10 Ways Your Resume Irks Hiring Managers

CareerBuilder.com writer

Fashion designer Coco Chanel had a personal rule: Before she left the house, the style icon always removed one piece of her ensemble to avoid the faux-pas of wearing too many accessories. Were Chanel alive today and working as a hiring manager, she would likely offer similar advice to job seekers: You don't have to include everything.

Job seekers do themselves a disservice when they send out resumes with more information than they need. Most employers don't have the time or patience to sift through the irrelevant details. Here are 10 things your resume could do without:

1. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. "If you are careless enough to send out this most important document with a mistake ... I immediately assume you'll never care enough about the work you send out representing my company," says Jose Bandujo, president of New York-based Bandujo Advertising. He recalls one candidate who misspelled Manhattan, despite having worked in the city for a decade and another whose great educational background didn't compensate for the fact that he couldn't spell "education."

2. Opening objectives. "These are generic ... They do nothing to differentiate one candidate from another," says Donna Flagg, president of The Krysalis Group, a human resource and management consulting firm in New York.

3. Personal attributes. Listing personal information such as height, weight and age and providing photographs is a pet peeve for Heather Mayfield, vice president of training and operations for Snelling Staffing Services. "It is amazing that we still see this on the resumes of today, but they are out there."

4. Interests and hobbies. If these points of information don't pertain to the job in question, there's no need to include them. "Create a mystery and save these kinds of data points when you start the job," advises Roy Blitzer, author of 'Hire Me, Inc.: Resumes and Cover Letters that Get Results.'

5. Details of every task you've ever performed in every job you've ever had. "It's too much information. Managers and recruiters need to know at-a-glance what makes a candidate special," Flagg says. Focus on those details that pertain to the job for which you're applying.

6. Excessive bragging. Stating one's accomplishments can be helpful, but when it's overdone, the candidate can come across as narcissistic, a huge turnoff for employers, Flagg says.

7. Outdated information. Leave off the activities that you did in high school if graduation was a few years ago and omit jobs you held 10 or more years ago, as the information is probably irrelevant to the position you're trying for now

8. False information. "Putting that you have a B.S. on a resume when you do not have one is BS,'" jokes Stephen Viscusi, author of 'On the Job: How to Make it in the Real World of Work." Not only is lying on a resume unfair and dishonest, it's also not very intelligent. "Companies verify dates of employment -- often after you start. If you have lied, they fire you...Nobody wants to hire a liar. Nobody."

9. Unexplained gaps in work history. While job seekers should account for these gaps, they should be careful with their wording. "One of the weirdest things that I ever saw on a resume ... was a candidate who explained a 10-year lapse in work experience as being in jail during those years for killing her husband," recalls Linda Goodspeed, marketing recruiting manager at VistaPrint. In such a situation, she says, the best thing to write would be "left work for personal reasons," and the candidate would be able to explain the criminal record later.

10. A lack of professionalism. Colored paper, cutesy fonts, links to personal web sites and childish e-mail addresses all scream unprofessional and are a turn off to hiring managers. One otherwise qualified applicant didn't get an interview at Bandujo's firm solely because of the name in her email address: "weird2themax." "I recognize the advertising industry is full of talented, interesting 'characters'," Bandujo says, "but did I really want one who thought she was weird to the max?" No, he decided, he did not.

Copyright 2007 CareerBuilder.com.

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I agree on #4 you do not need to list all the information about you... save something for the interview and make your resume short and precise.


February 17 2013 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought you should include on your resume only experience that pertains to the position you are applying for.

December 04 2009 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are many inconsistencies in this article and the responses. The article says to only show last 10 years of jobs, but then says gaps are bad. Which one is it? I work my last job for almost 12 years. Should I not show any previous jobs? I have been in the work force for over 30 years. Every job I have had has had more responsibility. But now after 16 years of management, all I'm being offered is school kitchen work. I can do anything in an office and have, but because of my age, I'm now "unemployable". It's sad when experience, work ethics, attitude and good references are immaterial. If I'm being interviewed by a man, I know I won't get the job because he's going to hire the cute young thing in a short skirt. Who cares if she can do the job effectively, she'll be a warm body who is nice to look at. (Sorry for the cynicism. I've been out of work for over a year.)

October 25 2009 at 9:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

when you have gaps in your work history, you can always use the 'self employed' tact.
if you were locked up somewhere or home raising your family (not much difference between the two sometimes) then you can list a business you tried to start and run from home.
just list it and then if they want to talk to you about it, you can say that it was something you always wanted to try and did so, but found you missed working in a 'dynamic atmosphere' doing whatever it is they do at the business you are trying to get hired at.
get a friend to back you up, use this friend as a reference. it works.

October 25 2009 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wish they fix this page so we could read it. They need
to do it right. Don't know who to sent it to. For them to see how mess up it is. This is no help to who read it sann't see it all to read.

October 25 2009 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

HR people usually dont have a clue what it take to do a certain job. they just select a few resumes from the 100 or so that they receive. What I dont like is, I have sent out a lot of my resumes to positions, and not even a call back, or the position has been filled. I have a good resume with none of the (irks) that hiring managers dont like to see. Some positions it seems like they wrote the job description to fit my resume, and not even a call. I have a good job history with good companies and have always excelled in every job I have had. When I was laid off months ago because of the slow economy, My Company manager offered to write for me a letter of recommendation for the job I had done and all the positive improvements I had made, and still week after week I see the same jobs posted. I cant help but think they are overlooking a lot of good people because of the incompetence of these companies HR people.

