10 Signs Of A Weak Resume

10 Signs of A Weak Resume Publié le 10 May 2021 Par

By learning the 10 signs of a weak resume, you’ll know how to create an application that stands out to HR managers and recruiters for the right reasons.

Reviewing hundreds of resumes a week, experienced HR managers have an eye for weak resumes. There exist certain red flags that signal a good resume and allow fast filtering of ones of lesser quality. These signs are the mistakes, errors, and indicators that give HR Managers a great deal of information about the individual applying for the job. Not knowing about the 10 signs of a weak resume can lead to time and opportunities being wasted.

Some job seekers have not taken the time to familiarize themselves with proper resume format, which leaves them unable to recognize misconceptions, mistakes and possible problematic points. Therefore, knowing the 10 signs of a weak resume that hiring experts use to help them weed out the wrong candidates and avoid bad hires can be a great advantage. 

Check out our list of the 10 signs of a weak resume and learn to avoid them while crafting a professional resume that will showcase your best self. 

10 Signs Of A Weak Resume 

  1. Personal information
  2. Poor formatting
  3. Objective statement at the top
  4. Irrelevant skills or core competencies
  5. Not tailored information
  6. Employment gaps
  7. Absence of keywords
  8. Too many clichés
  9. Spelling mistakes
  10. References upon request

1. Personal Information

The ‘Personal information’ section on your job resume is your first opportunity to introduce yourself to the employer or HR managers. However, get the basics wrong, and you can fail the whole interview just from the start. 

Specific golden rules exist on what personal information to include and not include in your CV not to look like the incorrect candidate. Furthermore, these rules can also save you from falling victim to sex, age, religion, and nationality discrimination. A good resume does not include race or ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, or children. 

2. Poor Formatting

Undoubtedly, proper formatting and layout play an essential role in the first impression. Many job seekers think they know what a good resume looks like and pay no particular attention to this matter. But the fact that you have made dozens of resumes in your life does not mean you know how to do it well. 

Before an HR manager or a potential employer reads a single word on your resume, they pay attention to its formatting. With many resumes, the problem is that there is no format to look at. Even a bold line or a space between the information sections of your job resume can largely contribute to the visual presentation. 

3. Objective Statement At The Top

An objective statement used to be commonplace. Furthermore, some resume tips ranked high by Google still advise writing it correctly. However, don`t trust all resume tips you come across. 

An objective statement at the top of your resume takes up a lot of space and intends to inform HR that you want to get the position. Quite an obvious thing to use precious space for, don’t you think? Firstly, HR knows that you want to get the job. Otherwise, you wouldn’t apply. Secondly, they are not interested in your motives to get the position, but the value you can bring to the company by getting the position. 

4. Irrelevant Skills or Core Competencies

Well-listed and relevant core competencies, soft and hard skills are important sections of a good CV. Thus, having a clear understanding of what good skills to put on a resume helps strengthen your candidacy. 

When writing a cv, some job seekers stick to the ‘spaghetti on the wall’ philosophy: mentioning all possible skills to see which of them will work. At the same time, others tend to do a quick Google search and copy-paste some ready-made lists with good skills to put on a resume. Both strategies are destined to fail, as not all skills and competencies belong to your resume. Furthermore, a well-experienced HR will spot the irrelevant ones immediately. Always tailor your skills you include on your resume to those that were included in the initial job posting.

5. Not Tailored Information 

In case you are using the same resume to apply for multiple positions, HR will spot that immediately.  Spamming with a single attempt to tailor your resume to the opportunity will not do any good. 

To increase your chances to get noticed and stand out from the crowd, you should specifically tailor a professional resume according to the job description. Do the research and find out how to make a CV more customized. For instance, you may start identifying what’s most important to the company and matching your expertise with the job description.  If you have worked in many different job roles, you can even consider leaving out or minimizing certain parts of your work history that are not relevant to the job role you are applying for.

6. Employment Gaps

The drawback to leaving off certain positions in the experience section of your resume creates blank spaces widely known as employment gaps. A good HR has a good eye on these gaps and spots them at once. 

The issue is that an experienced recruiter or HR manager will almost certainly want to know why you have a gap in your employment history. There are perfectly valid reasons for an employment gap, such as additional school, health reasons or personal obligations. If possible, briefly address the reason for your employment gap in your resume, and it can even be expanded upon in your cover letter.

7. Absence Of Keywords

Hiring managers skimming resumes and cover letters always search for specific keywords and phrases to stop at. As AI plays an increasingly important role in the recruitment process, specially trained bots and tools do the same work to automate the process. 

If certain keywords are not on your professional resume, you cannot expect it to successfully get the attention of an HR manager or recruitment bots. Using these words helps to disclose your strength and highlight your value for the position. If you do not know how to write a CV using exact keywords, think of the words and phrases that would sell yourself. However, do not fantasize too much, as you should be able to prove every one of the keywords. Once again, always be sure to review the initial job posting for specific keywords you can add to your resume.

8. Too Many Clichés 

Clichés and standard phrases are used to structure our thoughts and help with the overall resume layout. However, extensive use of clichés serves as a sign of an unqualified and weakly motivated candidate. 

Some words and phrases were so overused that HRs seem to have become immune to them. These can include:

  • motivated
  • team-player
  • detail-oriented
  • result-driven 
  • entrepreneurial

Therefore, try to avoid them at all costs. In case there is no other option, try to provide details and examples from your work history. 

9. Spelling Mistakes 

Spelling and grammar mistakes are the most widespread and the most vivid red flags for HRs. Such errors look particularly awful on the resumes of those who consider themselves detail-oriented and attentive. 

Your resume or cover letter is your reflection as a professional. A resume riddled with typos, grammatical errors, and other similar issues  does not prove your expertise and professionalism. Furthermore, it also makes your motivation to get the position somewhat questionable because you did not put a lot of effort into the very first step of the application process. Even modern applicant tracking systems are trained to shortlist such candidates. 

10. References Upon Request

This phrase often serves as a whole red  flag for many HR managers. Career experts tend to agree that this phrase is superfluous and wastes space on a good CV. 

First of all, hiring managers know perfectly well they can ask and expect references any time they need them. Secondly, this phrase can hardly make your CV  stand out in a positive way. Consider using this space for further details that describe and prove you as a professional. 

An average HR manager sees hundreds of resumes. Naturally, some of them appear to be good while others are bad or sometimes even awful. The more experienced an HR manager is, the easier and faster they spot mistakes and warning signals on the candidates’ resumes. That is why it is important to avoid 10 signs of a weak resume.

If you happened to look through this list of the 10 signs of a weak resume until the end and now have doubts about your CV, just keep calm and take the time to go back and make the necessary changes. There is always space for improvement and ways to make a resume better so that a hiring manager sees that you are the most qualified person for the job.

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