An apparent lack of ambition. Resumes ought to broadcast achievements. Those that instead read like a laundry list of responsibilities should make you wonder why Joe Applicant hasn’t accomplished anything worth mentioning.
And a few more laughable offenses:
- No contact information. Did this person want a call back, or not?
- Spelling errors. A Public Defender without the L… that just changes the meaning entirely.
- Language shortcuts or emoticons. It’s been done. Resumes and cover letters should never feature smiley faces and text speak.
- An unprofessional email address. Sexymama6006 isn’t endearing herself to many employers with a handle like that.
Eighty-sixing resumes peppered with red flags is definitely a good place to start in narrowing the field. If you find yourself stumped in finding quality candidates, though, it might be time to enlist a recruiter.