Top 5 Warning Signs on an Applicant’s Resume


Every hiring manager has a different checklist of what they are looking for in a potential employee. You might be searching for someone with years of experience in a big firm, or you might be looking for an applicant that has mastered social media for a marketing position. The first way to find information about applicants is through their resumes, but it is also the first place to dismiss applicants entirely. Here are the top five warning signs on an applicant’s resume that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Generic Resume
If the resume you are reading looks like it could have been sent to any employment agency, it probably has been. Skip over the generic resumes, because this means that applicants are probably not specifically interested in the position they are applying for. Choose instead individuals who have customized their resume to reflect the career that they are truly passionate about.

2. Spelling Mistakes or Typos
Many individuals argue that if the job doesn’t require writing, then spelling shouldn’t matter on a resume. However, not properly proofreading something as important as a resume shows that the applicant does not pay attention to detail.

3. Unprofessional Resume
An unprofessional resume could range from one with a big picture of the applicant, to one that has a juvenile email address. It is also common for applicants to try to stand out with large fonts or cheesy introductions. Don’t dismiss creativity, but seek out tasteful and interesting resumes rather than ones that stand out for all the wrong reasons.

4. Long Resumes
One of the most common problems for applicants is creating unnecessarily long resumes. Although two pages is still considered to be acceptable in most cases, skip over those that take up three or more pages. This length means that applicants can’t prioritize what is most important.

5. Unexplained Career Gaps
In most cases, short career gaps less than three months are planned or due to the economy. However, be wary of applicants who don’t explain long gaps between jobs. Those who do have gaps should explain their reasons – whether that might be pregnancy, military service or online certifications.

It’s not always easy to whittle down a list of candidates and find the right employee. By eliminating those resumes containing these five warning signs, the process will be much simpler.