Things That Make You Go Hmmm: 5 Resume Mistakes to Watch For

By Robert Half on June 6, 2016 at 5:00pm

In the market for a new accounting and finance professional who doesn't set off any red flags? Exactly what resume mistakes should you watch for?

The candidate evaluation process can be challenging and time consuming. When you review stacks of resumes, it’s fairly easy to identify and eliminate those applicants whose credentials clearly don’t match the basic job qualifications you’re seeking. But you’ll likely have a large number of candidates who could be a fit.

As you sift through the applicants, save yourself time by watching out for these five resume mistakes that — aside from a lack of experience, credentials or necessary skills — should make you move on to other candidates:

1. Poor attention to detail

Spelling and grammatical goofs should cause you to raise an eyebrow and definitely should cause the resume red flags to wave. If prospective employees don’t appear to have proofread their resume, you shouldn’t expect them to be any more detail-oriented once on the job.

2. Irrelevant info

Although it’s nice to have a few details about a potential employee’s interests and personality, a resume containing too much fluff and filler is cause for concern. You can identify promising applicants by their laser-like focus on their most pertinent qualifications — not their love of ballroom dancing. Simply put, it’s inappropriate and amateurish to “overshare” about one’s personal life. Resume red flags? Check.

3. Lack of customization

Other resume red flags include a lack of care and customization. You want to hire someone who appears highly interested in the specific job description you've created. Resumes should be tailored to your organization. Be wary of candidates with cookie-cutter objective statements such as, “To work in the accounting field.” These people clearly haven’t done much homework.

4. A demanding attitude

A what’s-in-it-for-me attitude is another possible forewarning for managers. But be sure to examine the cover letter, too. If you receive application materials that include demands about salary expectations, vacation requirements or specific perks, it might be best to move on to other candidates. Someone who issues ultimatums before he or she even gets an interview is not likely a team player.

5. Job hopping

While it’s no longer customary for people to work for the same organization their entire career, a history of job hopping is still on the list of resume red flags. People who clearly have a restless spirit when it comes to staying in full-time roles for longer than a mere year (or less) probably aren’t going to stick around your office, either. 

The exceptions, of course, are those candidates who prefer to move from one temporary position to another.

Meanwhile, pay attention to these resume mistakes, and you’ll be able to more efficiently zero in on the best candidates for your organization’s accounting and finance positions.

Whether you seek advice on interviewing candidates, setting salary levels or finding the right accounting candidate, Accountemps can help.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated recently to reflect current information.

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