Alpha Bits

Information, insights and advice regarding today’s IT and pharmaceutical recruitment landscape. 

Resume Red Flags

Having a resume that entices hiring managers is essential when you’re trying to land a new job. That’s why avoiding red flags is so crucial.

While a single red flag on your resume isn’t necessarily an issue, you could struggle to land interviews if there are several. Luckily, there are things you can do to overcome or avoid some of these problems.

If you’re looking for resume advice that helps you create a standout application and increase your odds of securing interviews, here’s a look at resume red flags and how to navigate them.

Gaps in Employment

Gaps in employment can be concerning to hiring managers for several reasons. If there are several, the hiring manager may assume that you struggle to land and keep jobs. That could indicate that you’ve had performance issues or that you aren’t committed to the positions you accept.

If a gap is lengthy and recent, the hiring manager may worry that you aren’t familiar with current industry norms. Usually, this is primarily a concern in industries that evolve quickly, but it could worry hiring managers in cutting-edge companies in any sector, too.

In most cases, how you’ll need to deal with gaps in employment depend on where they are in your resume. If a gap is recent – but you’ve been employed since – offering up a simple reason for the gap in your cover letter or during the interview could work.

If you left your last job some time ago and have yet to close the most recent gap, finding a professional activity to add to your resume helps. That can include a temporary job, educational venture, volunteer opportunity, or anything else that can show you’re refocusing on your career.

It’s important to note that coronavirus layoff-related gaps are quite easy to explain even if you haven’t yet returned to work. As a result, if the reason there was a gap was specifically related to the pandemic, simply saying so may be sufficient to address this potential red flag.

Job Hopping

When a resume shows that a job seeker has moved between a slew of jobs in a fairly short period, hiring managers consider that a red flag. They may worry about a lack of commitment or about performance issues. Additionally, they may feel that investing in your development to ensure you reach full productivity isn’t worthwhile, as it seems like the chances of you leaving quickly are high.

Like a gap in your resume, addressing job-hopping directly is often the answer. Either in your cover letter or during the interview, acknowledge the situation briefly. Then, pivot, focusing more on how the wide array of experiences has benefited you and highlighting any meaningful value you were able to provide to the company during that short time.

Also, be ready to assert your desire for a long-term position. By letting the hiring manager know that you’re prepared to commit, they may be more likely to extend an offer.

End Date on Last Job

The vast majority of job seekers are currently working as they seek out a new role. If the hiring manager sees a recent end date for the most recent position, they may assume that your reason for leaving wasn’t necessarily positive.

Again, an end date for your most recent position is something you’ll need to address. The hiring manager is almost guaranteed to ask why you left that role, so you preparing a response is essential.

Make sure to be honest about why there was an exit, even if you were fired. Be concise with your explanation, then shift the discussion toward your excitement for the future. You can also mention any lessons learned if you were let go. However, skew the conversation toward the positive to keep the overall tone upbeat.

If you’d like more resume advice or are seeking out new opportunities, the team at Alpha Consulting wants to hear from you. Contact us today.