CareerBuilder Reveals Most Outrageous Resume Mistakes

In a recent study, CareerBuilder.ca discovered some of the most bizarre missteps job seekers have made with their resumes.

The study was conducted online within Canada by Harris Interactive from May 14 to June 5, 2013, among 475 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 471 workers across industries. The results from the study were revealed today, Sept. 11.

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Most Outrageous Resume Mistakes

When asked to share the most memorable and unusual applications they’ve been sent, hiring managers gave the following real-life examples:

  • Four page resume detailing every position and volunteer job they had ever had since they were twelve
  • Etched into a wooden cutting board
  • Resume delivered in a balloon
  • Written in crayon
  • Each line had one bold word that formed a “hidden” message about how great the applicant would be for the position
  • Resume came in the form of a candy-gram
  • Many small teddy bears and daisies adorned the edges of the pink paper
  • Online by an employee we had fired
  • Scrawled in pencil on butcher’s paper
  • Singing telegram
  • Candidate revealed that he spent time in jail for assaulting a prior boss
  • Listed “Have flown on a corporate jet” as a notable achievement
  • Listed “Worked with my dad building things. Worked with my mum cleaning the house,” as past experience
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Common Problems

When asked to identify the most common resume mistakes that may lead them to automatically dismiss a candidate, employers pointed to the following:

  • Resumes that have typos – 54 per cent
  • Resumes that don’t include a list of skills – 43 per cent
  • Resumes that are generic and don’t seem personalized for the position – 35 per cent
  • Resumes that have inappropriate email address – 35 per cent
  • Resumes that copied a large amount of wording from the job posting – 31 per cent
  • Resumes that don’t include exact dates of employment – 29 per cent
  • Resumes printed on decorative paper – 25 per cent
  • Resumes that have large blocks of text with little white space – 22 per cent
  • Resumes that are more than two pages long – 19 per cent
  • Resumes submitted without cover letters – 17 per cent
  • Resumes that include a photo – 16 per cent

“Your resume is the primary deciding factor for whether you will land a job interview,” said Rosemary Haefner, VP of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “It’s important to project a professional image.”

Candidates can also run into issues related to how they submit their applications. More than one quarter (26 per cent) of employers only accept digital resumes, leaving hard copies sent via the mail unopened.

CareerBuilder.ca is a leading job site in Canada.

Photo courtesy: CareerBuilder

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Rakesh Raman