Our team reviews thousands of resumes each week, and the reality is, each of our recruiters knows within seconds of reading if someone’s resume will strengthen their candidacy for a given role ー or not. Whether you’re actively seeking opportunities or you’re more passive in your search, make sure your resume is ready to tell your story as clearly as possible. Read about common concerns and issues our recruiters see while sourcing candidates that usually result in a resume overhaul. Now is your chance to get ahead of these issues by heeding advice from our experts!
“My biggest concern is when resumes are longer than one page (okay, maybe two pages are acceptable if you have an extensive work history)! Resumes are supposed to be a snapshot of your work history that *highlights* your experience, but also leaves room for conversation once you’re actually interviewing. Make sure you point out the important stuff: utilize metrics when possible and include hard and soft skills you picked up in each role. Otherwise, the rest of your day-to-day can be great talking points to seal the deal in the interview!”
“I simply can’t get behind a resume when there are several different fonts used inappropriately! Sometimes, I even see this within the same sentence or bullet point. This is a huge indication of lack of attention to detail and throws the optics of your resume way off.”
“Tech resumes should be kept to 5 years of experience per page. Summaries should be kept to 3-4 bullet points and tech stack lists should be limited to just what you are ACTUALLY using on a regular basis, not something you used short-term one time years ago.”
“Objectives! Carelessness on your objective ーsuch as an objective statement that is not tailored to the role you’re applying forー can actually hurt your chances of securing an interview, especially if you are casting a wide net in your search. I think a well constructed resume that speaks to your relevant experience, without an objective statement, allows for the opportunity to verbally express what you are looking for during an interview. Once you put it on the page, you can limit yourself if you’re open to a variety of opportunities. It can also take up a lot of real estate on your resume better used for expressing your transferable skills.
“Don’t simply list responsibilities, tell me about how impactful you were in your recent work; what did you accomplish, what special projects were you asked to take on and how did they affect the business? Are you an individual contributor or are you managing a team? How big is your team? If possible, add some tangible metrics and numbers around your impact, i.e. exceeded sales goals by 50% in my first year and brought in $500k in revenue in Q1. Use your resume to show your value!”
“When people only include years of employment in a role on their resume instead of months AND years, it’s a big red flag for me! It makes me immediately think that people are trying to hide something like major gaps in their employment. The truth is ーmore often than notー I’ve found that there actually aren’t large gaps, but sometimes candidates simply can’t remember the exact months. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to take the time to call you up and ask you about it. If you’re not being specific, you’re opening up questions in recruiters’ minds that can put you at a disadvantage for further consideration. It’s worth it dive into your employment history and accurately reflect your time of employment.”
A resume that clearly was not edited well is always a red flag. It’s not a text message, or a social media caption, or a DM, so it shouldn’t be treated like one! A resume is a professional reflection of yourself and having even minimal spelling or grammatical errors can be a real turn off for employers. I have worked with clients who completely reject a resume right off the bat because of minor typos they find.
“When I receive a resume and there is no contact information provided such as email address or phone number. It bothers me immensely because, honestly, how am I supposed to contact you in order to learn about your job search? In this case, it is going to be ‘on to the next’!”
“Formatting issues are an enormous pet peeve of mine! Your resume must be a visual representation of your brand, meaning, your personal and professional identity! It is also a highlight-reel of your relevant professional experience. This piece of paper needs to showcase why you are great at what you do and how you’ve been an asset to your current and/or previous employer. If your resume is messy or has typos, you’re associating your individual brand identity with sloppiness, as well as a lack of professionalism and attention to detail ー both of which are VITAL qualities in the workplace.”
“Poor ‘readability’ is how I’d describe my biggest concern with candidate resumes. It’s multifaceted in that it’s a combination of two main factors that really set me off. The first piece of this is if it’s not in chronological order. It’s not a free-for-all! Make your resume accurate and logical. Too long is usually a big issue, but sometimes, a lack of detail and keeping a resume too short is just as problematic. Say you only have one or two bullets under a job you worked for 5 years ー clearly a lot of skills are missing! Candidates need to realize that recruiters are looking at hundreds of resumes a day. If one look at your resume makes their eyes cross, they’re just going to move on. Keep your resume clear, concise and easy on the eyes!”
“Inconsistency in your formatting including alignment, margins, fonts and colors ー you name it, if it’s not uniform, it’s going to be a problem for me! While we understand that different programs and operating systems can create formatting problems over email, you can always avoid that by saving your document as a PDF and using that to apply to jobs or email to recruiters. Your operating system or Mac/PC compatibility issues should not be an excuse for inconsistent formatting or simply not proofreading. That extra time and energy to keep it clear and consistent will absolutely pay off.”
“When I see resumes that use heavy imagery and graphics — things to fill space — instead of substantive content about themselves and what they can offer, I’m concerned.
Do you have any questions for our recruiters? Send us an email and ask!