This was a well-written article with some valuable insight into how a resume is read by the recruiter and red flags that catch their eye such as numerous short-term positions, multiple unrelated positions, long gaps between positions, including dates or experience that is not current, and typographical errors. The author also touches on recommended resume lengths and dispelling the myths associated with these.
NUMEROUS SHORT-TERM POSITIONS
Regarding “Numerous Short-Term Positions”, this can in fact be a resume killer if the job seeker is identified as a job hopper, which raises a lot of red flags for potential employers and recruiters. If in fact you are NOT a job hopper and worked with a temporary staffing firm to secure work with several clients, I would recommend reading up on recommendations on how to incorporate temporary work into a resume, demonstrating total time worked with the staffing firm versus dates working with each employer/client.
LONG GAPS BETWEEN POSITIONS
“Long Gaps Between Positions” is expected, especially in this tough economy, however, in addition to filling in gaps with education, an active, unemployed job seeker can take advantage of volunteer opportunities to not only fill in the gaps but keep professional skill sets up and/or learn new ones that can be directly applied toward paid employment. This experience will also add additional bullets to a resume! I can happily attribute my last contract position toward my two years of non-profit virtual volunteer work (all online) while living overseas.
TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS, MISSPELLINGS, AND INAPPROPRIATE GRAMMAR
When recruiting for a staffing firm, grammar and spelling errors were the number killer on professional candidate resumes. Why? It simply came across to the recruiters as lazy – someone who lacked attention to detail and wasn’t serious about the position or obtaining professional employment. “Manger” (instead of “manager”) was the #1 spelling error I found. Since this is in fact a correctly spelled word, spell check doesn’t identify it as an error which is why it is important to have a resume thoroughly proofread by at least two other trusted professionals. Even with the resumes I write, I proofread AND use an online spell checker as spelling/grammar bugs have already been found in some of the latter MS Word programs. Another key tip in identifying spelling errors is reading your resume aloud AND having someone else read it aloud.
DISPELLING MYTHS ABOUT RESUME LENGTHS
The article reminds us that there are no set rules for resume lengths, however, most corporate recruiters prefer to see the following:
- Entry level/student candidates – With minimal or no experience, a one page resume is appropriate.
- Experienced, professional candidates – No more than a two-page resume.
- Executive and technical candidates – Two to three-page resume highlighting the last three positions OR last 10 years of employment.
- Contract or staffing firm candidates – Your entire work history, up to 10 years. This allows recruiters to place for several open positions.
- Federal employment candidates – Your entire work history to include military service (whatever USAJobs Resume Builder will allow – follow their instructions to build your federal resume). Most federal resumes range from 5-7 pages, but can be longer based on experience and qualifications.
All around, great article with valuable advice! The ultimate key in writing an effective resume is to TARGET your resume(s) toward the job(s) of interest, tailoring the content, formatting, and design for each specific position. Happy hunting!