Is Your Resume Scaring Away Prospective Employers?

John Krautzel
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Searching for employment is hard enough when everything is stacked in your favor. So, imagine how difficult it gets when you have a resume that’s scaring potential employers away. It’s even possible for a well-written resume to contain components that turn potential employers off. To ensure yours isn’t repelling potential employers, make sure it doesn’t contain these things.

Long Gaps in Employment Without an Explanation

It’s fine to have gaps in your employment history, but you need an explanation for the gap. For example, if you spent the past five years raising small children while your spouse worked, you need to tell that to potential employers. To explain a gap in employment, add the gap time, along with your explanation, into the job history portion of your resume. Alternatively, use your cover letter to explain any employment gaps.

Generic Information

A well-written resume is anything but boring. It’s a tool you use to “woo” potential employers, and because of this, it can’t be generic. You want your resume to stand out; generic resumes blend in and don’t really tell potential employers why you’re a great fit for their company. Think of job searching as dating; you’re courting a potential employer who you need to impress. Make sure you have a well-written resume that gives the hiring manager a glimpse at your amazing personality and skills.


You need to proofread your resume, and then proofread it again, several times. Having a well-written resume is super important. Resumes filled with errors make you seem unprofessional. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and that’s not over the phone or during an interview. Your first impression is your cover letter and resume.

Lengthy Paragraphs

A well-written resume doesn’t contain extensive paragraphs. Employers don’t have time to read long paragraphs. In fact, chances are they only skim over your resume, quickly deciding whether it’s good enough to have earned you an interview. Use keywords, but not industry jargon, as well as bullet points to make your resume easier to read.

Fancy Fonts

You need a resume that’s easy to read, so stay away from overly fancy fonts. Potential employers don’t care whether you went with Arial or Times New Roman as long as you didn’t choose a font that makes your resume difficult to interpret.

Wrong Format

It's also important to make sure potential employers can open the file containing your resume. Ideally, this means sending your resume to potential employers in PDF format, although for some, sending it as a Microsoft Word document is acceptable. Just know that if the recipient uses Google Drive to open the Word doc, the formatting may be off a bit.

A well-written resume is the most important job search tool you possess. It's what potential employers use to determine whether they should take the time to interview you. Make sure yours is readable and doesn’t have typos, and tells potential employers exactly who you are and why they need to hire you.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Arrick McNeil thanks for your great comment. Sometimes it does feel like it's dumbing down but, if you want a job, you just might have to do just that. It is true that things change and that hiring manager's needs and wants also change. The bottom line is to do what we have to in order to get hired. Character certainly does count. But so does getting that great job. Sometimes you have to weigh it out and go with the program just to get your foot in the door. Once you are in, then you can truly be yourself.

  • Arrick McNeil
    Arrick McNeil

    However, it is also important to consider that some employers simply aren't practical, honest nor realistic. Competition is tough in a buyers market. No matter what one says or does to comply with the current flavor-of-the-month, don't waste time spinning wheels, chasing ghosts or being tossed about with every blow of wind. Stand your ground and stick with what works for you. It is impossible to reinvent oneself every year simply because hiring managers lack wisdom and/or experience to grasp candidate value. I may not get the job, but I refuse to dumb down myself. Character counts.

  • Weneeke M.
    Weneeke M.

    helpful review tips!

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