Given that human resources managers say they spend less than a minute, on average, on each job application they see, it’s understandable that some people might go overboard in trying to bring some individuality to their work history. But would you list your unique ability to do the moonwalk in the “special skills” section of your resume?
That’s actually not the wackiest resume mistake CareerBuilder uncovered in a survey of 2,600 employers nationwide, who were asked to recall the most unusual resumes they’d ever seen. It seems safe to assume none of these people were hired, but since CareerBuilder didn’t specifically ask, I guess there’s an outside shot that one of these tactics actually worked. (Although probably not the one about being arrested for assaulting a former boss.) Here are the 15 oddest:
- Candidate said the more he was paid, the harder he worked
- Candidate said he had been fired from past positions, but still included those managers as references
- Candidate said getting an interview was important because he wanted an opportunity to show off his new tie
- Candidate listed her dog as a reference
- Candidate listed-yes, the moonwalk-as a special skill
- A husband and wife team looking to job share submitted a poem they had co-written
- Candidate listed ‘versatile toes’ as a selling point
- Candidate wrote that he would be “a good asset to the company” but somehow omitted the last two letters in “asset.”
- Candidate’s email address contained the phrase “shakinmybootie”
- Candidate mentioned that he had survived a bite from a deadly aquatic animal
- Candidate used first name only
- Candidate asked, “Would you pass up the opportunity to hire someone like this? I think not.”
- Candidate insisted that he be paid for the time he spent interviewing with the company
- Candidate shipped a lemon with resume, stating, “I am not a lemon.”
- Candidate included on his resume the fact that he had been arrested for assaulting his previous boss.
Can’t you be even a little imaginative in putting together your resume? No, says CareerBuilder’s vice president of human resources, Rosemary Haefner. “Creativity and personal touches may seem tempting to some job seekers, but many times, it’s a disqualifying distraction.”
Instead, Haefner suggests job seekers stick with the basics:
- Stay relevant. Customize your resume to each individual position, highlighting the experience that makes you best-suited to that particular post.
- Stay readable. If there’s no white space on your resume, reformat it to make it easier on the eyes. A wall of unbroken gray text is off-putting–especially if it’s the fiftieth resume someone’s seen that day.
- Write a compelling professional summary. Ditch the ‘Objective’ line in favor of a two-sentence description of your relevant experience. This is the ‘hook’ that can convince a recruiter, HR pro, or hiring manager to spend a little more time on your application.
- Proofread. It’s too easy for hiring managers to disqualify you based on a typo-if you don’t care about making sure your resume is perfect, what does that say about your level of conscientiousness? Proofread it yourself, and before sending it out, ask a few friends to proofread your resume for you.