Red Flags on a Resume and How to Fix Them

These mistakes are killing your chances at landing your dream job—just saying.
July 31, 2023
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Unfortunately, we're all likely a little too familiar with red flags. Whether it's your date being rude to a server or your professor assigning a 20-page paper in syllabus week, the result is the same—you drop them.

Red flags don't stop there; they're all too prevalent in the job search. And if you can't land an interview, your resume is likely loaded with serious red flags.

But that's where we come in. Consider us your red flag Ghost Busters, where we show you how just 15 minutes on your resume can take you from zero to hero.

Top 10 Red Flags on Any Resume

Red Flag #1: Going Generic

Picture this: a hiring manager, buried under a mountain of resumes, comes across yours. It starts with "Objective: Seeking a challenging position that utilizes my skills and offers growth opportunities." Sound familiar? Well, you're not alone. It's like handing in a term paper titled " Research Paper" at the top.

Let's talk stats. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 83% of recruiters are bored af by generic resumes. Okay, they may have put it nicer, but the point is that your resume needs to be unique.  

Add a touch of personality, like hobbies or interests, that make you unique. But keep it professional; no one needs to know about your record-breaking video game achievements.

Red Flag #2: Ignoring Internships

Internships are like magical portals to the professional world. Yet, some students ignore them, opting for summer Netflix binges instead. But here's the reality check: NACE reports that 95% of employers prefer candidates with work experience, and internships are your golden ticket to gaining it.

Not to mention, interns often get hired full-time. And hey, because we're friends, we'll make it easier for you: here's a list of the best places to find internships... or, you know, you could participate in one of our fully remote programs.

Red Flag #3: Neglecting LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is your resume's best friend. Yet, many college students treat it like an old shirt buried at the bottom of your drawer. It's time to change that. Why? To put it simply, recruiters love LinkedIn. 

A Jobvite survey found that 87% of them use it for recruiting. So, by neglecting your LinkedIn, you're avoiding a potential goldmine of opportunities--just saying.

Red Flag #4: Not Quantifying

Imagine this: you're a hiring manager, and you stumble upon a resume that reads, "I was responsible for various tasks and projects during my internship."

Studies show that resumes with quantifiable achievements (e.g., "Increased website traffic by 40%") are 40% more likely to land interviews. Numbers don't lie, folks.

Red Flag #5: Ignoring Tailoring 

Imagine you're trying on clothes, and you grab the first thing you see. Chances are, it won't fit right. The same goes for resumes. This isn't Brandy Melville—one size fits none.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 61% of recruiters dismiss a resume if it's not customized to the job. So, make sure to highlight skills and experiences that match the specific job description. 

Red Flag #6: Missing Contact Information

Imagine planning a vacation without knowing where it'll be. The same goes for your resume – if you omit your contact information, how will employers reach you? Include your name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile.

Red Flag #7: Overloading the Education Section

Yes, your education is essential, but don't overload your resume with every course you've ever taken. It's like listing everything you ate—nobody has time for that. Highlight your degree, institution, and graduation date, and move on.

Red Flag #8: Including Irrelevant Experience

Including every part-time job you've ever had may make your resume look impressive, but make sure to get to the point. Let's face it; you didn't go to the Harry Styles concert to hear about his middle school math class. Focus on experiences that relate to your target job. Leave the burger-flipping anecdotes for another time.

Red Flag #9:  Missing Keywords

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are like treasure maps for employers. To be found, you need to include relevant keywords from the job description. Think of it as hiding Easter eggs for hiring managers to discover.

Did you know that 75% of resumes submitted online are never seen by human eyes? That's right, they're filtered by robots (ATS systems) looking for keywords. So, if your resume screams "cookie-cutter," it might not even make it to a real person, but lucky for your resume, we wrote a whole article on how to beat the robots.

Red Flag #10: Skipping Proofreading

I just reviewed a resume from a "Cheif Executive Officer." You know where that application ended up: 🗑️

Nothing ruins a resume like typos and grammatical errors. Even small mistakes can sink your chances.

Ultimately, your resume is your ticket to the real world, and it should be as unique as you are. So, take a deep breath, ditch the cookie-cutter, sprinkle in some quantifiable achievements, and tailor it to each job. With these steps, you'll be well on your way to adulting like a pro and landing that dream job. Good luck out there!

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