Let me set the stage a little…

As a recruiter, I look at resumes nearly all day. I have done so for years and have seen every style. Occasionally, I come across a resume that really makes me scratch my head. Why did this person do this to himself/herself (and to me because I had to read it!).

As the team and I were discussing some of the more comical ones that had come in, we thought that we should let others share in the fun, and perhaps give others a peak behind the curtain on what goes on in a recruiter’s head when they see these common mistakes.


1. Using an unprofessional email address

Sorry, rapgoat420@trendyemail.com, but that is not going to impress me enough to respond to you. We all have a personal email, and sometimes they are silly or give a little insight into your personality, but this is your resume. Your resume is your first, and sometimes only, impression to a company, so keep it professional.  I have not met a recruiter that is less interested in a candidate because they have an email like Joesmoe14@trendyemail.com. Email accounts are free, and while you can keep your personal email, it should stay that way – personal.  Create a free professional email account, and you are set!


2. Forgetting to check spelling and grammar

Listing “attention to detail” on your resume is equivalent to saying that you had a good day when a stranger asks. Paying close attention to your tasks on the job is expected, and indicating that you are able to do this doesn’t mean much. If you must have “attention to detail” on your resume, be sure that you spell everything correctly. Recruiters do take that stuff into account when considering you for a position because they see the gravity of the document. If you are willing to put your resume out to the world when it is not perfect, they assume that you would be willing to do the same thing with your quality of work.


3. Listing hobbies

It’s always fun seeing what a jobseeker enjoys doing in his or her free time. Maybe we have things in common, and perhaps I will finally find a buddy to soap carve with! Wait… No, I won’t because this is a resume, and I am looking for someone to be a part of the team, not someone to hang out with on a Saturday night. It’s great that you are into competitive dog grooming and binge watch the newest Netflix original, but that does not help me understand if you are the right fit for a position. It is important to understand the reason you are sending your resume in, which is to present yourself as a qualified candidate for the role you are interested in.


4. Missing contact information

This is one of my favorites because it tests my ability to be an online sleuth. You read the resume and are interested in that individual, but you have no idea how to get in contact with them.

Last Name: Confidential

Phone number: Confidential

Email: Confidential

I understand that many candidates are concerned about their information getting out or becoming known by the endless number of telemarketers, but if you send your resume to a potential employer, it is a good idea to ensure your contact information is listed. Your email at the very least.


5. 4th wall breaks

You are not Deadpool, so sarcasm and wit on your resume does not come across as professional. I have seen so many of these as of late and have found it to be distracting. I recall seeing a resume that bullet-pointed the following: “Results driven – specializing in making my supervisor look good (*wink wink)”.  Needless to say, I did not contact that candidate. I can understand that it might help if your resume is presented to the right company to the right hiring manager, but realistically, that is highly unlikely. Being funny is great, but you need to be able to gauge the room, and that is near impossible when sending a resume. Your resume might end up going to a recruiter or hiring manager that is a stick in the mud like me, so it is not worth the risk.


What it comes down to is this…

Some people may have forgotten what the purpose of a resume is. It is not to make friends or extend your social network. It is a summary of your experience, abilities, skills, as well as accomplishments. In this day and age, there is less separation between personal and professional, but in the case of your resume, there needs to be a clear separation to avoid your resume being looked over and tossed away.




About the Author…

Austin Ackerman is a Staffing Specialist at 4M HR Logistics. He has more than a decade of marketing and recruiting experience in the industrial and technical industries, working with clients in such disciplines as military, construction, engineering, manufacturing, logistics, and technology. He currently specializes in recruitment, marketing, and employer branding. Follow Austin on LinkedIn!


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