Resume Errors That Can Doom Job Candidates

September 24, 2013 ( – Errors on a resume, both large and small, can remove a person from consideration as a job candidate, according to a recent survey.

CareerBuilder found that some of the more memorable resume errors recounted by employers include:

  • Submitted from a person the company just fired;
  • “Skills” section was spelled “Skelze”;
  • Listed candidate’s objective as “To work for someone who is not an alcoholic with three DUIs like my current employer”;
  • Language more typically seen in text messages (e.g., no capitalization and use of shortcuts like “u”);
  • Consisted of the one sentence, “Hire me, I’m awesome”;
  • Listed the candidate’s online video gaming experience leading warrior “clans,” suggesting this passed for leadership experience;
  • Included pictures of the candidate from baby to adulthood;
  • Being written in Klingon language from Star Trek;
  • Presented as a music video;
  • Missing the candidate’s name;
  • On the job application, where it asks for your job title with a previous employer, the applicant wrote “Mr.”; and
  • Mention of time spent in jail for assaulting a former boss.
Although more than half of employers said they only want to see work experience that is relevant to the job at hand (53%) and primarily within the last 10 years (57%), 41% workers ages 45 and older said they include their first job on their resume.

More common errors that may lead hiring managers to remove a candidate from consideration include:

  • Have typos (58%);
  • Are generic and don’t seem personalized for the position (36%);
  • Don’t include a list of skills (35%);
  • Copied a large amount of wording from the job posting (32%);
  • Have an inappropriate e-mail address (31%);
  • Don’t include exact dates of employment (27%);
  • Are printed on decorative paper (22%); or
  • Include a photo (13%).

The survey found employers have different expectations for resume length based on tenure in the workforce. For new college graduates, 66% of employers said a resume should be only one page long. For seasoned workers, the majority of employers (77%) said a resume should be at least two pages. However, 39% of workers ages 45 and older reported their resume is only one page long.

Job candidates can also run into issues related to how they submit their applications. More than one-quarter (26%) of employers only accept digital resumes, leaving hard copies sent via the mail unopened.

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive, on behalf of CareerBuilder, among 2,076 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 2,999 workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, nongovernment) between May 14 and June 5, 2013.