12 Totally Ridiculous Resume Mistakes

By on

More than 12.5 million Americans are looking for work, according to the latest government jobs report. For many of them, the difference between being a statistic and being employed is a good resume.

We’re not even talking about a lot of work experience, although that’s part of it. A new CareerBuilder survey of almost 2,300 hiring managers nationwide asked what would make them automatically dismiss a candidate. Among the top responses were typos (61 percent), an inappropriate email address (35 percent), not listing skills (30 percent), and sending in a resume more than two pages long (22 percent).

That’s not all. The survey also asked hiring managers to describe their most memorably terrible applications. Here are the hilarious ones…

  1. Candidate called himself a genius and invited the hiring manager to interview him at his apartment.
  2. Candidate’s cover letter talked about her family being in the mob.
  3. Candidate applying for a management job listed “gator hunting” as a skill.
  4. Candidate’s resume included phishing as a hobby.
  5. Candidate specified that her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch.”
  6. Candidate highlighted the fact that he was “Homecoming Prom Prince” in 1984.
  7. Candidate claimed to be able to speak “Antartican” when applying for a job to work in Antarctica.
  8. Candidate’s resume had a photo of the applicant reclining in a hammock under the headline “Hi, I’m _____ and I’m looking for a job.”
  9. Candidate’s resume was decorated with pink rabbits.
  10. Candidate listed “to make dough” as the objective on the resume.
  11. Candidate applying for an accounting job said he was “deetail-oriented” and spelled the company’s name incorrectly.
  12. Candidate’s cover letter contained “LOL.”

Sometimes there’s a fine line between obnoxious and genius – managers also shared their most creative applications, and some of these don’t sound that different from the Brady Bunch sing-along resume. All got hired…

  1. Candidate sent his resume in the form of an oversized Rubik’s Cube, where you had to push the tiles around to align the resume.
  2. Candidate who had been a stay-at-home mom listed her skills as nursing, housekeeping, chef, teacher, bio-hazard cleanup, fight referee, taxi driver, secretary, tailor, personal shopping assistant, and therapist.
  3. Candidate created a marketing brochure promoting herself as the best candidate.
  4. Candidate listed accomplishments and lessons learned from each position. He gave examples of good customer service he provided as well as situations he wished he would have handled differently.
  5. Candidate applying for a food and beverage management position sent a resume in the form of a fine-dining menu.

Hiring managers spend an average of just six seconds looking at your resume – obviously you do need something to stand out. But that doesn’t mean you have to use some kind of gimmick. The weird ways people find jobs make for interesting stories, but those people are a lucky minority. Sometimes simple is best, so here are a few quick tips…

1. Include only relevant experience and accomplishments

The employer doesn’t care how interesting your life is – only if you’re a good fit for the job. If you can’t make past experience sound useful to the new role, leave it off.

2. Leave enough space to keep it readable

Nobody wants to strain their eyes looking at a dense block of text, least of all hiring managers who have to look at hundreds of those blocks. Leaving some white space makes your resume stand out – and it requires you to trim wordy descriptions and make judgment calls about the best stuff to leave in.

3. Instead of a vague objective, provide a quick summary of your experience

While “to gain valuable experience and help the company succeed” is a smarter objective than “to make dough,” it’s still a no-brainer waste of space. Make that objective useful by explaining what you’ve done, what you’re good at, and how you can fit into the company.

4. Proofread multiple times for mistakes

You probably already do this just after updating it. But wait a few hours or until the next day and do it again, so you look at it from a fresh perspective. Even better: Ask the English major among your friends and family to take a look.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,336 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.