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10 Outrageous Resume Fails to Avoid


We know that not every resume that lands on a hiring manager’s desk will be a perfect one, but CareerBuilder recently ran a study of 2,298 hiring managers and uncovered some real-life resume fails that are so outrageous as to be downright ridiculous. We’ve picked our favorite resume mistakes from the survey and included them below. Suffice it to say these candidates stood out for all the wrong reasons.

  1. Candidate specified that her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch.” Unless you’re applying for a position in which cheesy humor is explicitly required, it’s best to stick to a traditional resume format.
  2. Candidate highlighted the fact that he was “Homecoming Prom Prince” in 1984. Not only does this detail reveal your age to employers (which may or may not be a good thing), it’s just plain irrelevant to the business world.
  3. Candidate’s resume was decorated with pink rabbits. Even graphic designers and other creatives should stick to a clean, easy-to-read resume layout. After all, most hiring managers scan resumes for under a minute.
  4. Candidate’s cover letter contained “LOL.” You should generally avoid slang and text-speak in business correspondence, but this point is underscored for resumes, cover letters and all other formal introductions.
  5. Candidate’s resume included phishing as a hobby. To land a good job in a competitive market, you’ll want to avoid any references to illegal activity, even if you’re just kidding.
  6. Candidate called himself a genius and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment. Confidence is a good trait for jobseekers to have. Cockiness and arrogance? Not so much.
  7. Candidate’s resume had a photo of the applicant reclining in a hammock under the headline, “Hi, I’m [name] and I’m looking for a job.” Omit photos from your resume, unless you’re applying for a modeling or acting position. It’s also a good idea to tailor your resume and cover letter to the exact position for which you’re applying, which means avoiding blanket statements about your work availability.
  8. Candidate listed “to make dough” as the objective on the resume. See No. 4.
  9. Candidate applying for an accounting job said he was “deetail-oriented” and spelled the company’s name incorrectly. Double-check, triple-check and quadruple-check your resume and cover letter for typos. Better yet, ask an editor friend to do the same after you review it. And always, always spell the company’s name correctly. Cut and paste it, if need be!
  10. Candidate’s cover letter talked about her family being in the mob. We’re avoiding comment on this one, lest we end up at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean with some cement shoes.

Hiring managers, what resume fails have you seen?

More From Payscale

The 12 Craziest Resumes We’ve Ever Seen (Actually Work)
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Marissa Brassfield
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