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December 15, 2017

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Resume Red Flags—Ten Reasons Your Resume Gets The Cold Shoulder

If your resume has been floating around in cyber space without a nibble from prospective employers your frustration level has probably reached all-time high. There could be identifiable reasons your resume is getting ignored. Here are ten top resume red flags and what you can do to prevent them.

  1. Your resume presents a zig zag career path.

    If your resume jumps around professionally you’ll be seen as unstable and a high risk to employers. It’s up to you to show the continuity of your career path. Don’t expect employers to understand why you moved from sales to accounting to project management. They won’t see the value in your breadth of skills. Emphasize the transferable skills you’ve used throughout your career.

  2. Your resume dates you as "over the hill."

    Age discrimination may be against the law, but it’s alive and well in the job market. Your resume is the first place employers may look to determine your age. Be careful not to go back any further than necessary on your resume. If you education reaches back further in time than you’d like to acknowledge, leave the education dates off. Be sure to prove your up-to-datedness by listing current technology skills and training.

  3. You’re seen as over qualified.

    If you are applying for positions that are clearly beneath your level of expertise you will be seen as desperate and doubting your ability to grow professionally. If you wish to take on fewer responsibilities in you next position make sure your resume reflects that. You may need to omit some responsibilities and highlight your work as an individual contributor.

  4. You don’t have all the qualifications.

    Employers will screen you out if you lack the basic qualifications. Make sure your resume states all the qualifications for the job. For those you lack add transferable skills that show a bridge between what you know and what you’ve not yet experienced in the work place.

  5. Your resume is too wordy.

    A resume that provides more information than needed crowds out the information that recruiters are looking for on your resume. Always write concise. Be selective about the details. Ask yourself if the reader needs to know every issue you present in your resume.

  6. There’s not enough meat on the bones.

    There is a fine line between too much and not enough information on your resume. If your resume doesn’t provide enough detail you could be missing out on essential key words that capture recruiters’ attention. Additionally, you may be missing important accomplishments that will help you stand out from your competition.

  7. Your resume lacks a clear focus.

    The first thing employers need to learn from your resume is your career focus. If it isn’t immediately understood what position you are going after your resume will be placed in the reject pile.

  8. No industry experience.

    One of the toughest hurdles is to break into a new industry. If your resume doesn’t prove that you can thrive in their industry you’ll be passed over. One way to compensate lack of industry experience is through transferable skills. Make sure your resume highlights the essential skills needed for the job and illustrate them with accomplishments. If you can prove your worth you’ll get a second look.

  9. Too long with one employer.

    Company loyalty should be seen as a positive, but is sometimes viewed negatively. You could be seen as carrying the baggage of the old company with you, unable to adjust to new ways of doing things. Be sure to let your resume stress your upward career path and industry knowledge you’ve gained over the years.

  10. Too much personal information.

    It’s important that your resume not bridge the gap between your personal and professional life. Extra curricular activities should only appear on your resume if they relate to your professional life. You could be exposing yourself to unnecessary bias by showing how you spend your free time.

Once your resume is free of "red flags" you’ll increase your chances of making it to the top of the resume pile. Don’t wait to explain your self in an interview, without a squeaky clean resume you won’t get the chance to present your best side. Remember, don’t give up, a better job is waiting for you.

- Deborah Walker, CCMC

Resume Writer ~ Career Coach

Find resume and job-search tips in the article archive at www.AlphaAdvantage.com

Email: Deb@AlphaAdvantage.com

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