Article by Jacob Cayia

Even if you are not seeking a position, employers in the future will determine your value based on your past. So when thinking of the future, your past is now. Take an assessment of your assets and take action to ensure success in years to come.

Avoid these red flags to maximize your career potential!

1.) Obsolete Software and Skills

Many people update their resume on a continual basis, adding new skills and job descriptions as they advance in their career. However, for people who have been in the workforce for 15 years or more, many of the skills and technologies they used in the past are no longer relevant to the positions they are applying for. And not only are they not relevant, they will seriously date you. There is no longer any reason to include in your resume that you are proficient in Lotus Notes or Windows 95. Keep your skills relevant and up to date, only include the ones that are going to be relevant to the positions you plan on applying for.

2.) Job Hopping

Have you had ten jobs in the past three years? Job hopping is a serious red flag. It indicates a lack of loyalty and seriousness regarding your career. From the employer’s perspective, they will ask what’s to stop you from leaving us to join a new company after six months or a year? Employers are looking for candidates that will stick around long enough to truly wrap their heads around the positions they are in and the company they work for. This process takes years, not months. A company with a revolving door of workers will be far less efficient than one that is able to successfully retain the bulk of the candidates they recruit. There are tactics to avoid this troublesome issue, including being selective as to which positions you list on your resume and how you date them.

3.) Old Dates

Do you still have listed that “Computer Operator” job from 1983 on your resume? Or that bachelor’s degree you received in 1976? Remember that a resume does not need to be a complete record of your entire background. The purpose of the resume is to advertise what traits, qualities and experience you possess that will translate effectively into a new role. You need to be selective in what you choose to include or not include. It is perfectly acceptable to leave off dates for listings such as educational accomplishments, since they will immediately provide the recruiter with an idea of your age. Unfortunately, age discrimination is a very real thing, and older job seekers need to do all they can to protect themselves from it.

4.) Employment Gaps

Many people experience difficult life events that require them to take an extended leave of absence from their career. On a resume, a two- or three-year gap looks very suspicious to a potential employer. It raises questions like, what was this person doing during that period of time that they don’t want to mention? – was this person virtually unemployable for that length of time? – why didn’t they have a job? You may have any number of valid reasons for why you took time off from working, but none of this will be clear to potential employers who only know you by your resume. There are numerous strategies to fill in these gaps on your resume, from including volunteer experience to turning what you were actually doing while technically unemployed into a position you can explain on your resume.

5.) Career Transitions

Did you go from being a software engineer to restaurant manager to administrative assistant? For the average person writing their own resume, these kinds of career transitions can be difficult to put together into a coherent narrative on paper. The most important thing to remember, is that a resume is not just a document explaining what you did in the past, but rather is a document explaining what you want to do in the future. The key is to bring out the transferable skills you have learned in previous positions that will effectively translate in your new position. For example, one person could have the same work experience, but three entirely different resumes targeted towards three different jobs.

Do you feel your work history has too many red flags? Speak with one of our professional resume writers today at 800-730-3244 and learn how we can help.

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