40 Dumbest Resume Mistakes

Despite the plethora of articles, guides and books available on how to craft the perfect resume, job seekers keep making the same mistakes over and over again. As a result, their resumes – the single most important marketing tool they have in their employ during their job search – often become their career obituaries.

While few articles offer exactly the same advice, most – if not all – will agree that there are just some things that you simply can’t do. And you don’t have to take every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s word for it – you can go right to the experts, the same people who will review your resume and decide whether you look good enough on paper to be called in for an interview.

Hiring managers might be willing to overlook a mistake or two, especially if it’s something small, but the more serious and dumber the mistakes are, the less likely your chances of getting called for an interview.

Here are the 40 dumbest resume mistakes that make hiring managers and employers cringe as told by the experts themselves.

See Also: 5 Subtle Resume Mistakes You Should Avoid


Man crossing fingers behind his back


Lying on your resume is far more common than many of us might believe: in fact, the Society of Human Resource Managers found that 53% of resumes contain falsifications. And with the job market being a very competitive place (as we all know it is), it’s generally assumed that many job seekers will lie on their resume if it meant they would have a better chance of landing their dream job – which is exactly what 70% of college students said they would do. But when little white lies like exaggerating employment dates by a few months turn into pretending to be Mother Teresa when you’re, in fact, an escaped convict, there’s a very slim chance you’ll be able to get away with it. And these job seekers can attest to that.

1. Applicant claimed to be an Olympic medalist
2. Applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience at the age of 32
3. Applicant claimed to have worked 20 years as the babysitter of known celebrities like Madonna and Tom Cruise
4. Applicant claimed to be the CEO of the company they were applying to
5. Applicant claimed to attend a college that didn’t even exist
6. Applicant’s job history stated he worked at three different companies in three different cities at the same time
7. Applicant claimed Windows 7 was their idea
8. Applicant claimed to have a worked in a jail when, in fact, he had served time there
9. Applicant claimed to be the assistant to the prime minister of a foreign country that doesn’t have a prime minister
10. Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize laureate

Not Proofreading

Man reading with magnifying glass


Many people might think that resume writing guides that keep reminding job seekers to proofread their resumes are simply exaggerating and fear-mongering, but what they fail to understand is that just one typo on their resume is enough to get it thrown in the bin. And 40% of senior executives agree. These applicants, however, clearly didn’t get the memo.

11. “Hope to hear from you, shorty” [shortly]
12. “I’m attacking my resume for you to review” [attaching]
13. Applicant wrote “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse”
14. “Speak English and Spinach” [Spanish]
15. “I am anxious to use my exiting skills” [editing]
16. “Dear Sir or Madman” [Madam]
17. “I’m a rabid typist” [rapid]
18. “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store” [running]
19. “Have a keen eye for derail” [detail]
20. “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations” [annual]

Being Painfully Honest

Witness swearing in in court


If there’s only one thing that all hiring managers agree on, it’s that you should always be 100% honest on your resume. Honesty is the best policy, after all, and if you get caught lying, then you’ll no doubt have your application swiftly kicked out of the running. However, there is such a thing as being too honest, and it’s safe to say that these candidates didn’t get the job due to their being painfully honest.

21. Applicant stated that he worked well in the nude
22. Applicant stated weekends were “drinking time” and would, therefore, be unable to work then
23. Applicant for a customer service job stated that the reason she left her previous job was because she “didn’t like dealing with angry customers”
24. Applicant’s objective was “to make dough”
25. Applicant listed “Cougars” as one of his interests
26. Applicant simply put “Mexicans” as his reason for leaving his last job
27. Applicant told employers his references didn’t really like him and asked them not to “believe what they say”
28. Applicant admitted to his lack of punctuality by stating that “any company that insists upon rigid time schedules will find me a nightmare”
29. Applicant listed self-employment as previous employment, followed by the subtitle: “A fiasco”
30. Applicant’s objective was to make money because he had bills to pay and to “have a menu entrée consisting of more than soup”


Shocked woman


Some resume mistakes go way beyond your run-of-the-mill embellishments and into “WTF did I just read?” territory.

Sure, it is easy enough to overlook typos or exaggerated skill sets and responsibilities, but mistakes like these? Not so much.

31. Applicant’s e-mail address was “2poopy4mypants”
32. Applicant’s personal website linked to a porn site
33. Applicant explained an arrest record by stating, “We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig”
34. Applicant listed a former employer as a reference from whom they had embezzled money
35. Applicant designed resume with teddy bears printed around the border
36. Applicant revealed her sister once won a strawberry-eating competition
37. Applicant stated her resume was set up to be sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch”
38. Applicant revealed he was Homecoming Prom Prince in 1984
39. Applicant bribed hiring manager with a car
40. Applicant attached a photo of herself in cheerleading uniform

See Also: Never Make These 5 Grammar Mistakes on Your Resume

Can you think of any other dumb resume mistakes? What’s the dumbest mistake you ever made on your resume? Tell us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with anyone you know who’s likely to make the career-crushing mistakes we’ve listed here!



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