What’s one thing you never, ever want to see on a resume from a potential hire?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Too Many Jobs
Jumping around from job to job is never a good sign. It raises a number of questions about the candidate: Was he fired? Can he not commit? Does he not know what he wants? Is he a freelancer? Is he full-time? The point being: I’d always steer clear of someone who jumps around.
- Anson Sowby, Rocket XL
2. A Lie
When I interview someone, I really want to get to know the person because hiring you is a big investment for us. I will ask you about everything you’ve done, what you’re involved in and what you learned. If you get tripped up on something or it’s clear you’re making it up, then the meeting is over. Never put anything on your resume that you didn’t really do.
- Trace Cohen, Launch.it
3. “Proficient in Microsoft Office”
Seriously? It’s the 21st century. Being proficient in Microsoft Office is no longer a skill — it’s a given or a “you better be.” It kills me when I see that on resumes!
- Shahzil (Shaz) Amin, Blue Track Media, LLC
4. The Word “Strategy”
I actively scan resumes for the word “strategy.” When I see it too many times, I know this person is not a doer. Doers tell you about what they have done, what they have accomplished and the projects they worked on. Non-doers will tell you about things they were “around.” The word strategy seems to come up far too often.
- Adam Lieb, Duxter
5. The Term “Expert”
6. A Hotmail Email Address
It is biased to criticize someone’s choice of email provider, but when I see firstname.lastname@example.org or @hotmail.com email address, I can honestly say I’m swayed in the wrong direction. Working at a startup or small company in today’s market requires an adept mind that’s able to adjust and adopt new paradigms on the fly. Not being able to swap your email account to something current suggests risky limitations.
- Derek Shanahan, Playerize
7. Too Many Short-Term Jobs
A lot of different short-term employment experience is a red flag. I am looking for expertise and commitment, neither of which is reflected when a person lists five companies in three years. Some individuals can be impatient and constantly look for “the next best thing.” I look for individuals who exhibit loyalty and commit themselves to developing true skills within an organization.
- John Berkowitz, Yodle
8. A Focus on Inputs
The easiest way to fill out a resume is to list everything that you did. “I managed a team …” or “Led Initiative X” are very common. A resume that talks about inputs and roles, but ignores results, scares me. We are a scrappy startup, and we need people who will deliver value. If you forget to share the impact that you had on your organization, we will assume it was minimal!
- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
9. Two Pages
I already know your objective is to get a job at my company — that’s why you sent in your resume. If you have a different objective, don’t tell me. We sometimes see objectives for jobs other than the one in question. If you want to be a newscaster, why are you applying to my startup?
- Zach Clayton, Three Ships Media
11. Spelling Errors
Spelling mistakes on the resume kill the image of the candidate. It shows he can’t take the time, attention and care to make the most important document accurate, and it reflects poorly on his ability to have the skills necessary to fulfill a role in an early-stage company — where there are few people checking each other’s work and individual responsibility is the mantra.
- Shradha Agarwal, ContextMedia
12. A History of Everything the Candidate Has Ever Done
It’s highly unlikely the work you did 10 years ago or your summer internship from college is relevant to the position I’m hiring for today. A long-winded resume detailing too much from the past tells me you’re not confident with your recent achievements. I’m interested in experience related to the position I’m hiring for and how your past work has led you to be a killer applicant for the position.
- Jeff Berger, Doostang and Universum Group
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