Here’s a rare view, directly from top recruiters, of some of the worst — and all too common — resume bloopers.
As Helen T. Cooke, managing director of Cooke Consulting, a management consulting firm, puts it, “Some examples of ‘what not to do’ will never be forgotten.”
1. Language Blunders
Blooper: Spelling and proofreading errors.
Example: “Pubic Relations.” And its related runner-up: “I’m good with the pubic.”
The lowdown: If you didn’t catch the problem with those words at first glance, you’re not alone. “It’s the most consistent and unfortunate mistake I see time and time again,” says Allison Hemming, president of The Hired Guns talent agency.
Blooper: Grammar and proofreading errors.
Example: As one job seeker wrote: “I have no patience for sloppywork, carelessmistakes and theft of companytime.”
The lowdown: Neither, we’re pretty sure, did hisfutureemployer.
Take-home message: Use spell- and grammar-check, but don’t rely on them, because they don’t catch everything. Get at least one other set of eyes to review your resume, no matter how good a proofreader you are.
2. The Wrong Information
Blooper: Using an inappropriate email address.
Example: One job seeker said she could be contacted at [email protected]
The lowdown: Unless you’re applying for a job in an adult film, get a new email address to put on your professional resume.
Blooper: Linking to inappropriate content.
Example: One job seeker linked to his body-piercing website which included “many photos of his own piercings,” says career transition consultant Duncan Mathison.
The lowdown: The chain links featured in the photos were not the kind of links a potential employer was interested in.
Blooper: Providing irrelevant details.
Example: “One candidate listed she was a ‘witch.’ Seriously,” says Chad Macy, a managing director for Technisource, a technology recruiting and staffing firm.
The lowdown: The magical powers of this witch didn’t extend to job seeking.
Take-home message: Regarding personal information: When in doubt, leave it out. As a rule of thumb, don’t include any information about your religion or irrelevant extracurricular activities. Only link to applicable and appropriate work samples. Make good use of valuable resume real estate by highlighting your accomplishments and customizing your resume to the specific position.
3. Reference Woes
Blooper: Providing invalid references.
Example: One applicant listed his parents as references.
The lowdown: Unfortunately, a glowing testimonial from dear old mom rarely counts.
Blooper: Badmouthing your references.
Example: Calling your former boss “a rat” and advising recruiters not to phone him for a recommendation, as one job seeker did.
The lowdown: That kind of talk doesn’t generate warm fuzzies with a potential supervisor.
Take-home message: Choose your references carefully, selecting reliable sources who will present you in the best possible light. In fact, eliminate references on your resume altogether. Supply them only when asked.
One way to make the right impression is to take a free resume test. Ensure that your resume is memorable for all of the right reasons.
Or you could…