You may have everything the employer wants in a prospective employee; you could be the perfect fit for the job you are dreaming of landing, yet a single spelling error and grammatical blooper can send your resume into the trash immediately. In today’s fierce job market, recruiters receive hundreds of resumes every day and in order to reduce them to a reasonable amount, they won’t hesitate in tossing those which are not making a good first impression.
Understandably, there is no room for silly mistakes that can cost your chance of gaining an interview. If you are worried about your resume not making the cut, pay attention to these 10 ‘red flags’…
#1 Your CV is just another generic resume
Customising your resume to the specific job requirements will add you extra points in your job application. Sure, it’s tempting to send out a generic resume (especially when you are in hurry!), but failing to take the time to tailor your resume will turn off the employer. These days employers expect you to go the extra mile and show them that you have what they are looking for. How should you go about customizing your resume? Start by researching what the employer does, what the company culture and work environment are like etc. If for example you know that the role involves working in a multicultural team, make sure to highlight that you are a cultural fit and that you are able to cooperate with international colleagues.
#2 There are No Keywords
With more than 90% of employers digitizing job seeking, which involves using special software to search for the right candidates, failing to include relevant keywords won’t land you the job. Review a handful of employment ads with similar job titles, figure out which words are used repeatedly and include them in your resume. Also try to use different titles to describe similar jobs you have held. If for example you have served as a programmer twice in your employment history, you can alternatively use “program analyst” or “application developer” to increase your chances of being found by a recruiter. You can find the standard descriptors specific to your occupation by visiting the Occupational Information Network O*NET OnLine.
#3 Your template does not stand out
Choosing a template that is cliché will make the recruiter think that you are just part of the herd that does not go the extra mile to showcase individuality. You do not want the employer to consider you are just another mediocre person who copy-pastes what other people do. Don’t assume that there’s only one acceptable format for your industry. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by using a Microsoft Word resume template. Choose a format that would suit your personality and don’t hesitate to add visual elements if necessary. Make the most of these CV templates provided to you by The Guardian and Kukook to help your job application stand out.
#4 It doesn’t indicate value
Another red flag that could significantly undermine your job application is failing to display the value you bring to the employer. What you should aim to do, is to instantly show the person reading your resume why they should hire you. Illustrate all types of job experience, accomplishments, skills and qualifications that make you a great asset for the company. Provide tangible and measurable examples of your work performance and achievements in previous positions and how you can similarly benefit the prospective employer. Explain your accomplishment stories giving the recruiter to understand how the final result impacted on the company or its clients. If necessary, include relevant facts, metrics and figures to back your argument up. Don’t forget to use a headline or branding statement that will grab an employer’s attention.
#5 It looks sneaky
If your resume has no dates of employment or the dates are not lined up correctly then this should ring alarm bells and urge you to take action. Also, if your resume does not clearly explain employment gaps or tries to hide your current unemployed status this might put your job application at risk. Don’t sacrifice your chance for success in the name of hiding facts in an attempt to be favourably viewed by the employer. Recruiters have reviewed hundreds of resumes in their career history and can easily spot lies. And you know what? Even if you are a perfect fit for the job you are applying for, the employer will not bother crumple and toss your resume at once, if they caught you with a misleading CV.
#6 It’s fluffy
Your personal statement or career objective is full of clichés and filler words that almost every job seeker on earth uses. To get an idea of what I mean, look at this example:
“Dynamic, highly-organized and team-oriented sales management with a broad experience in selling products by implementing sales plans and proven ability to efficiently executing marketing strategies as well as analyzing trends and results.”
This statement might be attractive but it fails to tell anything specific about the candidate’s potential to bring a positive result with his/her marketing strategy. Also, it fails to say how analyzing trends and results helped the company and its profit grow? The takeaway here is to avoid fluff or vague words and explain accurately how your expertise and experience can have a positive outcome on the employer and how you can meet his expectations.
The truth is, there is no perfect resume. We often stick to what we think a resume should be whilst overlooking the potential is has to be above the average. The ideal resume is a depiction of your key strengths, motivation, dreams and passions, all wrapped up into an engaging message of value. Make the most of these tips to prevent your CV from ending up in the recruiter’s trash bin.