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Charting the path towards smarter recruitment

Some better reasons for job hopping, that you can explain in an interview, could be that you were recruited by another company.

Office structure, London. Image by Tim Sandle
Office structure, London. Image by Tim Sandle

The average recruiter or hiring manager spends 6 to 8 seconds looking at a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume before they decide if it is suitable or not. On average, one position attracts around 250 CVs, which means that employers can immediately spot the red flags.

CVs with cluttered layouts, lack of headings, or ones that are too long or too short will more than likely not be successful.

However, if you are looking for a new job, experts at CV Maker have revealed to Digital Journal the top red flags to avoid when creating your CV, to help you be successful in applying for your dream role.

Typos and grammatical errors

Probably the first red flag that employers look out for, mistakes on your CV show that you don’t pay attention to detail. Minor mistakes shouldn’t be a cause for concern, however, if a CV is full of mistakes, it immediately sends the wrong message to a recruiter or hiring manager.

Consider resending your CV if you notice multiple typos or other major mistakes after you click send. While it might feel awkward, there are professional ways to resend a CV. It’s best to include a short explanation with your updated CV. Politely explain that you are sending an updated file and to please excuse yourself for the mistake.

Make sure to use a spellchecker and have at least two people proofread your CV before you apply for a position.

Unprofessional email address

An unprofessional email address is another huge red flag for employers. Your CV is your professional calling card, the first impression a hiring manager creates for you before they have even met you. Make sure to get yourself a separate email account for your job search and keep your account name professional.

Make sure you do not use the email address you created when you were 15. This shows employers that you’re too lazy to create a new email address, or that you don’t value your professional career.

If you are struggling, use your last name and first initial or first and last name. This is clear and professional.

Employment gaps

Large gaps of time between them are one of the biggest CV red flags that head-hunters, recruiters, and hiring managers will immediately notice. One gap in employment isn’t that unusual, especially if you’ve travelled or started a family. However, if multiple gaps seem out of place, make sure you have a valid reason to explain these.

Breaks in employment raise red flags because they could have a range of negative implications. There are exceptions, but most high performers don’t have huge gaps in their employment history. Employers might also fear you could do this again and quit the job when under pressure.

Explaining a gap in a cover letter might help. If you do get invited to an interview, be ready with an honest and clear reason for the gap.

Job hopping

People job search for a new career for all kinds of reasons. Increased pay, improved benefits, better work-life balance, etc. However, frequent job hopping can be a cause for concern as an employer.

Employers want to hire people they can invest in. One year, or less, isn’t enough time for an employee to become truly proficient in their role or make a meaningful impact on a company.

If you have switched positions frequently, and your CV shows this, make sure you have valid reasons for this. Do not mention that you just “needed a change” as this can indicate that you are inconsistent or unreliable.

Some better reasons for job hopping, that you can explain in an interview, could be that you were recruited by another company, as this shows that you are a valuable team member. You could also mention that your previous role shifted from what you were initially hired to do, or even that you weren’t advancing as quickly as you’d like.

Too much personal information

Too much non-relevant personal information on your CV can also be a big red flag. Your CV is a document to highlight your skills, accomplishments, and work history. This needs to stay professional.

Whilst showing a little personality on a CV is a green flag, too much personal information can deter employers from hiring you. Try to keep it short and concise and wait until the interview to let your personality shine through.

The best way to show a little personality, that is not overbearing, is through your hobbies and interests. However, make sure these are relevant to your job role.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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