This week, LiveCareer contacted some of the recruiters in our network to ask them a simple question: what qualities do you find off-putting in an otherwise promising resume? Do you have any serious resume pet-peeves? Here are some of the responses we received.
Vague, Broad, or Meaningless Claims
“When I ask them to send me an updated resume, candidates aren’t always sure what qualities I’m looking for, which is fair. After all, I usually approached the candidate first, and sometimes when I ask for a resume, I haven’t yet shared the name of the client company I’m working with. But candidates often respond by submitting overly broad resumes that present them as multi-talented jacks-of-all-trades. If you claim that you’re capable of anything, willing to do anything, and an expert at everything, you’re really telling me nothing. And that won’t help when I try to pitch you to my clients.”
“Please tell your readers to focus their resumes and limit their claims to the specific job in question. Employers aren’t really looking for ‘hard workers.’ I mean, they are…but being a hard worker alone won’t help a candidate stand out. A few other traits that are very easy to find: ‘engaged, committed workers,’ ‘excellent communicators,’ ‘problem solvers,’ and ‘solution providers.’
Where are Your Employment Dates?
“Please don’t confuse me when I try to determine when your last position ended. If you’ve been unemployed or on the market for a long time, that’s not necessarily a deal breaker . And it certainly isn’t a crime. In the current employment landscape, it’s not even unusual. I read somewhere that the average job search these days lasts more than a year, and my experience bears this out. So don’t hide your employment dates. Just state them clearly and move on.”
“Long periods of unexplained time are fine. In fact, I encourage candidates to leave non-relevant positions off of their resumes, just to keep things tight and simple. If the resume shows an unexplained gap of five years, I’ll just ask the candidate about it in person (and so will my clients during the interview process). But if dates are hidden or presented in a sketchy, misleading way, that’s a big no.”
What Do You Really Want?
“Please don’t answer yes to every question I ask you about your future plans and expectations. If you need something or can’t tolerate something, it’s better to tell me now then to ‘yes’ your way around me in order to find an audience with my clients.”
“Be honest with me about your salary expectations—that means don’t under OR overstate them. And be honest with me about how far you’re willing to commute and the kinds of working conditions you can and can’t tolerate. Being overly agreeable won’t help you, and it won’t really help me either.”
Keep Your Resume Short, Simple & Straightforward
Recruiters like resumes that help them do their jobs and impress their employer clients. And as it happens, employers like resumes that help them do their jobs and impress their own bosses. See a pattern?
As you draft your resume, keep your reader—and her own job requirements—in mind. The easier you make things for her, the easer the process will be for you. Visit LiveCareer for tools, tips, and formatting help .