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Resumes and their Red Flags

Whether it’s your own resume or a resume you have received for a role, there are several areas within a resume that may be detrimental to the applicant’s progression to the next stage – sometimes referred to as “red flags”. Many of these may be addressed in interviews, but some may hinder the application progressing past the initial review.

A resume is an important insight into a candidate and how they would fit into the practice. It is important to address any concerns at the earliest opportunity; specific targeted questions can assist the interviewer understand the candidate’s skills and experience and their fit with the role and practice.

Areas requiring explanation:

  1. Gaps in employment

  2. Frequent, short term roles

  3. No specific dates included for roles just years, this could mean a difference of one week compared to almost 2 years’ experience

  4. Very generalised resume, failure to include specific information on duties

  5. Current residence is in another state/country and cover letter fails to address the relocation possibilities and timing

Areas that may further hinder the application:

  1. Spelling and grammar mistakes, silly errors – always run a spell check before sending

  2. Lack of attention to detail throughout the application

  3. Unprofessional language

  4. Outdated information – always include most recent role

  5. No relevant experience detailed in the resume for the current advertised role

  6. Failure to include a cover letter when one was specifically requested

  7. A very long resume– use bullet points to get your message across

As an interviewer, don’t be hesitant to ask about the red flags until you are satisfied, can understand the candidate’s skills and experience and can then make a measured decision with all the facts.

As an applicant, check your resume and ensure you are presenting yourself accurately, fix the red flags, or at least explain them in the cover letter. You will have much more success when the interviewer understands your skills and experience and how you can contribute to their role and their team.


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