Resumes do a lot of heavy lifting. They introduce a candidate, provide an “elevator pitch,” and sum up the candidate’s match with the job description – all in one page or less. With so much information packed into a small space, resumes give employers a quick but concentrated view of an applicant’s offerings, helping hiring managers decide whether to call the applicant for an interview or to resign the resume to the circular file.

With so much riding on one piece of paper, how can hiring managers improve their ability to make more accurate decisions based on resumes? Keep an eye out for these major resume red flags:

  1. “Something seems odd about these dates.” Gaps in employment don’t have to disqualify a candidate, but they should be addressed in an interview. Functional resumes that leave dates off entirely should be questioned, as should resumes that leave off the month of employment. For instance, if a candidate claims to have worked for Company X from 2007 to 2008, did the candidate start in January 2007 and leave in December 2008 – or did they start in December 2007 and leave in January 2008? Dates matter.
  2. “Is the candidate a time-traveler?” A good resume will demonstrate growth in the candidate’s job responsibilities over time, as well as promotion to appropriate positions as responsibilities increase. If a resume demonstrates a decrease in job title or responsibilities, be sure to ask about this in an interview. The candidate may have moved to a smaller company with a lesser job title but similar responsibilities, or the candidate may have chosen to take a less responsible role rather than to collect unemployment. Both situations are promising – but a demotion is not.
  3. “What position is the candidate applying for?” You shouldn’t need to return to the candidate’s cover letter to determine what position he or she is applying for, unless you’re hiring for multiple similar positions or are overwhelmed by applicants. Instead, a resume that is properly tailored to your company will include keywords that match the job description, allowing to you determine from the content of the resume which position the applicant is seeking. A resume that doesn’t give specifics is more likely to be a generic one prepared and sent to dozens of employers – signaling that the applicant may be interested in a job, but isn’t especially interested in this job.

At SMR Group, we place qualified sales and marketing candidates throughout the United States. Contact us today to learn more about our sales and marketing recruiting services!

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