Avoid these resume mistakes
Employers share some of the most common - and most memorable - resume gaps they've seen.
Your resume is your chance to make a great first impression with a potential employer – so naturally there are myriad ways to mess it up.
One of the most common mistakes is assuming you need to fill every single requirement on the job listing to be considered for the job, when in fact 42 percent of employers say they would consider a candidate who met only three out of five key qualifications, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.
Still, many job seekers attempt to beef up their resume to compensate for not meeting all of the requirements – sometimes even resorting to lying about their qualifications. Sticking to the truth may seem like common sense to some, but lying on a resume is actually fairly common.
Then again, so is getting caught.
According to the survey, more than half of employers (56 percent) have caught a lie on a resume. Some of the most common include:
- Embellished skill sets: 62 percent
- Embellished responsibilities: 54 percent
- Dates of employment: 39 percent
- Job titles: 31 percent
- Academic degrees: 28 percent
Of course, some mistakes go way beyond your run-of-the-mill resume embellishments. Some of the most memorable blunders employers recall catching on applicants' resumes include:
- Applicant claimed to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying.
- Applicant claimed to be fluent in two languages - one of which was pig Latin.
- Applicant wrote "whorehouse" instead of "warehouse" when listing work history.
- Applicant's personal website linked to a porn site.
- Applicant introduced himself [in the cover letter] by saying "Hey you."
- Applicant vying for a customer service position gave "didn't like dealing with angry customers" as the reason for leaving her last job.
- User name of applicant's email address was "2poopy4mypants."
- Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner.
- Applicant claimed to have worked in a jail when they were really in there serving time.
- Applicant who claimed to be HVAC certified later asked the hiring manager what "HVAC" meant.
- Applicant said to have gotten fired "on accident."
- Applicant claimed to have attended a college that didn't exist.
- Applicant for a driver position claimed to have 10 years of experience but had only had a driver's license for four years.
- Applicant listed as a reference an employer from whom they had embezzled money and had an arrest warrant out for the applicant.
- Applicant's stated job history had him in three different companies and three different cities simultaneously.
The opposite of mistakes
Knowing what to avoid is one thing, but to really improve your chances of getting hired, you need to keep in mind what employers are actually looking for. When asked what attributes would cause them to pay more attention to certain resumes, employers named the following:
- A resume that is customized for their open position: 61 percent
- A resume that is accompanied by a cover letter: 49 percent
- A resume that is addressed to the hiring manager or recruiter by name: 26 percen
- A resume that includes links to the applicant's online portfolio, blog or website: 21 percent
Embellishing and exaggerating isn't the way to impress a potential employer. Your best bet is to make an impression through honesty and genuine enthusiasm for the open position.