Resumes are a great opportunity to showcase your skills and value, generate interviews, or completely destroy any hope of landing any kind of productive employment for the rest of your life. You see, there are resume mistakes and there are resume mistakes. Typos and poor formatting can get a resume burned, shredded, or crumpled up and tossed into the wastebasket in the middle of a spur of the moment reenactment of Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. But some offenses are so severe – or hilarious – that other people begin to promote your resume for free (in all the wrong places).
The good news is that we can laugh at them, and in the process of reveling in the misfortunes of others, feel much better about ourselves. Magnificent typos, complete absence of judgment, or history’s shortest ever solicitation for employment, these are real-life examples of Resumes Gone Bad.
1. Hobbies: “enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians”
First of all, hobbies don’t ever belong on resumes. Second, this is completely illegal. Third, it means that you have favorite recipes for preparing people and HR just doesn’t have the time for that kind of sensitivity training.
2. “2001 summer Voluntary work for taking care of the elderly and vegetable people”
It’s been common knowledge for some time now that elder care homes are ground zero for the invasion of half-man, half-leafy and/or crucuferous aliens that make excellent compost for your organic garden.
3. “Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse”
We’ve all been there: plenty of free time and an equine in complete disrepair. A vacation sounds perfect but Bessy has been leaking for months and she’s the only mare on the block without solar panels.
4. Career: “I have worked with restraints for the past two years.”
You might think “who would hire someone so crazy, they had to be physically restrained in the workplace?” But here’s the thing: they kept him. He has to be doing something right.
5. “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.”
This probably signifies an obsessive attention to detail when it comes to managing the supply chain. Either that or current best practices dictate that we do pretty much anything to save money on boxes and crates.
6. “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.”
Reverse psychology at its finest. This candidate gets the interview because she understands the value of a conversation starter on a resume. Who wouldn’t want to hear this story?
7. Strengths: “Highly committed to my work, no one can stop me when I’m working.”
An incredibly undervalued trait and my own experience backs it up. Like most of you, my supervisors did everything they could to stop me from working. They hid parking passes, cut power to the elevators, and changed schedules at random. There was even a bear trap in my cubicle. Thankfully, none of it deterred me. No one can stop me when I’m working.
8. “Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.”
A salesperson properly incentivized is a salesperson that’s going to produce. Cash bonuses are old hat. Vacations are unimaginative. Savvy management utilizes the next-gen carrot on a stick: highly infectious bacterial diseases.
9. Email: “420bluntbro@…“
Considering that “trippinbeachballs,” “drunkiscrunk,” and “gluesniffer69” were already taken by other users, we can forgive the slightly less than ideal choice for a professional email address.
10. Position: ”Ass. Accountant”
Do you manage financial information or close the drawers out at a strip club?
11. The entire resume: “My name is Mike and I’d like a job. Here is my phone number. Thanks.”
If you asked Mike to list the five least important parts of a resume, he might say, in no particular order: education, experience, accomplishments, qualifications, and words. Mike knows that recruiters only spent 10 seconds or so scanning each document. The genius behind his resume is that it’s structured so I have time to read the whole thing – more than once. Mike wants a job and he owns a cellphone. These are two things it will be almost impossible to forget when I build my short list.