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The 10 Most Embarrassing Resume Blunders

Posted On11/26/2015

ContributorShirin Miller

Stand out in a positive way.

A unique resume is not necessarily a sure bet that you’ll stand out in a positive way.
In fact, unusual resumes are generally most likely to be passed over or, even worse, laughed at.
Listed below are 10 of the most embarrassing but not uncommon mistakes made
on resumes.

Don’t allow your resume to be passed over:

  1. Including a photo. Putting a photo on your resume, especially of yourself with a low cut shirt on, or your football jersey, is a big faux pas. Even if the photo is professional it detracts from your real value.
  2. Listing hobbies. So you are a weekend hacky sack player or a prolific knitter. How does this offer value to the potential employer? Chances are someone else at the company has a hacky sack and may even use it at break time. It’s just not applicable to your qualifications.
  3. Personal stories. Your resume isn’t the place to air your dirty laundry or to illicit sympathy for past inequities. Your resume should contain facts and a summary of your professional background, not why you couldn’t stay in college or keep a steady job.
  4. Informal writing. Inappropriate abbreviations and using slang are items you definitely want to keep out of your resume. Sacramento is not Sacto any more than Oakland is Oaktown.
  5. Race, age, religion, gender and marital status. While some countries require some of this information, the US does not require any of it and it may be illegal for any potential employer to ask.
  6. Criminal background. Your resume is not the place to tell the entire story about a minor felony. Being open and honest in an interview is a more appropriate place to address your background.
  7. Wrong attachments. Accidentally sending a personal letter to your mom or an old performance review, instead of your resume, is one way to let your employer know you. Just probably not the best way. Always check and recheck your attachments before sending. You should send the email to yourself before sending it out to make sure attachments are done correctly.
  8. Track changes. It’s not uncommon for candidates to make changes on their resume using the ‘Track Changes’ option in Microsoft Word. However, if you send this to a recruiter, he or she can also see the changes you made, including the phrases you deleted (e.g. “I have no clue what to write here…”) or that you have terrible grammar. Then again, if you recheck your attachments, this would never get sent.
  9. No employment history. For a variety of reasons, none that recruiters are too clear about, some people send a resume devoid of any positions listed on it. Even if you have never had a paying job, you should always list relevant experiences. Volunteer work, school projects, positions held in clubs, or assisting at a family business are all positions that can be listed along with accomplishments and skills used.
  10. Printed backgrounds/colored paper. Under no circumstances are hearts, bears or neon green paper a safe attention getter. Good old-fashioned white paper, especially the premium stuff, is a sure way to receive the positive attention that your well-written resume deserves.