Even before you meet an employer in person, your resume is likely the very first impression they’ll have of you – so don’t blow it with unnecessary red flags. We’ve all heard that spelling mistakes, typos and misused words in resumes can sink your chances of being hired. Well, a new study of Canadian employers confirms it. 56% of senior managers said just one or two resume typos would remove an applicant from consideration.

For this survey, Accoutemps asked over 300 senior managers in Canada, “How many typos in a resume does it take for you to decide not to consider a job candidate for a position with your company?” One quarter of them (25%) said even a single error would get your resume tossed.

When employers are looking through numerous resumes trying to pick the best few to interview, why would they select someone who hasn’t taken care enough to submit an error-free application? It speaks to a candidate’s motivation, attention to detail, or capabilities. You look like you either can’t produce work without mistakes – or you’re simply not motivated enough to bother producing it.

The following real-life resume blunders collected by Robert Half, parent company of Accountemps, serve as examples of what not to do when applying for a job. These are actual excerpts from job application materials:

  • “My last employer fried me for no reason.”
  • “I am graduating this Maybe.”
  • “I am looking for my big brake.”
  • “Referees available upon request.”
  • “My talent will be very a parent when you see me work.”
  • “Objective: To secure a challenging position and accell in the accounting industry.”
  • “My three biggest hobbies are cars, racquetball, golf, and reading.”
  • “Work experience: academic tudor.”
  • “Earned a diploma from a very repudiated college.”
  • “Looking for a bass salary of $40,000.”

Other problems we’ve seen with resumes is that that they can give potential employers the impression that you may be a pain in the butt to work with. Here’s a couple of examples of how.

    One recruiter recently told me: “I was recently reading a resume for an editorial position that included this line in the objective statement: Must be for a company that highly values diversity and sustainability. I actually do value both of those things. However a candidate making such demands in the first line of their resume will stop me from bothering to read the rest of it. Show me why I would want to hire you in the first place before you start making demands about my values.”

    Another candidate closed his resume with the line, “Given my obvious qualifications, if I am not selected for this position, I expect to be informed of why.”

    Really? You expect that, do you? I wouldn’t wait by the phone. Even if everything else about your resume was absolutely brilliant, that sentence at the end would kill your chances right there. (Because you sound like a jerk.)

Forbes has a list of the top 12 most “outlandish” resume mistakes of 2013. Listed by employers, these include the following:

  • Resume consisted of one sentence: ‘Hire me, I’m awesome.’
  • Resume’s ‘Skills’ section was spelled ‘Skelze.’
  • Resume listed the candidate’s online video gaming experience leading warrior ‘clans,’
  • suggesting that this passed for leadership experience.
  • Resume included time spent in jail for assaulting a former boss.
  • Then there’s the person who submitted the whole thing in Klingon, and another who created a music video resume.

“Job seekers should draw a clear line between professional writing for the job application process and the text message or social media shorthand of today’s communication methods,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian district president of Accountemps. “Attention to detail is as important as ever when it comes to crafting, proofreading and submitting resumes to prospective employers, regardless of the method by which they are being submitted.”

Source: ‘I am graduating this Maybe

See also:
Seven resume grammar mistakes that make you look dumb
The biggest mistake on a resume (and how to create a masterpiece)
How to write a resume that gets read by more employers


Peter Harris
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