Top 10 Unusual Resume Mistakes

Are you making these mistakes on your resume?

Narajas de Colores10) Using a cutesy email account to send the CV

Any email arriving from snookums12 or bigboy69 that gets through the spam filter will get caught by the human filter before being dumped in the trash filter. Email from billgates1 is probably not going to help at Microsoft either.

9) Mentioning low grades (Hebrew) or test scores.

If you had problems in a course, why mention it at all? You’re too honest. Emphasize the positive and achievements you can be proud of.

8) Forgetting ineffective information on your CV

…only to have it surprise you in the subsequent interviews, such as alternative musical tastes (which I have), esoteric hobbies (I would get asked about mixology too much) or even a past job experience unrelated for the position at hand. Every detail you leave on your CV should have a purpose or not be there.

7) Avoid sending your CV as an email attachment

Don’t do this unless requested specifically in a job posting. Instead, put the CV text directly into the email itself. In this age of spam and viruses, many emails are wrongly flagged as dangerous and are quarantined from their destination, taking your hard work and hopes with them. Besides, the recipient can always ask you for a different format after the fact, and will. Some people think otherwise.

6) Using friends as references

This is especially funny when your friends do it also and everyone applies to the same company. You’re better off keeping your references in a separate document anyway.

5) Saying why you left

“Don’t include reasons why you are leaving your current employer or why you may have already left,” says Tracy P. Miller of TearTaylor’s Career Corner. However, be prepared for the question if it comes up in the interview and ‘the pay was too low’ is not a good answer even if it may be true.

4) Using non-traditional fonts or symbols

This is especially relevant when applying internationally. The resume recipient’s computer may not be equipped to handle these symbols, and you’re overly optimistic if you think that person is going to understand why your CV looks like garbage on their screen. They’ll reject you as quickly as they can confirm a file deletion (guess which). Another reason is that resume-search or -scanning software may also have a hard time deciphering this special text, rendering your CV a waste of space in a company’s candidate database.

20D orange cone on white background3) Writing with expressions that only made sense at a past job

Only a handful of people are going to understand when I say that I could be counted on to quickly knock out hotfixes from Racine while the site was gone fishin’, and unless you’re applying for an internal promotion, your own cultural siblings are unlikely to be on your upcoming list of interviewers. Employers are making efforts to speak simply, and so should you.

2) Breaking the law

Seriously. For example, in Canada it’s illegal for an interviewer to ask about marital status, sexual orientation, race or age so save precious page space by keeping that information to yourself.

1) Lying

This is so obviously a bad idea, it boggles the mind that people continue to lie on their resumes all the time. Admittedly, in my experience few companies do their homework and verify final candidates’ claims on their CVs with even a single phone call to a past employer, which is perhaps the reason people keep trying. Just don’t do it.

Bonus Mistake

0) Leaving text for video

This pseudo-cool Web2.0 trend of performing your CV on camera continues to annoy recruiters. Would you want to hire someone that you feel has wasted your time before they even walked in the door? Keep the video camera for family events and catching people doing dumb things.

More resume mistakes

If you liked this article, you might also want to read about Job Search Mistakes I’ve Made.

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12 Comments

  1. The New Shmoo March 13, 2011
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