Human Resources



10 most cringe-worthy resume mistakes

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Making a great first impression is important, especially when it comes to applying for a new job. Given that 39% of hiring managers spend less than a minute looking at a resume and 23% spend less than 30 seconds – as stated in a new CareerBuilder survey – the pressure to make their applications count is on potential candidates.

Conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by The Harris Poll including more than 1,100 hiring managers and HR professionals across various industries, employers say that some job seekers are getting their attention, but it’s often for the wrong reasons. Among HR managers, who determine which applicants get in front of the actual hiring managers, 75% have caught a lie on a resume.

“The problem with lying on your resume is that the odds of getting caught are high,” said Michael Erwin, senior career advisor for CareerBuilder. It is human nature, he said, to exaggerate a little and suggest that one has more skills or experience than they actually do. “However, the short term gains you might make in landing the job through deception can have long term consequences that may do serious damage to your career,” Erwin added.

In the survey,  HR managers shared their most notable and cringe-worthy real-life examples of blunders found on actual resumes. Here are 10 of the best, or rather worst mistakes:


A 22-year-old applicant claimed three different degrees.


An applicant listed 40 different jobs in one year.


An applicant thought they attached a resume to an email but instead sent their full credit application for an apartment.


An applicant applied for a job for which they were vastly unqualified (e.g. grocery store shelf-stocker applying for a physician position).


An applicant referred to having “as many marriages as jobs.”


An applicant listed out their extensive arrest history.


An applicant’s resume had a different font type for every sentence.


An applicant stated at the bottom of their resume that they do not like babies or puppies.


An applicant’s resume was only one sentence.


An applicant had the same employment dates for every job listed.

ALSO READ: The 10 most outrageous resume lies

Apart from outrageous mistakes, HR managers also listed seven of the most common mistakes job seekers make that are instant deal breakers:

  1. Typos or bad grammar
  2. Unprofessional email address
  3. Resume without quantifiable results
  4. Resume with long paragraphs of text
  5. Resume is generic, not customised to company
  6. Resume is more than two pages
  7. No cover letter with resume

ALSO READ: Are these the worst resumes you have ever seen?

Photo / 123RF


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