Unemployment is the worst but what’s even more worse is finding out that the reason you’re still employed is your piss-poor resume. What’s even more embarrassing is how easy it is to fix these mistakes, and some of us just keep making them over and over again with no correction. GAH!
Employers of Reddit were asked: “What extremely unattractive thing is commonly included in people’s CVs?” These are some of the best answers.
Stupid fonts. I once got a 4-page cv in Chiller font. Not a great angle if you want to work at a school. In case you aren’t familiar, chiller is the serial killer font.
Recruiter here. You would be shocked by how many selfies people have on their resumes. It’s disturbing.
Stupid explanations for resume gaps. I have no issue at all that you were a stay-at-home parent for a few years. But don’t put down “Domestic Engineer.” If you took some time off to travel, or care for a sick relative, put that.
I own a retail establishment, so we’re talking applications rather than real CVs, but, damn it filling out that application in a complete and tidy fashion is your first (very simple) test. I almost don’t care what’s on it. Can you reliably fill out an application in a respectable manner? If not, pass. It’s not difficult at all, yet half my applications are an embarrassing mess.
Attempts at humour – big no no for me. I won’t think “This applicant has personality!”, I’ll think “This person’s a clown who didn’t know this wasn’t appropriate.”
Anything political. I’ve seen a CV with “assisted and lead anti-abortion protests” under volunteer work!
“Skills”. People often list a bunch of keywords/skills they know. Don’t add things like “business strategy”, “product optimization”, “leadership strategy”. It doesn’t tell my anything about your skills.
A massive CURRICULUM VITAE at the top of the document. Dude we know its a CV, just put your name at the top.
It’s pretty polarized, but I can’t stand the objective statement. It’s a waste of space that could be better utilized especially with a 1-page resume limit. You’re not applying to write newspaper headlines.
Any for-profit online school. It’s likely going to count against you. I once had someone with an “MBA” from an online university apply for a job then argue with me when we declined to interview her. Her only other experience was as a waitress.
Hobbies. Banal hobbies. “Yoga, wine, and Netflix” in a resume. For real.
The phrase “available on request” is a waste, but you shouldn’t list full references on your resume. Ever. It’s a waste of space.
It’s somewhat disrespectful of the privacy of your references (think about your resume getting passed around, or indexed on Monster.com, or whatever and the contact info for your references becoming publicly available.)
I’m in the US: their picture. Seriously, if you are not seeking employment in the entertainment industry. Don’t send your picture.
Vague job descriptions in which people just write the title of the job they were doing like a welder and not putting down what type of welding, was it out on site or in a workshop, was it in heavy or light engineering or were there any other duties other than welding that you had to do as well.
Grammatical errors. Spell check is BUILT IN, use it. Also, look for things spell check won’t catch. Stocker and stalker are two VERY different things…
I once saw “avid amateur gynecologist” on a resume.
The men in my office all wanted to bring him in for an interview just see what he was like. The women all considered him a creep. No interview.
In the end, we passed on him.
Microsoft office proficiency. If you don’t have that in this day and age, you shouldn’t be looking for a job.
Those graphs that show arbitrary skill amounts for software. They are stupid and often useless and tell us nothing. What exactly does 3/4 bars full on Microsoft Word actually MEAN?
Straight in the garbage.
So, true story, I used to do hiring for a company in the United States, and we would put out an opening and receive a stack of CVs. My two requirements for an interview were:
(1) CV has the proper tone/professionalism
(2) Capitalization and spelling are correct
Out of a stack of 50+ CVs, I would typically do less than five interviews. Not kidding.
Don’t have footprints on your application. It might be a retail job, but damn, figure out how to not stand on your paperwork, it’s not hard.
Religious beliefs. If I care, I will ask. I have yet to ask anybody, but I have been told by plenty.
I was always put off by a person’s description of themselves as ‘a hard worker’.
I agree it’s an important trait in the industry (catering and hospitality) to ‘work hard’ – as it would be in most professions – but I would rather someone ‘work smart’ than ‘work hard’. In fact, somebody who describes themselves as ‘a hard worker’ probably alludes to the fact that they’re trying to do too much/can’t handle their workload and don’t have the attention required to do a good job.
It’s also the first thing 90% of candidates will say when asked about their ‘strengths and weaknesses’.
Weight and height. For real. This is for a call centre. Not a call for models.
I get annoyed with anything longer than one page. Maybe two tops.
If you have had fifty jobs, I don’t need to know everything from each. Title, company, and time in role is fine if it was a decade ago.
Any references to self in the 3rd person. This is one I’ve started seeing in the last few years. “On this project, John was instrumental blah blah”. Don’t write about yourself in third person. Please.
High school exam results once you have passed your early twenties.
Don’t name your resume “resume.doc”. 90% of the other applicants are also submitting a file with the same name. If your file is firstname-lastname-resume.doc you’ll make my life easier and I will like you more.
People who include any title like “President” or “CEO” of their own start up, when they are applying for an entry level or lower management job. Founder tells me you did your own thing. CEO tells me you think you’re too good for the job.
I used to work in a HR Consulting firm. Editing CVs was a core part of my job.
So many people listing EVERY job they ever had in detail. Prioritize jobs with tasks and duties related to the one you are applying for. If there are big gaps between these jobs where you worked in another career area, you can put these in, but they do not have to be detailed descriptions. They can even go in a separate section later in the CV.
Use the room you save to more thoroughly outline the relevant jobs. Also list your most recent job first… do it in reverse chronology.
A personal email address that includes anything cutesy, funny or sexual. If you really were born in 1969, try using your first name dot last name.
I once had a guy misspell “attention to detail.” But more generally it’s mostly poor formatting, random unsolicited facts about their lives (we don’t care if you ran a 5k four years ago), or someone who is clearly just firing out resumes to whoever will take them.
Some of this material has been edited for clarity.