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Is your CV full of Beige Flags?

By Chloe Whitelock

There's a lot of similarities between dating and recruitment.

In the era of online dating, your Hinge/Bumble profile has got to stand out for the right reasons to attract the date of your dreams, avoiding those giveaway RED FLAGS for sure, but the comparison has also been drawn to BEIGE FLAGS.

BEIGE FLAGS are those statements that shout "BORING" and "MEH" on someone's Tinder profile and a swipe left indicator is definitely replicated in the world of work, careers and recruitment.

The article here lists some typical examples of beige flags in the dating world, but here at PIE I've done a quick poll of consultants, client hiring managers and internal recruitment managers to see what they denote as the ⛔☠⚠ "Boring Warning Signs" ⚠ ☠ ⛔

  1. Generic Soft Skillshardworking, enthusiastic, results orientated, successful, dynamic all fall into this category.  Overused, unimaginative.  Lift music, wallpaper kinda stuff.  If these words are in your personal statement on your CV or your main section on LinkedIn, think about changing it up a bit!
  2. Surface Level Job Explanations"meetings with clients", "working towards sales targets", "working with marketing agencies", "organising events"...we could go on. Listing tasks you do is a beige flag.  Much better to show off examples of what you have achieved. "Met with 15 new customers per month", Overachieved on sales targets 10 months out of 12 or similar would stand a much higher chance of a swipe right.
  3. CVs that are far too longLess is more. I've met people with 40 year careers who can pack a punch in a one pager, so if you're 3 years in to your career and can't get it on 2 pages, there's a serious issue.
  4. Personal Essays rather than Personal Biosor whatever you call the bit at the top of your CV you use to introduce yourself. Its got to sum you up in seconds, its got to give someone a reason to read more, not fall asleep by the second sentence.
  5. Generic Hobbies and Interests  -  "Reading", Current affairs or being a "Foodie" is just all a bit too non-descript (not that any of these things are yawnsome on their own of course). If books are your thing then tell us about it specifically, with added levels of gusto. If you're genuinely passionate about food, "foodie" will have us assume you had a tasting menu at the Savoy once back in 2009 and actually sit at home watching Masterchef the rest of the time.  Why not add more to your sales pitch about whether you're more bakery goddess like Mary Berry, culinary demon Gordon Ramsay, or whether you would sell your granny to live the Jay Rayner lifestyle?

Appearance: A red flag, but much more boring. They are early warning signs for a relationship. Maybe you meet someone who lies a lot, or follows slightly too many fitness models on Instagram, or responds to simple prompts with startling aggression. Well, it’s important to note these red flags, because ignoring them might mean that you find yourself trapped in a partnership with someone you come to hate, let’s say, one month shy of 30 years. So, what is a beige flag? If a red flag means that the person you’re romantically interested in is incompatible with your personality type, a beige flag means that they’re boring. If you’ve spent any time on dating apps, you’ll notice that most profiles have a habit of lapsing into meaningless platitudes. Perhaps they list their interests as something as nondescript as “food...

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