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Resume Red Flags: Content

As far as resumes go, every employer in every field is looking for something just a little bit different. Super annoying, right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was just one way to go about creating a resume? Well, while it truly does depend on the field of employment, there are a few objective dos and don’ts that extend to resumes for all employment fields. Some of them stem from ATS guidelines while others live in the realm of information needed or not needed. Regardless, there are some resume red flags that you should be aware of. So, let’s get to it!

  • Solid walls of text

We get the appeal. It’s really tricky to let employers know who you are through lists and small phrases. It seems like a large paragraph will let the resume do the trick for you. However, resumes are not built to act as life stories. That is generally what the interview is for. Resumes are meant to convince the employer that you have the proper skills and qualifications to be considered for the next step of the hiring process. Solid walls of text are typically irrelevant and often don’t pass ATS standards, which could jeopardize the possibility of employers even seeing your resume to begin with. So, instead of writing entire paragraphs on your resume, think about how you can hone the words you do put on the resume to tell a more specific story that helps you stand out. It can be a fun challenge!

  • Large amounts of soft skills

Soft skills can be really important. They are more generalized skills that cannot necessarily be taught. It’s great to show your potential employer that you have skills like these, especially if they are more unique than the typical ‘organization’, ‘leadership’, and ‘motivation’. However, when these general skills outweigh your hard skills, it becomes a bit ingratiating and suspicious. This is because you generally cannot prove soft skills as easily as you can prove hard skills on your resume. This gives your potential employer the task of believing you at face value instead of demonstrating those skills through your work experience and education. Instead of rattling off all the soft skills that you think your employer wants to hear, focus on just a few key ones and try to find ways to express them in other ways.

  • Inaccurate information

This sounds a little bit like a no brainer. Lying on the resume is never a good idea. However, we understand the appeal of exaggerating a few things to bring your resume to that next level, particularly if you are early on in your career and do not have extensive work experience. However, there are other ways to boost your resume without needing to exaggerate your experiences. This can be done through strategic word choice and ATS honed resume choices. The possibility of boosting your minimal work experience is very much real. But, utilizing false information is not the move. Not only is it a bad and dishonest habit to develop; it is also incredibly risky. It is best to be as accurate as you can with your information in order to avoid any embarrassment or tricky situations. 

Resumes will always be scary. Luckily, there are people out there whose job it is to help with that. Many employees use professional resume writers for assistance to ensure that they are avoiding the red flags that are definite no’s for your potential employers. Just remember, no matter how scary the resume process is, you are not alone at all.