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15 Resume Red Flags That Will Get You Tossed in the Trash Pile

A resume is a critical document that allows potential employers to assess a job applicant’s qualifications and experience.

A user asked the forum, Hiring Managers what is an enormous red flag on a Resume. Here are the common responses.


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“I saw some guy who had posted in the “Have you been arrested part” put the reason he was arrested:” killed a man by dropping a boulder on his head .” Checked it out online, and he was telling the truth.”



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“I’m the kind of manager who will go for someone with less experience if they have a good interview. You need to check some things off experience-wise (customer service, data entry, etc.), but I know most people can learn on the job.

One thing I despise in a resume or cover letter is crowded wording and minimal gaps. I don’t need to see your work history from your McDonald’s days at 14; I need to see the last 5 IF; it’s relevant to the job.”


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“Listing every single accomplishment from high school and/or middle school… when you’ve been out of high school for 10+ years. Had a guy list every: part he got in a musical/play. Sports he played (with scores!). Clubs he was a part of. Etc. All of these date from at least elementary school. The man was 50+. The job had nothing to do with any of these items.”



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“I once got a resume that listed under his “Awards” section “Champion & Master of the Chug n Tug” at some fraternity whose name I can’t remember. I’m still not 100% certain what that is, but I know I didn’t want it.”



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“I once had a guy submit a resume saying that he could not work with women or speak to any woman due to religious reasons. I’m all for being tolerant of other people’s beliefs, but this was for a customer service job. If you can’t interact with women at all, then maybe this wasn’t the kind of job he should have been applying for.”



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“Doesn’t stop me from hiring anyone, but changes things up when someone says they speak another language. If it’s Spanish, you’ll be interviewed in Spanish. Sometimes that goes very poorly for the applicant.”



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“I used to do the “hiring triage” for a university library. Gearing up for the fall semester, I’d have to read through 500+ applications (my record was in the 750s) for a usual 30 hires. Used to get some terrible ones.

The most common were:


2. Three-word answers to multi-part questions.

3. No federal work-study award (Not an indication of a bad applicant, but we were clear upfront that we couldn’t hire anyone without it. Simply couldn’t afford it since a student with WS costs us about 1/3 of what an hourly student would.)

4. Terrible availability (Also, not an indication of a bad applicant, but if you say you’re only available for 2 hours Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Wednesday, don’t expect a call.)

5. Ignoring the questions about putting things in alphabetical or numerical order, doing them but obviously not reading the directions (ascending vs. descending order), or (to a lesser extent) getting them wrong.

Normally, calling to check up on your application was an immediate bump up to be forwarded on for further consideration (assuming availability and WS checked out), but if you had your parents call.”



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“Not an employer, but failed miserably to get a high school job. I thought I was doing everything right. I mentioned previous volunteer experience and work ethic, and I always came dressed in a button-up shirt, slacks, and a tie for interviews or even asking about a job. After a year of getting turned down by Taco Bell, KFC, and really any good high school job, I found the issue.

Under the previous criminal charges section, I put “Assault and Battery.” 17year old me had a loose grasp on the legal system and didn’t realize that getting arrested for a fight is not the same as being charged with a felony. I had been arrested on a misdemeanor but never charged. Unfortunately, that revelation didn’t come until I applied for military service and was told my “Felony charge” was a permanent disqualification.”



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“I interviewed an Indian guy who had “Surfing the Internet and Shooting Pistols” as his hobbies. I wanted to hire him on the spot to be our ‘wild card’.”



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“The guy who applied for a design job and attached a photoshopped image of him as a centaur comes to mind. Also typos. I was hiring a very senior-level person who seemed like they could do an amazing job, but there were SEVERAL typos on her resume. I asked the recruiter to let her know.”



Image Credits: Roman Samborskyi, Shutterstock

“I wasn’t an actual manager in my old firearms retail job, but being that I was the senior sales associate, my manager included my input in the hiring process, which entailed a lot of resume reviews. We had a guy in his late teens/early 20s drop off a resume for an open gunsmith position. He had no technical training, no gunsmith training, and had never even owned a gun before. He had recently joined the National Guard, and his only experience with firearms was basic orientation and cleaning of the M16 in basic training.

His resume basically said just this. In one run-on sentence, his resume explained that he had no idea how to write a resume and had no training in gunsmithing but that he needed a job and was interested in guns, so please disregard all this and give him a job because he was serving his country.”



Image Credits: Roman Samborskyi, Shutterstock

“I’ve seen someone put their certificate of baptism under Certificates and Awards.

Edit: Wow, I didn’t expect this comment to garner this sort of response. Maybe I should add that the job had absolutely nothing to do with religion, which is why the baptism cert seemed so out of place!”



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“A watermark of their face on each page of a resume.

Edit: This was in Canada for a food retail position.”



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“Any type of MLM. First, it’s not a real job. Second, it shows a lack of judgment. Third, it says to me that you don’t have a good work ethic.”


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“I once got “5’11, member of basketball organization”

We’re a tech startup.”


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“I also had a girl once hand in her resume every day for about two weeks because she really wanted to work for us; her cv had bar charts with her strengths and weaknesses, and under hobbies, she put “cats,” and that was it. She was actually way overqualified for the job and said she wouldn’t stop coming in until we interviewed her so we interviewed her to get her to stop coming in, and she obviously came in every day to find out if she got the job, pretty awkward.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.