Job seekers want to stand out from the crowd, and often turn to attention-seeking stunts and an embellished resume to accomplish that goal. But is the payoff worth the risk? It’s not likely. Three out of four human resource managers (75 percent) report having caught a lie on a resume, and only 12 percent are more likely to consider calling a candidate that does something unusual or outrageous in for an interview, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.
As part of the survey, human resource and hiring managers shared their most notable and cringe-worthy real-life examples of resume gaffes. Here are 10 of the most embarrassing blunders, which should serve as real-life examples of what not to do!
- An applicant claimed to have written computer code the hiring manager had actually written. Both had the same previous job, but the applicant did not know that fact.
- Applicant included a picture with all of his pets.
- Applicant said he worked for Microsoft but had no idea who Bill Gates was.
- Applicant’s resume was lifted from the Internet, did not match the cover letter.
- Applicant said he studied under Nietzsche.
- Applicant stated that he had tried and failed a certification exam three times, but was planning to try again.
- Applicant claimed to be an anti-terrorist spy for the CIA at the same time period he was in elementary school.
- Applicant falsely claimed to have a PMI credential when applying for a job at PMI (the organization that grants that credential).
- Applicant included a description about his family.
- Applicant mentioned that his hobby is to watch horror movies.
You definitely don’t want to do any of the above if you have any hope of landing an interview. But you do need to do something to stand out from the crowd. Here are the top five things human resource managers say make them more likely to pay attention to an application:
- Resume has been customized to their open position
- A cover letter is included with the resume
- Skill sets are listed first on the resume
- Application is addressed to the specific hiring manager
- Resume includes a link to a candidate’s blog, portfolio, or website
The key is to stand out for the right reasons: Keep in mind that 39 percent of human resource managers spend less than a minute initially looking at a resume, and early 1 in 5 (19 percent) spend less than 30 seconds.
“If crafted well, your resume is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “In a matter of seconds, it can make or break your chances of moving along the hiring journey with a company. That’s why it’s important to be proactive with your resume and avoid embellishments or mistakes. Take advantage of the tools available to you — the worst thing you can do is send a generic copy out to employers and then sit and hope for a response.”