6 Resume Red Flags
June 9, 2020
BR Resume Red Flags

Want to know what makes resume reviewers and hiring managers tick? Want to know why you feel like your resume isn’t getting you where you want to be? We’ve got you covered. Over the years, we’ve gathered some tips that may help. If you’re currently a college student, please pay close attention because you are more than likely making at least one of these crucial resume mistakes! To start, we’ve outlined the most common mistakes seen in early career applicants, and we’re here to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

1. Lack of customization

A resume is a skillfully crafted, dynamic document that serves as a marketing tool for landing available opportunities. As such, it should be constantly updated when you switch jobs, make a notable achievement, or have anything that reflects positively on your professional advancement. Treat it as the treasure it is and opt out of the “one size fits all” structure.

Unfortunately, 65% of college students try to use resume templates with little to no success. You have to recognize now that it takes time and effort to land any opportunity, and you have to be willing to put in the work.

While a “one size fits all” structure may save you time in the moment, it isn’t truly worth it in the long run’ structure. It is highly recommended that you tailor your resume to each type of internship or job description that you apply to. Yes, we know, it’s more work (ugh). But take the time to look through the details of what each opportunity you are applying to involves and fine tune your wording to fit the description as accurately as possible.

BR Resume Red Flags

2. Poorly structured writing

This is one of the easiest red flags to spot on a resume. We ran an internal diagnostic in which we clocked how many errors we spotted on average while analyzing a resume for the first time. Our report showed that inconsistent grammar, mismatched verb tenses, and hard to understand content takes place more than 50% of the time.

The best way to ensure your resume survives the harsh resume parsing software is to have immaculate writing and zero typos. Take the time, put in the energy, utilize grammar checking plugins, and make sure you have a peer review it before you send it out. You have only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it count!

3. Professional experience consisting of short tenures

Most employers want to see consistent experiences and to see that you’ve kept up with jobs and volunteer work over time. By showing that you’ve stayed with a certain company or kept a specific role for an extended period of time, employers will see that you can be relied on.

This means you need to stay in contact with past employers, stay involved with community service opportunities, and keep up the good work. Plus, having extensive experiences are great conversation starters as well as talking points in interviews.

4. Vague word choices

Let’s make this clear. Your resume should not and can not be hard to read or understand. Sounds simple, right? But sometimes job seekers can have a bad habit of writing witty job titles and using words that aren’t common in industry. You need to understand that when a hiring manager is reviewing your resume, it needs to be easy and concise. Always put the exact job title you were assigned.

If you aren’t sure what your official title was, either ask your employer or do some research online. Making up your names almost guarantees that the applicant tracking system won’t pick up your resume.

BR Resume Red Flags

5. Unrelated or unfavorable information

This resume red flag happens all the time, and we’re going to make sure you never make this mistake again. We get it, you’re a very interesting candidate and have a great life, but s. ave it for the interview. Your resume needs to contain strictly professional information, not personal. So, to help you really understand what you mean, we’ve compiled a Here’s a list of a few things you should never include:

  • Hobbies
  • Profile picture
  • Bartending (especially if you’re under age)
  • Political affiliations
  • Interests
  • Coursework
  • College GPA under 2.0
  • References

6. Forgetting to include work dates

We know, the majority of us wait until the last minute to edit our resumes before sending them out. Things happen, right? While we don’t recommend waiting, we have confidence that after reading this article you will carefully update your information, move things around to follow a logical structure, and finalize your resume content. However, there is one thing we haven’t mentioned yet – work dates! This is a very crucial part of your resume and will be noticed immediately if they aren’t included.

Make sure your dates are accurate, and can be verified if your past employer is called. Check and double check again for typos; it’s really hard to take a candidate seriously if they worked in the year 3018. Be mindful that when people are skimming your resume, certain things will jump out, especially average duration of employment.

Now you know what makes resume reviewers and hiring managers tick and why your resume might not be getting you where you want to be. Follow this short checklist and you’ll be right on track to creating the resume of your future employer’s dreams.

If you find yourself needing assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here at Brand Resumes or check out our article on the 10 dos and don’ts of resume writing.

Good luck!



  1. What Hiring Managers Want to See in Your Resume - BrandResumes | Professional Resume Writing and Career Advancement Service - […] mentioned this same idea in a previous article. Hiring managers love to see long tenures within companies. They also…

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By Brandon Mitchell

Brandon Mitchell is the Founder and Chief Resume Writer at BrandResumes.com. Brandon enjoys helping clients from all walks of life and is a sought out career expert. Brandon has been featured in Earn Your Leisure, The Squeeze, and Blapitalist. Follow Brandon on Linkedin

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