7 months ago
February 21, 2017

5 Things Recruiters Hate about Your Resume

Part of recruiters’ jobs is assessing hundreds of resumes. These mistakes can make your resume not even worth consideration. Keep reading.

Claire McConnachie

Recruiters have seen many resumes during their professional lives, so they’re bound to develop pet peeves when they see the same mistakes repeated time and time again. When you’re submitting along with numerous other candidates, you don’t want to risk making these common errors—it may mean your file is instantly shuffled into the “no way” pile. You should think of your resume like an advertisement for yourself; a strong resume will display your best qualities that make people want to invest in you.

Here are five things recruiters hate about your resume. If you recognize anything from your own, it’s most likely time for an update.

1. Your Email Address is Unprofessional

An email address is your point of contact and should reflect your professional use of it. It is not an opportunity to show that you love dogs or are the Blue Jays #1 fan.

If you’re using a Yahoo!, AOL, or Hotmail account, it’s time to upgrade to Gmail. You may consider creating a custom domain if you’re applying for a job in technology to show one of your skills off at the very beginning.

2. When It’s Unreadable

This includes having too many fonts in different sizes, seemingly random usage of underlines, bolds, and italics, and using fonts that make you seem unprofessional. If you’re unsure, Times New Roman 12 pt. font is always safe, but there are other acceptable options out there. There is a wealth of information on how to professionalize your resume, so take advantage of it.

It may also be unreadable when you have large chunks of text or poor structuring of your sections. These are all the first things a recruiter will see even before they take the time to read it; this is your very first impression, so send it to a friend for a second opinion.

3. It’s Poorly Written

Writing may not be your strongest skill, but you should never show this to a recruiter. This is not the time to use pronouns like “I” or “my” when you’re talking about your accomplishments, and you should always be aware of your verb tenses. For example, if you’re talking about a past position, this should be written in past tense (‘managed’) and when you’re writing about your current position, use present tense (‘manage’).

You’ll also want to avoid being too wordy; recruiters are assessing your skills and qualifications quickly and don’t want to feel as though they’re searching for meaning in what should be very concise content.

4. When You List Outdated or Irrelevant Experience

Every entry should be specific to the job you’re applying for. This means you should be selective about the roles, skills, experiences, and accomplishments you include. When you include absolutely everything you’ve ever done since high school, it comes off as filler and distracts away from your actual hard-earned accomplishments. You also never want to submit anything more than two pages, so trimming down what you share may be essential.

Being nonspecific is never recommended, as it seems like you simply sent off your resume to whoever was hiring, without preparing for the job at hand.

5. There are Unexplained Gaps in Experience

Recruiters will be suspicious if you have unexplained gaps between jobs, but there are plenty of solutions for how to explain them. Many people will take time off from their careers or professional lives for a number of reasons: maybe you went back to school, took time to travel, or were taking care of your family. These are all legitimate and understandable reasons, but they should always be explained before the recruiters have time to ask any questions. 

Claire McConnachie

Claire is a Western University graduate with a background in recruiting, sales and customer service. As a Recruitment Consultant, her goals are to place the best people in the right roles resulting in satisfaction for both the candidate and client.