Resume Mistakes That Keep Hiring Managers Amused But Cost You the Interview

resume mistakesThink resume typos are no big deal? Last year, Accountemps, a temporary staffing firm, interviewed 150 senior executives from some of the nation's largest companies. Forty percent of the respondents said that just one typo on a resume would cause the candidate to be eliminated. Thirty-six percent said it would take just two mistakes before the resume was put in the "no" pile. Here are some of my favorite resume bloopers I found via Job Mob, Resume Hell, and Zimbio. Obviously spell-check isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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  • Objective: Seeking a party-time position with room for advancement

  • Professional headline: 1 year old marketing executive

  • Achievement: Planned new corporate facility at $3M over budget.

  • Explanation of employment gap: career break in 1999 to renovate my horse

  • References: Referees available upon request

  • Skills: I am a rabid typist

  • Strengths: Impersonal skills

  • Hobbies: Enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians

  • Education: College: August 1880 to May 1984

  • Cover letter: I would like to assure you that I am a hardly working person.

And just how much information on a resume is too much?

  • Objective: To have my skills and ethics challenged on a regular basis

  • Personal Information: Married, eight children, prefer frequent travel

  • Language Skills: Exposure to German for two years-but many words are inappropriate for business

  • Reason for leaving last job: the owner gave new meaning to the word paranoia

  • Achievements: Nominated for prom queen

  • Education: Finished eighth in a class of ten

  • Interests: Gossiping

  • Awards: National record for eating 45 eggs in two minutes

  • References: Bill, Tom, Eric - but I don't know their phone numbers

  • Salary: The higher the better

  • Cover letter: Please disregard the attached resume; it's totally outdated

I've blogged about resume typos before, but here are a few more suggestions for avoiding them.

  • Print out a copy of the resume to proofread. It is easier to catch mistakes on the printed page than on the computer screen.

  • Set the resume aside for a few hours and come back to it later. This may help you spot new typos.

  • Ask three people to read the resume. Among the three of them, one is bound to catch an error.

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As for other resume bloopers -- err on the side of caution and use common sense. A resume isn't a data dump of everything you have ever done or a window into your soul. It is a succinct marketing tool that should put your best foot forward. Your resume may very well be the single most important document you ever write. Pay attention to every detail and be memorable for the right reasons.

Next: 43 Things Actually Said in Job Interviews >>

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To find typos (not grammar mistakes—just misspelled words) read backward—no not standing backward! Start from the last word and read to the first. Misspelled words will POP off the page.

July 28 2010 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A former coworker of mine was doing the weekly package to our office in Germany, and she sent an e-mail to everyone in the department that read "the box to Germany is on the table. If you would like to poop anything in it, go ahead". Another friend of mine bought candy and left it on her desk for everyone to enjoy. One of her managers told her she should put it on her expense report since everybody ate the candy. So she did, and a few days later the director comes downstairs and wants to know what on earth is going on in our office. Seems that she meant to put the reason as "office morale", but she put "office morals". Gotta love the typos that make you laugh. As long as you didn't make the typos!

July 28 2010 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Ritchey

I do believe that an error free resume is important, however to error is human....I think if they wanted someone who was perfect they need to contact Heaven and ask for Jesus Christ! Having been a business owner, hiring and training people, I looked more at the individual and their work ethics, not whether or not they were perfect...

July 28 2010 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One of the resumes I received had professional asst. but she forgot the 't' so she was a professional ass.

I couldn't stop laughing.

July 28 2010 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Typos are misspellings and typographical errors. These examples are context errors, the result of unclear thinking and weak communication skills. Anyone submitting a resume or application with these types of vague and juvenile phrases would naturally be eliminated. By the way, I was 14, turning 15 for my first real job when it was assumed that I was 16. Aside from content on a resume or application, presenting oneself in a mature and professional manner is of great importance.

July 28 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Okay, so the person probably meant "house" and not "horse." But as a horse owner myself, I have known people to order their careers around the care and use of their animals, including rehabilitating (renovating?) a horse recovery from an injury. Seems to me such folks have their priorities in order.

July 28 2010 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joyce, that's how I feel, but I need to account for that time in my employment history.

July 28 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, I will be graduating with my BS in Legal Studies in January. I have two questions about my resume.
1) I have made both the Dean's list and the President's list during my course at school, should I put both, only one, or neither on my resume?
2) I have not working experience in my field, how should i set up my resume? I do have office experience, but it is in accounting, not law.

July 28 2010 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I reviewed resumes for grad student applications to a journalism school in the early 1990s. My fave was the guy who had experience in "public relations"--except he left the L out of "public." A case of TMI.

July 28 2010 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chanell Gautreaux

OMG, these are hilarious! The sad thing is many people don't even care about their typos. They feel things like this are not that important and should just be overlooked.

July 28 2010 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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