Whether you’re looking for a job or in charge of filling a position, there are a few key red flags to be aware of. The economy is still recovering, which means you either have a lot of competition to deal with or a lot of resumes to sift through. Only a select few will make it to the top, and some common faux pas can easily put a CV in the slush pile. Red flags on resumes are instant – easy reasons to pass on a job applicant.
This goes beyond the typos on your cover letter, although that’s a very common red flag. If a job applicant can’t put in the effort to spell check their application, what does that say about their work ethic? From positions selling computers to planning corporate events, applications should be grammatically spotless. However, there are a few less obvious warning signs to watch out for.
Copy and Paste
Many cover letters say the exact same thing, in the exact same language. Of course you’ll be an asset to the company and can provide leverage on a certain project. Steer clear of any application that uses job search lingo, because this instantly makes a recruiter’s eyes glaze over. Even worse, it says that you’re completely unoriginal and have likely used the exact same cover letter for dozens of other applications.
To really make your application stand out, apply directly to the position. Big words don’t get you anywhere, but facts and statistics do.
Sometimes it’s impossible to find the name of the HR manager or director for a company. However, if it’s fairly easy (and especially if it’s listed on the job ad), using a generic greeting is a big turn off. First of all, it’s unlikely that you’ll get the title right. A number of people might be looking at resumes, from an entry-level recruiter to the CEO depending on the job description. A generic greeting is an easy way to offend.
Put some research and work into those applications. If you’re a job seeker, you already know you have some serious competition, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by taking the easy route. If you want the job, you can prove it from the start. Know the company, including the people who work there.
Unless the job applicant is a freelancer or business owner, there should be dates that make sense on the application. Some experts say spotty job history dates are more common since the recession, and that may be true for some people. However, if the applicant has zero solid job history experience, be wary.
The most important thing a recruiter can do is actually cross check the resume. It’s easy to lie about degrees, jobs, and dates. A little effort now can pay off big time when it comes time to make an offer. The job seeker needs to do their job when applying, but the recruiter also needs to stay on top of things throughout the process.