24 Resume pet peeves that will land yours on the naughty list

By Procom

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They may not see you when you’re sleeping, or know when you’re awake (….cause creepy), but they do know when your resume is bad or good, so make it good for goodness sake!

Certain resume pet peeves will most certainly land some job seekers on the naughty list; here are 24 of the ones Procom recruiters say you may wish to avoid if you want your name on their nice side. 

1. Unexplained gaps

Typically anything longer than three months is a recruitment red flag. Procom’s Director of Recruitment, Wendy Kennah explains, “I would say anything under three months is not alarming because it could be market conditions, time of the year, etc. that made it difficult to find the next project. Anything longer than three months without an explanation makes it something you should call out explicitly on the resume.” 

2. No postal code

Recruiters can Rudolph job seekers by using a radial search. It's a tool that finds the potential candidates  closest to the client site via postal codes. So, if yours isn’t listed, the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) won’t find your resume.

3. Lack of keywords

Your resume should contain keywords that match the job description you’re applying for. If they're missing, your resume won't be found.

4. Fancy formatting

Leave grids, charts and boxes off your resume. Robots can't read them and will most likely result in your resume not making it into an inbox.

5. Inconsistent fonts

One font, please! 

6. Different colours

 Your resume should consist of strictly black and white basics. 

7. Failure to take advice

A recruiter knows what his or her Client is looking for. If you receive constructive criticism, implement the advice. (It's literally coming directly from the hiring manager.)

8. Inconsistencies with online profiles

Always make sure the dates, skills and experience match what you have listed on your public LinkedIn profile.  "Recruiters and hiring managers will look at both," says Marnie Pertsinidis, an Account Manager with Procom. "If they don’t align, it won’t lend credibility to either, and will raise questions about your work history." 

9. It’s vague/lacks metrics

Recruiters want to know what you’ve done, how you did it and what the results were. Can you quantify them? "Always enumerate your accomplishments," advises Marnie. "Use numbers and percentages to demonstrate what you’ve achieved, this way you’re giving an indication of the quantifiable value you can bring to the team".

10. Spelling errors and bad grammar

After you’ve double checked for spelling, grammar and punctuation, have someone else you trust look it over as well. "Sixty per cent of surveyed recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error on a CV– while managers and MSPs will especially decline you if the role is detail oriented-- even if you’re highly qualified," says Hilary Fisher, a Technical Recruiter with Procom.

 11. Unnecessary capitalization 

Proper nouns and organizations receive capital letters. If you choose to capitalize your job titles, make sure it’s consistent throughout the entire document.

12. Listing a marital status

Being a mother of three is great, and it may contribute to your multi-tasking skills, but a resume isn’t the place to highlight these accomplishments. "I've seen resumes that have marital status, religious views, full date of birth, country of birth, etc.," says Ana Algernon, a Technical Recruiter with Procom. "My impression is that this candidate has not been in the market for a while and is stuck in how things used to be vs modern day job searching." 

13. TMI

Find the balance between personalizing a resume and too much information. Only list hobbies and interests that pertain to the job description. "I once had someone who wrote 'Hobbies include: Destroying Orcs, and then delving into my vast DVD collection afterward'," says Hilary. "But.. why?" 

14. Lack of technical skills

When you include technical skills in the summary, make sure they’re also listed in the body as well.

15. Copy and pasting

Pssst! Recruiters read the same job descriptions as you do, so when you copy and paste the desired skills listed in the description onto your CV, they can tell.

16. Unqualified candidates

Transferable skills are great and are always taken into consideration, but a job seeker with intermediate-level experience, shouldn’t apply for a vice president position.

17. Photos

Unless you’re applying for a modeling gig, leave the selfies off the resume. "I always find it a tad bit weird when the individual puts a photo of themselves on the resume. "I did let them know that it's unnecessary and that I would be removing it, " admits Justin Yusufali, a Technical Recruiter with Procom.

18. Contact details only listed in the header

You should list your name, phone number and email at the bottom of each page in the event that one is misplaced.

19. PDF versions

Sending your resume in a PDF format means that a recruiter has to ask you for another version (and then wait for that other version) to make any changes or remove contact details before submitting to a Client.

20. Missing months

Always list the number of months against the number of years you were with a company. Ana says, "Never extend previous jobs to make it look like you were with that Client or company during the time you were actually unemployed. During a reference check, we will find out the exact end date and this can cause problems during an offer stage." 

21. Missing company names

If you’ve worked for them, work their name into your resume.

22. Too wordy

If you can’t list your professional skills and experience in 3-6 pages, you’re being too wordy.

23. Proficiency implications

A recruiter doesn’t have time to read between the lines based on your previous positions. List all of your profiencies clearly!

24. Inappropriate email  

"Hotgina@yahoo.com is very questionable," says Valerie Anderson-Migliore, a Technical Recruiter with Procom. "The impression I have is that they have poor judgment and unprofessional manner. I might call to quality but advise they set up separate professional email - as well as checking security tools on their social media accounts." 

Are you using a staffing agency to check a contract off your holiday wish list? 

by Procom

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