Job Advice

Overcoming Red Flags on a Resume

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Red flags
Greta Cline, CFO
Greta Cline
Partner, CFO/COO
July 17, 2023

Does your resume contain red flags that might make employers think twice about following up with you? Something as simple as a typo can put your resume in the virtual trash pile, while a spotty employment history can suggest that you’re not the reliable type of person the company is seeking. Fortunately, you can take the necessary steps to address these red flags now to ensure that potential employers are given the green flag to follow up with you.

Let’s look at some common resume red flags and strategies for turning them green.

Sloppy resume

Why it’s a problem: A resume riddled with typos, errors or formatting issues suggests that the person behind the resume is sloppy or careless as well.

How can you fix it? Start by taking a hard look at your resume. Ask a couple of friends to look it over as well to identify misspellings or typos that can stand out like, well, red flags. If you’re already working with That’s Good HR, our recruiters can also offer input on your resume and ensure it’s ready to be shared professionally.

Multiple career changes

Why it’s a problem: When hiring managers bring in new employees, they are investing time and money to train them and integrate them into the team. When a potential employee’s job history has multiple job changes and gaps in the job history, the hiring manager may be concerned about tenure.

How can you fix it? Honesty and transparency can mean the difference between being called in for an interview or being immediately rejected by a potential employer. Use your cover letter or application email to fill in the empty spaces on your resume. Did the Covid pandemic force you to take on additional dependent care tasks? Did you opt to switch jobs because you found something that was better suited to your skillset? Or were you enticed to move to another company because it offered you a higher salary? Be honest about your career journey. Potential employers are trying to make informed decisions about job candidates. Give them the information they need.


Why it’s a problem: Your resume must reflect your job history and current skills. If you are listing something on a resume, you need to be prepared to illustrate your experience and abilities.

How can you fix it? Keep your resume fresh and updated. Each time you’re in the job market, you’re representing a different part of your career journey. If it’s been a while since you’ve worked with certain software or platforms, you may not be as comfortable as you used to be. Resist the urge to paint a picture of yourself that doesn’t match your reality. You’re looking for a job that matches your skill set.

An unprofessional social media presence

Why it’s a red flag: It’s 2023. Your online media presence is easily accessible and gives potential employers a glimpse of who you are like beyond what you list on a resume. A social media presence that is highly unprofessional will cause potential employers to pause on moving your resume forward.

How can you fix it? Make sure your social media is job search ready. Are you still using the cute email address you made when you were 14? Prospective employers might raise their eyebrows at Search yourself online to see what comes up, and ask yourself if what you see matches the job positions you are applying for.

What if you’re on the hiring side of resume red flags?

If you’re tasked with finding the best candidates, you know that it’s still a job seeker market out there. Resume red flags that might have doomed a candidate even a few years ago may no longer be the automatic disqualifier. Keep these points in mind as you’re reviewing resumes:

Today’s young employees are different. Generation Z brings unique talents and trait that will reshape the business world in the next decade. They also have different work habits than the traditional workforce that’s been around for a while. For instance, they like to work from home, and they’re much more willing to look for a new job if they think there’s something better out there.

Uncover pertinent information with the right questions.  The last few years have been challenging, to say the least. If a promising employee has work history gaps, offer them a chance to explain by asking pertinent questions:

  • What did you do during the months of April-October 2021?
  • What did you learn about yourself during that time?

Have a strategy in place for employee development. In today’s hiring market, employers often must be strategic about developing and retaining good employees. Company culture matters. So does a strong onboarding process. Retaining employees is often cheaper and less time-consuming than hiring replacements. Invest in them early, and you’ll see a return in job skills and company loyalty.

Resume red flags don’t have to put a halt to the job search process. When you take the time to address these factors, you may find that the right professional match is waiting for you. That’s Good HR can help job seekers and employers find each other in this challenging and sometimes stressful job market. How can we help you?