Check for these 8 red flags in your next resume review

8 Resume Red Flags to Watch out For

May 28, 2022 -


How to build your resume effectively


Whenever a job becomes vacant, all hiring managers know they can expect a massive pile of resumes to sort through. In a previous blog, we discussed the signs you have found the right candidate. But how do you know when a candidate is a bad news? Here are ten red flags to keep in mind during your next resume review.


8 resume red flags


  1. Cookie-cutter resume
  2. Lack of attention to detail
  3. Unexplained employment gaps
  4. Vague job descriptions
  5. Failing to follow directions
  6. Resume and application that takes advantage of current employers
  7. Regressed or plateaued careers
  8. Multiple career changes


  1. Copy and paste resumes

Have you ever been reading a resume, and it sounded so generic and like it could have been sent in for any other job? Well, it probably was. This is one of the most obvious tip-offs; Copy and paste resumes.


The right candidate will take the time to customize their resume and cover letter for your company’s specific position. When reviewing their resume, you should see an obvious connection to the job description and knowledge of the company. Tailoring a resume to the position shows the applicant researched the company and thoroughly understands the role at stake.


Applicants sending these cookie-cutter resumes are most likely spamming companies hoping one of them responds. These applicants aren’t invested employees; you won’t have their loyalty, and they probably won’t last long.


  1. Lack of attention to detail

Even the smallest ones, overlooking details, demonstrate carelessness, a quality not sought out in employees. Mistakes like this can include:


  • Wrong employment dates
  • Inconsistencies in dates and spelling
  • Typos and grammatical mistakes


Precision for detail can determine a candidate’s outcome for success as an employee. Most of those errors were tiny, harmless mistakes, but that kind of carelessness can have a negative impact on your company in the long run.


  1. Unexplained employment gaps

This is a tricky one since employment gaps aren’t always red flags. Many people have gaps in their work history, including even the most skilled and experienced professionals. Illness, parental leave, previous role being made redundant, travelling, and continuing education are some of the many valid reasons someone might take time away from work. So if you notice an employment gap, don’t worry just yet.


Ideally, you should be able to find an explanation in either the cover letter or in the resume itself. What you want to be worried about are unexplained gaps. If there are several gaps or even attempts made to fudge the dates, that’s when the red flags should start to rise.


  1. Use of vague wording 

The resume is meant to outline skills and work experience clearly and concisely, but it should never be vague. Resumes with vague wording and language don’t necessarily mean a candidate is lying, but it might mean they weren’t very effective employees in their past positions.


  1. Failing to follow directions

While this red flag isn’t exclusively applicable to just resumes but the entire process application as a whole. If you provided specific instructions, an applicant failing to adhere yields the impression that they lack attention to detail and are just lazy.


  1. A resume that takes advantage of current employers

Though it can be tough to spot, lookout for signs that a candidate is taking advantage of their current employer. A resume sent from the employees’ current employee email, applications sent during working hours from an employed candidate, and mail using company stationery/envelopes would all allude to this.


Any of the above actions indicate an inattentive and inconsiderate employee. If a candidate is taking advantage of their current employer, what’s to say they won’t do the same to you. Now imagine an employee like that. Yikes.


  1. Regressed or plateaued careers

Wondering how to tell if someone is successfully progressing in their career? Look at the work experience section of their resume. An ideal applicant will have a work history that shows their job titles and descriptions increase with responsibilities as time passes. A red flag is evidence of a career that has reached a stand-still or is progressing backwards.


Applicants with evidence of career development are typically driven and motivated and make for ideal employees.

Hiring managers want to bring on employees they feel will stick around for a while. Applicants who lack career development might not be able to fulfill this wish.


Review resumes with care. While job titles can be helpful, they can also be deceiving. One single job title can have varying responsibilities depending on the employer. Just because two roles might share the same title does not mean they are equivalent, so be sure to read the job descriptions carefully.


  1. Multiple career changes

Career changes can be the perfect solution for professionals feeling unchallenged or dissatisfied with their current working situation. But jumping from industry to industry might just mean they’re indecisive. If there’s no provided justification, I wouldn’t be too keen to onboard them.

Applicants with this kind of track record will probably just leave you in a few months.



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