Executive Resume Red Flags

8 Executive Resume Red Flags

resume red flags

People often ask me to review their resumes and note any potential red flags they should address. Although Iโ€™m not able to review the majority of resumes that are sent to me (I simply do not have the capacity!), here are 8 executive resume red flags that I personally come across.


1. Task-Heavy Content ๐Ÿšฉ

Copying and pasting job descriptions into your resume will provide zero value to the reader. Instead, share pertinent content from your career that demonstrates proof of ability in alignment with job requirements.


2. An Objective Statement ๐Ÿšฉ

Hiring managers want to know WIIFM โ€œWhatโ€™s In It For Meโ€; NOT what your personal end-goal is. Ditch the objective and share a value-based headline/tagline that aligns offerings with needs.


3. Loooong Length ๐Ÿšฉ

Extremely long resumes are rarely read in full โ€“ or appreciated. Think quality of content versus quantity. Distill details down to what matters most, letting value dictate an appropriate length while keeping content focused and succinct.



When I posted this topic on LinkedIn and asked resume writers, career experts, and recruiters to weigh in with their thoughts on executive resume red flags, responses centred around several common themes. Here is the link to the entire threadย but Iโ€™ve gone ahead and captured a few of the responses below for your reading pleasure:


4. Lack of Focus at the Start ๐Ÿšฉ

Kelly Gadzinski: Lacking a bold headline and opening summary that effectively showcases personal brand in a unique and eye-catching way.

Skye Berry-Burke: For me, the key is in the branding headline/ tagline. If I canโ€™t determine your target or industry from the start, my motivation to continue reading is challenged.

Jessica Hernandez : I agree with Skye.ย I think the branding headline/position title at the top really sets the stage for the entire resume. If this is missing it cripples the entire resume and leaves the potential employer with a big question mark. Iโ€™m a big believer in the importance of clarity on a resume and a clear branding headline/position title is critical for that clarity.


5. Overpopulated Information ๐Ÿšฉ

Kamara Toffolo: Bullet Barf. Listing every single detail with a bullet or bullets that are actually paragraphs. Max 2 lines per bullet, please.

Virginia Franco: Dense text is my biggest beef โ€” when something is too long, too verbose, or doesnโ€™t get to the point โ€” you run the risk that the reader will skip it altogether.

Ana Lokotkova: If itโ€™s a bullet, it means it needs to be short and sweet and not a 5-line long paragraph.


6. Deficient Customization ๐Ÿšฉ

Omar Osmani: Lack of customization, using the same resume to apply for all positions. Take the time to review and understand the job description. Then customize your resume to help show the potential employer how you are a great fit for the role.


7. Missing Results ๐Ÿšฉ

Erin Kennedy: Not backing up your value with actual accomplishments. Just saying you are a โ€œbusiness development rockstarโ€ isnโ€™t enough. Prove it. What did you actually do to give yourself that title? The reader wants to know!

Jamie Chapman: I second several of the previous comments about backing up your โ€œbragโ€ items with your experienceโ€ฆ itโ€™s not congruent to say, โ€œIโ€™m awesome at managing budgets,โ€ and then never drop a single dollar figure in your resume.

Scott Leishman: Resumes should have specific numbers that show the scope of the candidateโ€™s responsibility and achievements that relate to the position they are going after. Dollar signs are much more powerful and precise than percentages.

Tom Adam: People need to list concrete, measurable achievements, whether itโ€™s performance against sales quotas, up-time maintained in complex IT systems, number of new customers obtained, etc. Listing your duties alone isnโ€™t a resume โ€” itโ€™s a job description. Whether you were an accountant, a sales rep, or a software engineer, we know what you did. What we want to know, however, is whether you were any good at it.


8. Weak Attention to Detail ๐Ÿšฉ

Jeff Lipschultz: Errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If you cannot proof your own resume, what kind of attention-to-detail do you possess?

Javier Vinsome: Repetitive action words. Overuse of โ€œResponsible forโ€ฆโ€. Employment with no dates.

Sarah Johnston: Iโ€™ll add font sizes under 10! The reader should not need to squint to read your resume.

Laura Smith-Proulx: Information shown in bold for no good reason โ€“ when itโ€™s detrimental to the candidate. If youโ€™ve job-hopped, donโ€™t put dates in bold or right-justify them. If your positions date back to 1979, donโ€™t put them in bold (and of course, eliminate some of these positions).


Thank you career experts and hiring personnel for sharing your insights on these 8 executive resume red flags!

If you are an executive looking to eliminate resume red flags and elevate your resume to a modern standard, visit me at www.CareerImpressions.ca to learn how I can help.

Adrienne Tom

Looking to get noticed for top jobs? I can help. Visit me online at CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume and LinkedIn writing services that helped C-suite executives, VPs, and directors land top jobs at billion-dollar companies, start-ups, and everything in between. โšœ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ. Everyone has value to offer employers. But conveying this story in a modern, succinct executive resume isnโ€™t easy. I can do this for you. โšœ ๐—œ ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ท๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜ โ€˜๐—ฎ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฒโ€™. I'm often told that my process is as valuable as the final documents. People feel more empowered and confident after our work together. โšœ ๐— ๐˜† ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ธ. I hear amazing success stories from my clients. For 15+ years, I have written hundreds of executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles that generated increased recognition and escalated earning power for my clients.

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