Resume Red Flags

  • On July 12, 2023

At Staff Solve, we recognize the power of a well-nurtured resume. Your resume should set you apart from other job candidates–and as an employer, it’s beneficial to be knowledgeable of resume elements that may be a red flag. 

Below are a few top resume red flags that should be considered when preparing and reviewing resumes as they can be indicative of the habits and characteristics of the person who prepared the resume and application materials. The following items highlight personal and professional characteristics that you may or may not want in an employee. 

  • Failure to follow application directions: As you review job applications, you may notice that some candidates don’t include all the requested items, such as a cover letter or a list of references. This can be a red flag, as it might show a lack of effort or care on the applicant’s part. It’s important to focus on candidates who take the time to provide all the requested items. These individuals show that they’re willing to put in the effort and are more likely to follow instructions and take their job seriously. 
  • Grammar mistakes and typos in resume: One of the biggest red flags on a resume is poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation. While this may not be a strong suit for all candidates, it’s important that applicants care enough to make sure their resume is well-written and polished.
  • Lack of resume customization: Pay attention to whether the applicant has tailored their resume and cover letter to your specific business and the open position. If the applicant hasn’t made an effort to customize their application materials, it could be a sign that they’re not really serious about the job.
  • Lack of relevant job experience: Having prior experience in a similar position can be a significant advantage. If an applicant doesn’t have experience in the field or in a similar job they’re applying for, it could be a sign that they haven’t thought carefully about their career goals or don’t have a clear understanding of the job requirements; if an applicant has a lot of experience but none of it is relevant to the position being applied for, it could indicate that they aren’t fully committed to the job or might have difficulty adapting to the role. 
  • Job hopping: Having an extensive job history over a short amount of time may indicate that the applicant is a job hopper. Job hopping can be a sign of poor work ethic, unsuitable skills for previous positions,instability, or even a lack of commitment to a career. 
  • Employment gaps: Employment gaps in general are not necessarily a red flag, but a valid explanation is important. There are many reasons why someone has a gap in their work history, such as travel, childbirth, starting their own business, or dealing with illness or personal loss. However, the length of the gap and whether there’s an explanation for it is vital. A short gap of a month or two might be reasonable, but several unexplained months or years may be a red flag.
  • Lack of career progression: Be cautious of applicants who have spent several years in the same role tier, or whose career has regressed over time. Ideally, a new job should be a step forward in someone’s career. A change in job title and increased responsibility is a plus. If an applicant hasn’t taken a step forward in their career in years, it could be a sign that they lack motivation or aren’t qualified for more advanced roles. It could also be indicative that previous employers didn’t trust their ability to advance.


Whether you are preparing your own resume or preparing to hire, pay attention to career history and signs of commitment to the chosen field. Hiring someone with relevant experience and a genuine interest in your industry is more likely to result in a successful hire. 

Check back later in the month to read our upcoming article regarding “Transferable Skills” and how to highlight them where a traditional resume may be lacking!

Why Choose Staff Solve?

Staff Solve is one of the top staffing agencies in Houston because we find the best talent and jobs for employers and job seekers! We partner with employers who have many open roles for job seekers, and low unemployment among professionals offering skilled talent to make us the best for both employers and job seekers. Many positions that start temporarily provide our professionals with a job offer, setting them up for a successful career.

Staff Solve continues to provide high-quality candidates and jobs in diverse markets for over 27 years. Let us take the stress off you so you can focus on your business by finding the perfect applicant for the position. If you are looking for employment, please visit our job seeker page and check out our job board for current positions. If you would like more information about the services we offer employers, visit our employer page or contact us today.

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