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  • February 18, 2021
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When reading a resume, what red flags do recruiters look out for?


1. Typos

This is the No. 1 way to get your application out in the running, so make sure you proofread your resume several times before sending it in. If you have to, get a friend or a trusted colleague to give it a second look.

2. Long gaps on your resume without any explanation

Even though going on sabbaticals and taking time off to care for the family are now more acceptable, employment gaps are still a red flag recruiters look out for. Some candidates would leave out the actual date and month of the employment to hide the gaps, but I don’t recommend this as the candidate may come across as dishonest. Instead, be truthful about the dates and include your explanation in your cover letter.

3. History of job hopping

Multiple job changes can be seen as a sign of instability in an applicant. Employers want to know that you’re reliable and dedicated, so a history of starting a new role every few months would be a big no-no.

4. Lack of evidence of achievement

If you do not include details about your achievements, it may cast doubts on your credibility. Briefly list achievements and quantify them as much as you can, so you won’t be giving the recruiter any reason to think you might be lying about your experiences.

5. Evidence that a career has gone backwards or plateaued

If your career is progressing successfully, your job titles and job description will evolve to include more responsibilities as time passes. That said, recruiters know that the same job title can carry different responsibilities at another company, e.g. a Vice President’s title at one company may be equivalent to a Senior Manager’s title at another. If for various reasons your career has gone backward or plateaued, including the explanation in your cover letter would help allay any concerns the recruiter may have.

Bio: Shan Chee is a Talent Consultant at Evolution Singapore, specialising in helping candidates find the perfect role. His passion to help people realise their potential brought him into the recruitment industry. After work, he loves playing foosball.

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