CareerBuilder Releases Study of Common and Not-So-Common Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job
PR Newswire

TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Making a good first impression in a job search starts with a memorable resume. Unfortunately for some, "memorable" doesn't always translate to "hirable."  In a recent study, discovered some of the most bizarre missteps job seekers have made with their resumes. The nationwide study was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from May 14 to June 5, 2013, among 475 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 471 workers across industries. 

Most Outrageous Resume Mistakes
When asked to share the most memorable and unusual applications they've been sent, hiring managers gave the following real-life examples:

  • Four page resume detailing every position and volunteer job they had ever had since they were twelve
  • Etched into a wooden cutting board
  • Resume delivered in a balloon
  • Written in crayon
  • Each line had one bold word that formed a "hidden" message about how great the applicant would be for the position
  • Resume came in the form of a candy-gram
  • Many small teddy bears and daisies adorned the edges of the pink paper
  • Online by an employee we had fired
  • Scrawled in pencil on butcher's paper
  • Singing telegram
  • Candidate revealed that he spent time in jail for assaulting a prior boss
  • Listed "Have flown on a corporate jet" as a notable achievement
  • Listed "Worked with my dad building things. Worked with my mum cleaning the house," as past experience

Common Problems
When asked to identify the most common resume mistakes that may lead them to automatically dismiss a candidate, employers pointed to the following:

  • Resumes that have typos - 54 per cent
  • Resumes that don't include a list of skills - 43 per cent
  • Resumes that are generic and don't seem personalized for the position - 35 per cent
  • Resumes that have inappropriate email address - 35 per cent
  • Resumes that copied a large amount of wording from the job posting - 31 per cent
  • Resumes that don't include exact dates of employment - 29 per cent
  • Resumes printed on decorative paper - 25 per cent
  • Resumes that have large blocks of text with little white space - 22 per cent
  • Resumes that are more than two pages long - 19 per cent
  • Resumes submitted without cover letters – 17 per cent
  • Resumes that include a photo - 16 per cent

"Your resume is the primary deciding factor for whether you will land a job interview," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "It's important to project a professional image.  Keep it succinct, personalize it to feature only skills and experience relevant to the position you're applying for, and always include specific, quantifiable results that showcase the value you can bring to an organization."

Candidates can also run into issues related to how they submit their applications. More than one quarter (26 per cent) of employers only accept digital resumes, leaving hard copies sent via the mail unopened. 

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within Canada by Harris Interactive© on behalf of among 475 Canadian hiring managers and human resource professionals and 471 Canadian wokers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between May 14 and June 5, 2013 (per centages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 475 and 471one could say with a 95 per cent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 4.5 and +/-4.52 per centage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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