Embarrassing Resume Mistakes
Applying for a job is a very serious thing to do. You can be fresh out of college wanting to make the best impression that you possibly can or you can be someone who has built up a reputation over the years—you’re never going to want to look bad to a company. Yet, it still happens. Somehow, you still end up making the worst possible mistakes that are more embarrassing than you could imagine. The worst part is that you may not have even known that you wrote yourself out of getting hired!
Our professional resume writers at Employment BOOST see embarrassing resume mistakes all the time. While they are often funny, they are resume mistakes that can happen to anyone and can definitely keep a candidate from getting called for an interview. Because of that, we want to make sure you don’t end up in that situation, so we’ve compiled some of the most embarrassing resume mistakes that a person can make. While these mistakes may not apply to you, we would encourage you to revise and edit your resume so that you are always displaying the best portrayal of your professional brand.
Embarrassing Resume Mistakes to Avoid
- There’s absolutely no way to reach you
The Problem: You wrote all the right things. You have all of the best statistics of your career on your resume and companies are just going to be brimming with excitement to hire you. Your certifications, licenses, and publications all make you look like the number one candidate who is going to take the company to the next level. You’ve sent it out to all of the companies that you’ve wanted to work for and you’re just waiting for them to call and beg you to come work for them. It’s going to be tough to top how you feel at that moment.
So while you’re waiting, you decide to check on the status of all of your applications. The employers have received your resume and are currently “reviewing your application.” Why is that? Your resume has it all—it even a strong executive summary to sum it all up. What’s there to review? All they need to do is call you up! The number’s right there on the resume—wait, for some reason, you can’t find it. In fact, your email and home address aren’t on there, either. You frantically search for it, but it’s not there. How could you be so foolish?
Professional Resume Writer’s Tip: This is crucial, yet so simple: you need to include your contact information. While you think that submitting multiple resumes is going to cover yourself, companies will notice that you did so (or maybe they’ll only allow one submission). While everyone makes mistakes, you should know that your resume needs to convey that you have a sense of professionalism and attention-to-detail. You may think that a company will overlook this, but these kinds of little mistakes can ruin your application or candidacy.
This being said, you also need to make sure that your contact information is actually correct. Our professional resume writing tip: review the contact information at the top, along with the rest of your resume, right before you submit it.
- You put that fun e-mail address on there
Remember what we said about being professional? It goes beyond just remembering to write the correct information, but you also need to have information that supports your professional brand. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve come across well-qualified and professional candidates who have terrible e-mail addresses. We’re talking about the kind of e-mail addresses that would seem more appropriate for a young middle-schooler. Similar to leaving off contact information, an inappropriate e-mail address is the type of thing that HR screeners will take notice to as well.
So, let’s imagine that an HR screener decides to look past the immaturity of your e-mail address and decides to give you a call, anyway. You both have a good conversation and the position sounds interesting. At the end of the call, the HR screener wants to schedule an on-site interview next week. So then, he or she asks, “I’d like to send you a confirmation e-mail for our interview appointment, would firstname.lastname@example.org be the best e-mail to send that to?” Do you really want to answer that question? We don’t want you to, either.
Here are some of the e-mails that we’ve come across that simply don’t belong on a resume. Don’t worry, we’ve slightly edited them to protect the not-so-innocent:
You get the idea.
Professional Resume Writer’s Tip: Our best tip would be that you register to any of the countless free e-mail websites out there and create an e-mail that has the clearest combination of your name. The good news is that a lot of these services are free (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL all have email accounts). Any one of them should suffice.
If your name is John Smith, for example, try to get an e-mail like john.Smith@freemail.com. You might have to get creative and throw in a number or two in there, but just a plain e-mail is what’s going to serve you best here. One particular thing that we’d like to point out is that university e-mails are appropriate for recent graduates and people early in their careers, but they can be awkward if you’re someone with 10 years of experience out of college and have a good career history.
- You got too personal
It’s not just the weird e-mails that can make us cringe. It’s the weird details that people choose to, but shouldn’t include, on their resume. While honesty is always the best policy, the resume is not the best place to share all of your quirks, habits, and sheer weirdness.
Some of our favorite hobbies that we’ve seen listed on resumes are the following:
- Cats (not the musical, but just cats in general)
- Going to the grocery store
- Acupuncture and hot oil massage
In all seriousness, even if you think that you’re completely normal and that your pastime activities are something that would get you hired, it’s just something that shouldn’t be on your resume. We’ve seen hobbies of all sorts, ranging from fishing to sewing to clubbing and dancing. However, these are the kinds of things that you need to reserve for your personal life, not your professional life and certainly not your resume.
Professional Resume Writer’s Tip: You need to think like a hiring manager. Is the company that you applied to really going to give you an edge over other candidates because you wrote down “Netflix watching” on your resume? Everyone appreciates hobbies and personal passions, but that’s not what a company is going to hire you for.
We recommend that you save that for when you actually get hired and are getting to know your coworkers. Maybe you can mention some of your free time activities if they ask about it in the interview.
Thank you for taking the time to read Employment BOOST’s Embarrassing Resume Mistakes. While we are confident in our expertise as experienced executive resume writers and have knowledge from exceptionally qualified career consultants and a global executive search firm, we understand that these resume mistakes may not apply to everyone and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. We do encourage you to share this article with your colleagues and friends, they will thank you one day!