Anyone who has to review resumes has a story or two to share about the kinds of missteps and lapses in judgment that are, on the one hand, pretty danged hilarious, and on the other hand, heartbreakingly sad because the person whose resume it is has no idea where they went wrong. They just know they're not getting called for interviews. Oh, but just some basic CV tips and help with their resume writing could have saved these folks.
My friend Lise manages a big medical services center, and over the years she has shared some of the funniest resume bloopers she's seen from job applicants:
Lots of people include inappropriate information, like one I saw this week who had put "Married father of five" on his resume, right next to his date of birth. I have nothing against mature married parents, but I can't select a candidate who doesn't know what's appropriate in business. Some personal information can be helpful, but the wrong kind in the wrong way will backfire. CareerBuilder compiled a list of 12 Odd Resume Inclusions that has some truly what-were-they-thinking bloopers.
Typos can create missteps that change everything. One recruiter posted at The HR Recruiting Alert about getting a resume that seemed to leave an all-important letter "f" out of the word "shift" which makes a big difference if your job title was Shift Supervisor. Oops.
I got some real belly laughs from Empire College's list, which included these gems:
And a cover note that I love because I've had people say this, in one way or another, more times than I can count:
Email addresses are a choice that can really sabotage a job search.
I continue to get resumes from senior executives who use an email address like "JohnandMarySmith@email.com" which only makes me think that John and Mary don't know that it's free so they can each get their very own email account. Don't make it silly either. I had a candidate whose email was "email@example.com," and not only did it sound immature, but I often missed emails because I didn't recognize who that was. Have an email account especially for business purposes that is your name or something that refers to your profession. With friends, anything might go, but there's just never a good reason to use "firstname.lastname@example.org" or, as one recruiter reported, "email@example.com" in business.
So what should you do for your email address? Brazen Careerist has a great article by Christy LaVanway with a list of Do's and Don'ts. She says do keep it professional and consider how you might be able to hint at your skills with your email address, which I think is a very effective tool. "ITManagerJaneHowell@email.com" is a strong position. Another way is to buy your own domain, and use it to promote yourself. For instance, she could also use "JaneHowell@ITManager.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org." All great ideas.
My addition to Christy LaVanway's list is: Don't ever use your work account on your resume. It seems like it should be obvious, but using your employer's resources to find a new job is tacky at best, and they have access to know anything you send or receive through their system.
Don't risk having your resume be a joke. This tops all other CV tips: Have at least two other sets of eyes read your resume slowly and carefully (here are some simple proofing tips) to catch any faux pas before you send it. Can you imagine the horror applying to the management job you've always wanted and later realizing that your resume said you "managed sex units" instead of "managed six units"?! Get help with your resume writing now!