Resume red flags that sound alarm bells for recruiters

4 resume red flags

Are you about to start applying for graduate roles? Have you been applying but not getting anywhere? Could your resume be holding you back? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, read on – highlighted here are the four ‘red flags’ recruiters will spot on your resume that could prevent you from being shortlisted for a role:

Changing jobs too often 

Even though the concept of a ‘job for life’ has fallen by the wayside, multiple job changes can be seen as a sign of instability in an applicant. Employers want to know that you are reliable and dedicated – a history of starting a new role every six months does not fill them with confidence.

Lack of bullet points 

The best way to present your experience and achievements to date is in bullet point form. A lack of bullet points suggests to recruiters that you either have few achievements or do not know how to clearly explain them. Long, wordy paragraphs will not be read – bullet points will be.

Lack of detail in your resume

If you don’t include any details about your achievements, your credibility is called into question. Don’t give the reader any reason to think you might not be telling the truth about your experiences – always briefly list specifics about your previous roles, and always make sure they are accurate. Do keep the list brief though – this leaves room to discuss your experience in more detail in an interview.

Failure to explain any red flags in the cover letter 

Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to your potential employer. If there is anything about your resume that needs further clarification, such as that gap in your employment history while you were traveling or the fact that your roles have all been ‘temp’ so far, your cover letter is the place to explain them. Being aware of how these red flags might look and taking the initiative to raise them will impress the reader – failing to address them is a red flag in itself.

Remember these tips when writing your resume:

  • Ensure you come across as reliable
  • Use bullet points
  • Briefly list previous roles
  • Explain any 'red flags'


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