15 Reasons Why Your Cleared Resume Is Causing You Job Search Problems

Posted by Ashley Jones
resume problems

Your cleared resume is your ticket to getting your foot in the door of your dream job, but if it’s not up to par, it could be the reason you’re not getting any bites.

There are a number of reasons why your resume may be causing you job search problems, from simple mistakes like typos and grammar issues, to more complex issues like not highlighting your value to potential cleared employers.

Consider these 15 reasons why your cleared resume may be causing you problems to ensure they don’t stand in your way.

1. Typos and Grammatical Issues

Typos and grammatical issues are some of the most common mistakes that job seekers make on their resumes. While they may seem like small errors, they can make a big difference in how you’re perceived by potential employers. A single typo or grammatical error can make you appear careless or unprofessional, and can even cause your resume to be discarded altogether.

Always proofread your resume carefully before submitting it. Try using a spelling and grammar checker tool to catch any errors you may have missed. It’s also a good idea to have a trusted friend or family member read through your resume to catch any mistakes you may have overlooked.

2. Poor Formatting

Recruiters have hundreds (if not thousands) of resumes to review, so it’s important to make sure your formatting is visually appealing and easy to read. Be sure to:

  • Use bullet points to break up text and make it easier to read.
  • Use a consistent font and size throughout your resume.
  • Make sure your headings are clear and easy to understand.
  • Use bold and italic text to highlight important information like job titles and dates.
  • Leave some white space to make your resume look clean and organized.

3. Inconsistencies

Your resume should be consistent in terms of formatting, style, and language. Inconsistencies can make your resume look unprofessional and sloppy. So make sure you are consistent in the way you note dates, job titles, and other important information.

For instance, in your work history, do all of your jobs use a month and year for the date range, or just the years? They should all use the same format to show the timeframes consistently.

4. Not Enough Metrics

Employers want to see measurable results, not just a list of duties. Including numbers and metrics can help you stand out from other candidates and show your impact in previous roles. For example, instead of saying “reduced outstanding deliverables,” say “reduced outstanding deliverables by 20%.”

Led a team? How big was that team? Managed a budget? How large? Saved costs? How much? Ask yourself similar questions to add metrics to your cleared resume where possible.

5. Forgetting Keywords

Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. Make sure you include keywords from the job posting in your resume so that it is more likely to get through the system. Does the job description use the phrase “Software Engineer,” “Software Developer,” or “Software Programmer?” If you don’t target your resume with the right keywords, it may not make it past the ATS and into the hands of a recruiter.

6. Too Many Buzzwords and Fluff

While it is important to use relevant keywords, too many buzzwords can make your resume sound generic and uninteresting. Use them sparingly and make sure they are relevant to the position you are applying for. And avoid using words that are subjective or assumed, such as “hard-working” or “detail-oriented.” Instead, use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and work ethic.

7. Saying Anything Negative

Don’t say anything negative about your previous work experience or employers on your resume. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are positive, professional, and solution-oriented. They want to see that you can work well with others and that you have a positive attitude towards your work. Your resume is not the place to vent. It’s unprofessional and can give the impression that you are difficult to work with.

8. Missing Information

Make sure your resume includes all the necessary information, such as your contact information, security clearance, and applicable work history. Employers are unlikely to follow up if they can’t find the information they need quickly.

So double-check that your phone number and email address are clearly listed and accurate. And when it comes to your skills and experiences, check your resume against the job description to ensure you’ve hit all the minimum qualifications. You might have the certification the job requires, but if you don’t include it on your resume, most recruiters will assume you don’t have it and move on to the next candidate. Their time is of the essence, so make it easy for them to see why you’re a great fit.

9. Employment Gaps

There are many reasons why someone may have an employment gap on their resume, such as taking time off to care for a family member, pursuing further education, or dealing with a personal situation. Luckily these gaps don’t raise the same kind of red flags they might have in the past. However, it’s still important to fill in the blanks where you can so you’re not leaving a recruiter guessing.

Don’t simply hope the gap won’t be noticed—be transparent and prepared to explain them. If you have gaps in your employment history, cover letters are a good place to address them. The key is to be honest and transparent about the reason for the gap. If you took time off to care for a family member, you might include a brief explanation such as “Took a two-year leave of absence to care for an elderly family member.” If you were pursuing further education, include information about the program you were enrolled in and the skills and knowledge you gained.

10. Inaccuracies or Exaggerations

All of the information on your resume should be accurate and up-to-date. Double-check dates, job titles, and other details to avoid any inaccuracies.

Furthermore, beware of exaggerating on your resume—i.e. making it appear that you’ve completed a degree you never finished, or including a certification that has lapsed or one that you studied for but haven’t passed yet. You don’t want to appear deceptive, so fact check yourself.

11. Personal Information

Avoid including personal information such as your age, marital status, religious affiliation, or hobbies (unless they’re relevant – like a Capture the Flag competition or a home lab). Stick to professional details that are relevant to the job.

12. Too Much Military Jargon

If you’re transitioning from the military, be sure to translate any military jargon or acronyms on your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers outside of the military may not be familiar with the terminology. Use the language of your target employer and focus on transferable skills so it’s clear how your military experience makes you the right person for the job.

13. No Focus / Irrelevant Information

Your resume should be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. Focus on your relevant experience and skills, and customize your resume for each job. Remove any irrelevant information that does not demonstrate your qualifications for the position. This means leaving your childhood job off your resume.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, consider adding your personalized LinkedIn URL to your resume. If the recruiter is intereted in learning more, they can see your full work history on LinkedIn.

14. Too Long

Your resume should be concise and to the point. For most jobs, one to two pages is ideal. Recruiters and hiring managers receive a lot of resumes, so they’re unlikely to read a long one. Focus on your most important experiences and achievements, and use bullet points to make it easy to skim.

The exception to the 1-2 page rule is if the job asks for many years of experience. A role that requires 20+ years of experience often merits a longer resume. But even then, keep it focused on what’s most important to the job.

15. Neglecting to Focus on Your Value

Finally, make sure you are highlighting your value as a candidate. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and experience, and show how you can add value to the company. Simply writing a list of past responsibilities won’t cut it. Paint a picture of the value you bring to the table by showcasing your achievements.

Crafting a well-written and error-free resume is crucial for securing your next cleared job. Avoid these mistakes to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of being noticed by cleared employers. Remember to tailor your resume to each job application, highlight your accomplishments, and showcase your skills and experience.


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 20, 2023 9:47 pm

2 thoughts on “15 Reasons Why Your Cleared Resume Is Causing You Job Search Problems”

    1. Majeed, if you’re interested in having your resume reviewed by a professional, join us at one of our Cleared Job Fairs. We have free resume reviews at each event. Our next two in-person job fairs are in Virginia and Maryland, but we have a Virtual All Clearances Cleared Job Fair on May 18, 2023. You can find all of our job fairs here:

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