You already know to spell-check your resume and give a nice firm handshake, but these days, there’s a lot more between you and your new gig. Tony Lee, publisher of, on the biggest red flags recruiters encounter.

1. Being too casual

Sometimes, being your lovable, charming self isn’t the best approach. “One of the biggest problems is people think of themselves as being pretty smart, so they think they can wing it — they’ll impress companies and interviewers and recruiters just by being themselves,” says Lee. “But you really need to be ready to show why you’re the best candidate and are ready for the job. Make sure you’re not too casual in your approach.”

2. Submitting a general application

Even if the positions you’re applying for are similar, take the time to personalize each cover letter and resume — it’ll make you stand out from the majority of applicants who don’t. “One of the biggest complaints we hear from employers is that candidates aren’t very savvy about applying for jobs,” says Lee. “They fire off the same application for every job without tailoring it for that position, and without carefully looking for an opportunity that you’d be successful at.”

3. Not explaining gaps in employment

If you haven’t been working, you’re far from alone. But it’s important to account for that time to prospective employers. “They’re afraid that if you’ve been out of work for a couple years than you’ve fallen into bad habits. What you have to show is that you’ve been active,” says Lee. “If you can show that in the last year you helped manage three events at your children’s schools that helped raise over $20,000, it shows that you’ve been active.”


Do some Google housekeeping

You can clean up your Facebook profile, but if your Google search results aren’t flattering, that’s a little more difficult to work around. One easy diversion that Lee suggests is to invite employers to visit your polished LinkedIn or Google+ profile so they don’t have to search.

On the slightly more sneaky side, if “Anthony Lee” turned up questionable search results, he suggests applying as the still correct and honest “Tony Lee.”

Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter @MonicaatMetro. And if you like pets (and who doesn't?) check out Monica's blog, Meow Mix, for all things small and furry.

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