Resume horror stories: What not to include in your CV

WASHINGTON — A lot of resumes cross desks in human resource departments, and recruitment company CareerBuilder interviews them occasionally to find out what they see.

Its latest survey sorts out the most outrageous resume mistakes they’ve come across.

To put it mildly, the top 10 list does not disappoint:

  • A 22-year-old applicant claimed three different degrees.
  • An applicant listed 40 different jobs in one year.
  • An applicant thought he had attached a resume to an email, but actually sent part of an apartment application.
  • An applicant applied for a physician job with only having experience as a grocery store employee.
  • An applicant referred to having “as many marriages as jobs.”
  • An applicant listed an extensive arrest history.
  • An applicant’s resume had a different font type for every sentence.
  • An applicant stated at the bottom of the resume the following dislikes — babies and puppies.
  • An applicant’s resume was only one sentence.
  • An applicant had the same employment dates for every job listed.

While those are some of the more extreme examples of resume blunders, CareerBuilder points out that resumes should get to the point and quickly catch a potential employer’s attention.

Its survey found that 39 percent of hiring managers spend less than 1 minute on average looking at a resume. Better yet, another 23 percent spend less than 30 seconds.

The best approach should not only make your resume brief and to point, but also truthful.

“The problem with lying on your resume is that the odds of getting caught are high,” said Michael Erwin, a career adviser with CareerBuilder.

“It’s human nature to be tempted to exaggerate a little on your resume, and suggest that you have more skills or greater experience than you really do,” Erwin added. “However, the short term gains you might make in landing the job through deception can have long term consequences that may do serious damage to your career.”

CareerBuilder said 75 percent of hiring managers have caught a lie on a resume.

Aside from the absurd, hiring managers also cited several common resume’ mistakes that are instant deal breakers:

  • Typos or bad grammar.
  • Unprofessional email address.
  • Resumes without quantifiable results.
  • Resumes with long paragraphs of text.
  • Generic resumes that are not customized to the company.
  • Resumes longer than two pages.
  • No cover letter with resume.

CareerBuilder’s survey included 1,138 hiring and human resource managers, and was conducted between June 21, 2018 and July 15, 2018.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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