Worst Resume Blunders
What can you learn from these dreadful gaffes?
by Maria Hanson, LiveCareer
Your resume should be perfect--with nary an error in sight. But all too often, say employers,
resumes are riddled with mistakes.
"Making errors on your resume just screams, 'I'm careless, I don't care to double-check my work
or have a friend look it over, and that's exactly the same sloppy, lazy effort I'll give you as my
employer,'" says Tony Katsulos, who keeps a file of the worst resume bloopers he's received as
head of Jetstream Public Relations.
Here's a look at some cringe-worthy real-life resume gaffes:
1. Careless Mistakes
"Speak, read, and wright English/Spanish."--seen by Angie Beauchamp, Charm Factory
A candidate actually misspelled her own first name, writing "Barbara" as "Barabara."--Mark
Gollihur, who managed a video store when he received that application.
A resume objective stated the candidate wanted a job as a nurse. The job she was applying for?
Security manager.--Philip Farina, author of "Antiterrorism Careers."
"They write, 'I've researched your company and would be a perfect fit.' And then they call your
company by a competitor's name."--Tony Katsulos, who has weeded out this cut-and-paste gaffe
This one says it all: "I'm very detale oriented."--reported by Sharon Armstrong, the author of
"The Essential HR Handbook."
Instead of "biological organisms," a university job candidate wrote "biological orgasms."--from
Berit Brogaard, associate professor of philosophy and psychology at the University of Missouri,
"Psychology professor" became "psycho. professor," and "analytic philosophy" became "anal.
philosophy."--"Asso. professor" Brogaard has seen these and other abbreviations lead to resume
Lesson: Be vigilant about spelling, proofread each resume a few times, get someone else to look
at your resume for errors, and be wary of abbreviations.
"GPA: 2.0"--seen by Kristen Barrett, Spark Design.
A man appeared to be the perfect candidate for an accounting position. "But at the bottom he
mentioned he would not be able to interview immediately as he was serving time for
embezzlement."--seen by Jodi R. R. Smith, of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.
"I was fired."--Robin Ryan, the author of "Winning Resumes," says this is one of the most
common blunders she comes across.
A few clients have actually put their social security numbers on their resumes.--Mike Ballard,
Turning Points Research.
A recent graduate sent a resume that came through with track changes and comments from a
variety of people. Adding to the blunder: "Some of the changes were not for the better."--Debbie
Mitchell, president, Mullen Public Relations.
Lesson: What you exclude from your resume is almost as important as what you include. Don't
include any information that doesn't contribute--or worse, detracts--from your overall selling
message. Keep in mind that your resume is just your ticket to interview-land. You will have
plenty of opportunities to provide employers with a complete picture once you've landed an
3. Bad Moves
A candidate included photos of himself at the gym and a glamour photo with his resume for an
administrative position with a financial services provider.--from Philip Farina, who also runs
Manta Security Management Recruiters.
Email address: Bostoncutiee22@example.com.--seen by Stacey Schmidt, a recruiter at
A job-seeker used a free return-address sticker from an endangered-wildlife nonprofit on his
resume instead of typing his contact information out.--seen by Philip Farina.
A person reduced his cover letter and three-page resume onto one page and then faxed it.--seen
by Penny Miller, Venture HRO.
Lesson: Even the littlest details--both in your resume and how you use your resume--send a
message to hiring managers. Be clear about what image you're trying to get across in your
resume, and make sure everything you say and do is consistent with this image.