Being on the hunt for a job isn’t fun but, being on the hunt for the perfect applicant isn’t either! Here’s a little secret – you have what recruiters and hiring managers want. Each resume that comes in recruiters are hoping and praying it’s you that their looking for (because quite frankly, we don’t get paid unless we make the hire). I was a recruiter at a Fortune 500 staffing firm for a few years, and I am now heading up the recruiting department at a global promotions company. As someone who looks at over 200 resumes a day, here are some things to absolutely never do on your job application or resume.

1. Writing Sentences Like This. This Is Not How You Write Sentences Unless It Is A Title. This is an example of a normal sentence. This Is Not. See the difference? Do Not Do This. Please.

2. Not using spell check. Microsoft Word can’t make it any easier. See those squiggly red lines under your words? Right click those and correct the spelling.

resume fail

3. Not writing a cover letter. The above example is an actual cover letter that was submitted to me. And, the fact they only wrote “Motivation is the key” is ironic since they clearly have none to properly apply to the posting. So, either write one or don’t and take the risk that the hiring manager may pass over your resume. Please don’t submit anything like the example above.

resume fail

4. Including picture on your resume. This isn’t Facebook – your resume doesn’t need a “profile picture.” LinkedIn address is OK.

5. Not using a professional email. If you still have your middle-school address, get a new one. Recruiters judge your email address, make it sound professional.

6. Showcasing your hobbies. That’s great you won a hot dog eating contest your junior year of college, but don’t put it on your resume. You can love the theater, pottery, sports, reading, and animals but keep that information to yourself. Let that part of your personality come out in the interview, not on your resume.

7. Putting down obscure skills. If you put down, “Enthusiastically detail oriented team player,” recruiters are rolling their eyes and tossing your resume aside. Keep it simple. Don’t use big words when small ones will do.

resume fail

8. Using attention getting tactics. Rainbow coloring your resume will surely get you noticed, but not in a good way. That’s a great way to get your resume passed around the human resource department for a good laugh.

Remember: Your resume is your first impression so make it a good one! Once you submit your resume, you officially enter the hiring process. You may think your first impression is going to be in the initial phone screen or interview when actually, this is the first look at who you are. Make it count.


Hi, I’m Linnea [lin-nee-uh]. A 20-something writer, blogger, social media and marketing addict! I pretend my life is a musical sometimes. #HelloDolly!

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