How NOT to land a job: 4 elements of a terrible CV


Being creative on your resume is good. It gives you an undisputed advantage over other candidates running the same race. But what you need to know is that there’s a thin line between being creative and totally ridiculous – especially when your ideas are going to be presented in front of a group of strangers whose job is to judge you.

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Let’s face it, no resume is perfect. There are always some flaws that you can easily find even in the resumes of the most talented and experienced people. Silly mistakes like typos, missing digits and grammatical errors are often overlooked. But what cannot be overlooked or forgotten are lies and whacky details. Remember the hassles Joey went through for lying about his Tap Dancing and French skills on this resume? Sometimes, the biggest lessons are learnt from most unexpected things and events.

The job market today is all about cut-throat competition, and job seekers have realised this the hard way. As a desperate measure to land their dream job, or any decent job for that matter, many try to introduce unconventional methods on their resumes to stand out, to be different and to be noticed. The only problem is that sometimes this small effort backfires, leaving even the employers surprised. Here are some of the most ridiculous things people have put in their resumes.

Informal font

You want your resume to stand out, but not in a bad way. It’s not only about what you put on your resume but also how you present it. You may think it’s creative to use six different fonts and colours on one piece of paper, but the fact is this makes your portfolio look unorganised and hard to read. Big fonts are often considered to be rude in written communication, and using too many colours is simply the deal breaker. Find the perfect font and stick to not more than two colours. Often blue and black tend to win the deal. An employer on Reddit shared that the most nonsensical font he saw on a resume was ‘Comic Sans’. That’s enough of a hint!

Dishonest references

Some may consider references to be a good thing on the resume. But be realistic about them. An employer once shared an experience during a seminar where one of his candidates’ resumes said, “None of my references really like me, so don’t listen to them.” Well, that’s a little too honest. Writing for another employer wrote about an applicant with some very impressive references: “A candidate listed three references: Bill Gates, Ronald Reagan and the Lord God Jesus Christ.’ He didn’t provide any phone numbers though.”

No one is asking you to give references of the people who don’t like you. Give references of friends, family and any colleague who can validate your candidature. It is as simple as that! About Bill Gates and Jesus, I don’t even know what to say about that!

Irrelevant hobbies

This is a tricky section. While many experts suggest avoiding this section totally if it’s not directly concerned with the job you are applying for, others have mentioned weird things under it such as ‘smoking’ – hardly the best way to make a good impression! It is crucial to list your skills on your resume; it is, after all, a document marketing yourself. Still, keep it relevant. An interviewer on Reddit shared a comment from an applicant’s resume: “I bake great cakes and will share with you if you give me this job.” The position available was for mortgage banking. Skip this section altogether if you cannot find anything to relevant to mention.

Unmistakable spelling errors

Proofreading your resume is a thumb rule you should follow. It can help avoid a lot of mistakes. Employers have shared experiences where an applicant’s name was auto corrected to a cartoon character’s name or an incident where an applicant stated that his best trait was his attention to details, the only problem being that he misspelled “attention” as “atenttion”. Spelling and grammar are very important on your resume.

Your resume is your first face forward to the employer, so take time to make sure it looks great and puts forth an accurate and powerful representation of your qualifications.


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