Tips for Temps – Resume Red Flags

September 20th, 2012
Red Flags

Look at all these red flags

Because we staff and recruit for such a wide range of staffing candidates and positions I would say I am much more open to resumes than, say, someone who works in the HR department of a specific company or only recruits for one sort of position. I am always willing to give the candidate the benefit of the doubt and read between the lines of a resume. However, even I have some red flags that go up when reviewing applicants. Here are my top three red flags. Make sure your application is free of these and you’re more likely to make it through the initial screening process.

  1. Misspelling – I admit. I am a . . . creative speller. Luckily, technology is on my side. From Word to my web browser and email settings, I make sure there are systems in place to catch my mistakes.  This is why I am very concerned when I receive applications with the word administrative misspelled – and I get dozens every week. There are the means to catch these errors. It does not demonstrate your keen attention to detail if you spell the word detail wrong or your superior work ethic if you cannot take the time to spell check.
    Solution: Use your tools! Check everything before you send it out! Check twice! Then have someone else glance over it. Your resume and cover letter are your first impression, and you don’t want to be rejected for a position you are otherwise qualified for because of a sloppy, easily corrected mistake.
  2. No dates – Now, I do understand why some people think they should omit dates from their resumes. Perhaps the position was only held for a short period of time, or maybe there were large gaps between jobs. It could be that someone is reentering the workforce after an absence and they don’t want potential employers to think their experience is too far back to be relevant. But life happens. It is far better to be open and honest about the dates you worked to begin the conversation and demonstrate that you are willing to explain. The fact you want to hide a basic fact of your work history makes me think there are other issues you want to conceal.
    Solution: Provide dates for all employment you list on your resume, months and years. Just listing the year does not let me know how long you worked there, and creates confusion if multiple jobs were worked in the same year.
  3. Too much personal information – Resumes and cover letters that include matters of opinion, inspirational quotes, hobbies, and interests are a red flag for me. In the valuble real estate of a one or two page resumes, why do you think it is appropriate to bring in your love of culinary exploration or the words of someone else? Your resume is not the place to tell me all about you as a person, it is the venue to express who you are as an employee. Full stop. Focus on applicable skills and experience. Volunteer work that pertains to the job you are applying for is appropriate, but hobbies are not.
    Solution: Keep it simple and professional. If it isn’t about your work history, don’t include it. Your resume is not a dating profile.

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