While resumes are critical to the hiring process, they aren’t always straightforward indications of a person’s suitability for a position. Sure, they include details about the candidate’s experience and education, but they are often incredibly fine-tuned using the latest recommendations in resume writing. While this isn’t innately a problem, it does make it harder to separate top players from the rest.

However, certain red flags may slip into even the most well-crafted document, giving you indications that there could be trouble ahead if you pursue a particular applicant. So, the next time you have a pile of resumes to review, keep your eyes peeled for these professional resume red flags.

Declaring Themselves a “Perfect Fit”

At times, candidates will make declarative statements in their resume or cover letter regarding their suitability for the job. While having confidence in one’s abilities isn’t a bad thing, stating they are a “perfect fit” could be cause for concern.

At the application phase, most job seekers don’t have enough information to determine whether they will mesh with your team or excel at all of the job duties. Making strong statements such as the one mentioned above is presumptuous at best and could be a sign of someone whose confidence borders on arrogance.

Referring to Themselves as a “Jack of All Trades”

We’ve all heard this adage, and many people try to sell it as a benefit. Having a wide knowledge base can be beneficial as long as it is deep enough to handle the associated duties. Someone who’s chosen not to focus on a particular area may struggle if the job duties are highly concentrated in a specific field. If you’re looking for a mastery level of understanding, then a “jack of all trades” might not be the best candidate for the job.

Additionally, it could suggest the person gets bored easily, hence the lack of specialty. For jobs that tend to be limited to a specific field, a candidate like this may burn out more quickly than someone who has dedicated themselves to the specialty.

Using Ambiguous Language

A resume is meant to help you gauge a candidate’s suitability for the position, but certain language choices could indicate a job seeker isn’t as experienced as they may initially seem. Phrases like “involved in” or “familiar with” don’t give clear details regarding their level of participation. For example, a person who was “involved in” a project may have been a leader or high-level contributor or simply someone who took notes during meetings.

While a single instance of ambiguous language might not be cause for concern, repeatedly using such phrases could be a sign that the job seeker’s participation wasn’t as meaningful as it appears on the surface.

If you’re looking for more information about professional resume red flags or would like assistance finding the ideal candidate for your open positions, the team at TempStaff can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can work for you.



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