Red Flags to Watch Out for on Tech Resumes

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When a company lists an IT job opening, hiring managers are often inundated with resumes. It is their job to narrow down which candidates actually have potential, but reading through every application isn’t always viable.

Luckily, by scanning for red flags, you can eliminate applicants who do not possess the traits, skills, or experiences you need on your team. If you aren’t sure where to get started, here are a few red flags to watch out for on tech resumes.

Issues with the Basics

Usually, a skilled IT professional is going to have the basics covered. Their spelling and grammar will be correct, the formatting of their resume will be visually friendly, and they will cover all of the major sections, like work history and education. Additionally, they will have followed any instructions regarding critical points to include or supplemental documents, like a mandatory cover letter.

If any of the basics are missing or the quality of the resume itself is subpar, consider that a warning that the candidate isn’t ideal.

An Inappropriate Length

While there isn’t necessarily a perfect length, a resume that is obviously too short or too long for the position should be considered a red flag. For example, a half-page resume is inappropriate for most IT positions and suggest the applicant may be lacking core skills and experiences.

Similarly, a three page or longer resume is typically unnecessary for anything but the highest level roles, such as a C-level position. It indicates that the candidate isn’t capable of (or didn’t bother) auditing the content to make sure the information speaks specifically to that job.

Multiple Tech Skill Lists

While a short bullet-pointed list that highlights critical relevant skills isn’t a red flag, seeing several such lists under each job heading should be considered one. While this may indicate that they are familiar with a range of technologies, it doesn’t provide any context regarding their level of proficiency.

Most skilled IT pros will focus on their achievements, allowing you to see how they used their skills to achieve a particular success. If those aren’t present, the person may not have enough experience to provide such examples or struggled to use the skill effectively on the job.


Certain words and phrases are inherently vague and suggest that a person may not have a suitable amount of experience in a particular area. For example, “familiar with” and “some experience” are ambiguous terms that don’t provide clear indications regarding the candidate’s level of expertise. While they may have used the skill or technology in the past, it indicates they may not be particularly adept.


While the gig economy has led many IT professionals to take on multiple short-term projects, short stints as numerous companies could also be a red flag. You may want to dig in and see if the applicant was working as a project contractor, situations where shorter stays are appropriate, or if they were actually bouncing from one potentially long-term job to the next, as they could show that they struggle to commit or aren’t able to adapt to their team or the company’s culture.

By looking for the red flags above, you can narrow down your applicant list to find top talent. If you’d like to know more about reviewing IT resumes or are seeking skilled professionals to join your team, the professionals at Ask Staffing can help. Contact us to learn more about our services today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.


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