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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Revitalize Your Brand with an Objective Look at Your Resume

Imagine forwarding a resume with discrepancies that could screen you out as a viable candidate vying for your ideal role. Failing to pay attention to important details, best resume practices, and resume red flags can bear a considerable amount of time and costs in the job search process while impacting your brand.

The CareerPro Conference unveiled relevant some insights about what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in a resume. Among the myriad of resumes that get lost in the shuffle, there are only a few resumes that seem to grab an employer’s attention. Such resumes are not necessarily bold, but reflect authenticity, employing a distinct, customized strategy that truly articulates the candidate’s value and highlights quantifiable achievements.

Seven commonly reported red flags in resumes that warrant immediate attention:

Contact Information.

The biggest pet peeve of recruiters: unprofessional email addresses. So if you plan to use an email such as, you will need to rethink your strategy. Use an email that includes your first and last name. Ensure that your contact information is current and includes only one phone number and email where you can be reached, unless there are exceptions to location.

Inconsistencies in Employment.

A hiring manager will consider, “How stable is your employment?”

If your resume reflects a history of endless job-hopping, this may raise some eyebrows, unless you have been working on a contractual basis. Gaps or plateaus in employment need to be addressed, either in the resume and/or cover letter. This issue will be questioned by the employer and is a common screen-out factor. A functional resume may not always accentuate gaps. Opt for the hybrid format.

Not every job has to be included in the resume, especially if they are relatively short stints. However, it depends on the career target and role applied for. The employer will look at your professional history and evaluate whether you would be loyal to their company and align with the organizational culture.

Discrepancies in Education.

If a resume is missing graduation dates or the education section is inaccurately presented, this will raise a serious red flag. Do not lie about your credentials – indicate if they are a work in progress or have been completed. Include your updated professional development – academic institutions, locations, and dates. Feature your academic achievements and projects whenever possible, especially if you are a recent graduate.

Overloaded Information.

A resume that is crammed with irrelevant content is hard to digest – it lacks focus. What employers want to spot within a few seconds is your value and a succinct resume that draws upon solid achievements. How your professional work experience is presented is imperative. Even if you have not been working in some roles for a long duration, a work history that is disorganized will be discounted.

The key: eliminate redundancy – remove content that is not important.

Remember: achievements are critical to differentiate your value from other candidates.

Tailor your skills appropriately and align them with the career target and the job posting. Many jobseekers make the mistake of not reading the job posting in detail and, thus, fail to address the relevant criteria set out by the employer.

Unappealing Design.

Achievement-based resumes offering subtle hints of colour (e.g. navy blue) and a professional, modest design get read quicker than resumes in black and white without any design elements.

In fact, we process visuals several times faster than text.

Resumes that incorporate a graph that depicts tangible results often entice the employer to keep reading.

However, avoid using bright coloured paper or resorting to outlandish gimmicks to garner attention. Keep in mind the role and the industry. For example, accounting resumes require plainer design elements than a sales resume.

Make your resume stand out to reflect your authentic brand. Do not include a photo unless you are applying for a role where a picture is needed (e.g. modelling), or applying with an international resume.

Inefficient Retrieval.

Usually resumes are always submitted in MS Word as an attachment. However, you may have an older or newer version of Word than the hiring manager, which can impact the way that the resume actually reads and is retrieved. Consider submitting as a PDF so that the format is consistent, if possible. Some employers may prefer to have the resume and cover letter submitted separately. Many employers prefer one file to avoid opening multiple attachments. Never copy and paste your resume into the body of the email.

Inappropriate File Names.

Be mindful of how you are saving the file name of your resume (e.g. “super resume”). Keep the file name simple by using your first and last name and career target, separated by an underscore. An employer may hesitate to open the resume attachment with an odd file name.

“Does your resume reflect your unique brand?”

If you find that you want to make a much needed career transition and you have delayed the resume process for long, it’s time for a complete resume overhaul.

For more information about resume writing services, contact Lori Jazvac, Certified Resume Strategist/Career Consultant at Creative Horizons Communications at 905.730.2374 or email

Give yourself the best gift this holiday season – invest in yourself with a stand-out resume, a new perspective, and a polished brand.

Happy Holidays!

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