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How To Avoid Red Flags On Your Resume

With all the posts on creating resumes, it’s important to make sure that your resume highlights you in the right way.


What are considered red flags and how to avoid them?


Gaps – employment gaps can be a big red flag as an employer is reviewing your resume. I knew one hiring manager who used a red marker and circle gaps and if there too many, the person was toast. Sometimes the gap can be explained, you took care of sick parent or went back to school, etc. Cover letters can be helpful to explain some gaps but be careful not to be too wordy. For an interview; it’s important to be prepared to explain gaps with a short detailed answer (no rambling please).


Sloppy resume – resumes with formatting errors, typos, spelling and grammar errors, different fonts show a lack of attention to detail and is a big red flag.  Not taking the time to prepare a good resume makes an employer wonder what else you might not prepare for.


Lack of focus – You career might have taken in you various directions with a variety of job titles. It’s important that you take the time focus your resume for the particular job you’re applying for.  Just a few extra details on your background and experience can make all the difference. Recruiters and hiring managers should not have to guess if you can do the job – take the time to target your resume and show them that you have the skills needed.


Words but no substance – I recently spoke to a candidate who had great experience but you’d never know it from his resume. The words he used were vague and said nothing. Hiring managers care about substance – What have you done? How have you impacted the company/practice? Numbers, specifics are what they are looking for. Saw patients vs. Saw 15 patients daily. Performed surgery vs. performed  ‘x’ number of ‘type’ of surgery. Flowery words are a red flag that might not have the experience they need, so be specific.


No achievements – it’s important to note your accomplishments. Potential employers like results, so show them. Be specific.


Next Step to rid your resume of red flags

Take a few minutes and review your resume, look for the red flags mentioned. Rewrite and revise. It’s worth the time to have a resume that stands out.