October 25 2009 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Thomas's comment

I agree, I went to one interview and all the lady could do. or shall I say girl, all the girl could do is eat her bag of chips and wipe her hands on her pants as she talked to me, how unprofessional can you get, and I was there for a managers position. No wonder some companies are not doing so well.

October 25 2009 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I work in HR and its impossible to acknowlege every resume you get. If I call you in for an interview (or two) I will contact you by letter or on the phone to tell you the position is closed. And I don't "hire", I facilitate the hiring process. I post the ads (that are written by the manager of the department for that position), I do the initial screening and resume viewing. The resumes that pass the are submitted to the managers. They make the selections on who to bring in to interview, who makes it to the second round of interviews (and sometimes a third interview depending on the position) and who gets hired.
If you're just out of college, depending on what field you're in, grades can be very important but internships look much better. If you've been out of school for more than 5 years, don't waste the space on your resume by putting your GPA on there.
If you've been out of the work force for a while, be prepared to explain it and how you kept up on your skills so that you are a knowledgeable worker and a positive addition to your department/team. You chose to remove yourself from the work force for a variety of reasons (kids, illness, traveling, incarceration, etc). Be prepared to have to answer for it. You don't want to be excluded or have your break counted against you, keep your skills up to date, stay active in your field in some capacity (if you can) and realize that you will have to explain your absence. Simply telling me that you stayed home with the kids or you were sick isn't going to cut it.
Beware of listing hobbies. They could help or hinder depending on what they are or what company you're interviewing with. Telling me that you like to go bungee jumping tells me that you like excitement and taking risk. Not a good thing if I need someone that is conservative and laid back for a mid-level position.

But as an HR person let me tell what I don't like about the hiring process:
1-people submitting resumes for jobs they aren't qualified for on any level
2-"blind" resumes
3-an obvious lack of preparedness for the interview (not researching the company or the position, dressing inappropriately, arriving late,etc)
4-a sense of entitlement because of their previous work history or who they know in the company
5-"begging" for a job simply because they need one instead of taking the process seriously and can show that they have skills that are valuable in the short and long term for the company. This is a "buyers market" and employers can afford to be choosy and they will be.
6-Be careful of the jokes you tell and the comments you make. You don't know who's listening or if anyone will be offended. I had a guy that interviewed that asked if the department was mostly American because he didn't want to work with "those people". The manager of the department that he was interviewing for was one of "those people". Obliviously he didn't get the job
7-Don't bad mouth the company just because you didn't get a call/letter/email of acknowledgment or weren't offered the position. You never know who's listening or who that person knows.

There are unprofessional, aloof disinterested recruiters and HR people in any company and any field. But there are also applicants that are jerks. Just make sure you're not one of them.

October 25 2009 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have written resume after resume to perfect it but if they don't know about the person they are hiring they might as well hire a terrorist. Another thing the high school and college grades let them know how much of an achiever the person is more or less. The hobbies and interest are another prime example as to why they want to be hired and can contribute to the business or profession. I think it's not fair to say that unexplained gaps is considered a pet-peeve. I think they should get over it! There are plenty of reasons as to why the person couldn't work but then again they don't want it on the resume cuz it's too much info. What irks me is to know that these people once were looking for a job as well and I'm sure their superiors gave them slack about giving them a job. Here is a question if they dont want all these stuff in the resume then what do you want exactly? And is there such a thing as a perfect resume?

October 25 2009 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to disagree about Las Vegas discriminating against those over 40. '40 plus' is a desirable attribute in most establishments ....... Oh, you meant AGE?? Sorry.

October 25 2009 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apparently not many want to hire someone who has been a stay at home mom. I can't get over the attitudes that they have. My question is: So, why did you call me in for an interview then?
I do know that certain states do discrimminate. In Florida,
they tend to hire those over age 40 ~ at least that's been my experience and what I have seen in the workplace when I lived there. In fact, I am trying to get back to Florida and leave Las Vegas, NV. Las Vegas has got to be the most negative place for those over age 40.
I wish I'd never come here.

October 25 2009 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I got one better than these. Tell them you are a single dad and it is the all time kiss of death. Men are expected to either not have kids or have their mom taking care of them. I have been in the third teir of the interview process when I let it out and I was outside 5 minutes later. I am raising three boys on my own, no weekends or summer breaks and I can tell you this does not gain you any respect with other men.

October 25 2009 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SCRose32's comment
Sharon Speas

Kudos to you! I worked in the nuclear power field for over 10 years - 16, 18 and even 20 hours/day. I lived w/ my brother and his fiancee (a C.N.A.) for months while learning to walk and recuperating from a near fatal vehicle accident. I tried to "repay them" for nursing me back to health by keeping their kids for a week or more a few times over the summer. Honestly, working 18 hours a day is easier than raising children. When the 18 hour job is over, it is over for the day - you can go home and go to sleep; but raising children is a 24 hour non-stop job. Blessings on you, bro! Sharon Speas

December 13 2009 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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