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Career Objective: Fail
June 2, 2008 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Lists of resume blunders. “I am a wedge with a sponge taped to it. My purpose is to wedge myself into someone’s door to absorb as much as possible.”
posted by KevinSkomsvold (77 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
“Consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.”

“Skills: Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team Player, Self Motivated, Attention to Detail”

Objective: “To become Overlord of the Galaxy!”
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:10 AM on June 2, 2008


Hobbies: “getting drunk everynight down by the water, playing my guitar and smoking pot”

Why Interested in Position: “to keep my parole officer from putting back me in jail”

posted by jason's_planet at 11:13 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing.</i?

Awesome!

posted by dobbs at 11:16 AM on June 2, 2008


Oops. Heh.
posted by dobbs at 11:16 AM on June 2, 2008


By far the best thing about that list is that it wasn't broken across 173 different pages.
posted by dersins at 11:17 AM on June 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Some of these seem willfully stupid but then again, who knows...

I can't count the number of times I've done my own resume, spell-checked, double spell-checked, etc., only to have someone look at it and immediately point out a Freudian slip or misspelling of some sort. Argh!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:22 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with listing "Mushroom hunting" as an interest?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I once received a resume with a head and shoulders picture in the top left of the first page. The picture was of a lion’s head, wearing a coat, shirt, and tie.

And you didn't hire him!?
posted by ND¢ at 11:25 AM on June 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: great with the pubic
posted by drezdn at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Objective: Obtain a position at IBM"
—some idiot applying to Amazon.com
posted by weston at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2008


An oldie: The World's Worst Resume.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement

Aren't we all?
posted by drezdn at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2008


What's wrong with listing "Mushroom hunting" as an interest?

The poor little things are already defenseless, shooting them with a rifle is just mean.
posted by splice at 11:33 AM on June 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


Career Objective: Fail, or Unemployment Objective: Win? These are also some excellent ways to ensure that you can continue to collect your weekly unemployment check while meeting the requirement that you actively seek and apply for work.
posted by mumkin at 11:33 AM on June 2, 2008


Not as funny as some of the items on the link but I'm always amazed when I get in resumes that list completely irrelevant, innocuous data about the employee that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on their qualifications. An example that immediately springs to mind is one that included "Other: Enjoys spy and war novels", on a resume for a sales position we had open. Seriously, what is the rationale? As if I'm going to be on the fence about the guy's qualifications, only to come across that bit of info and immediately think, "Well, obviously we've got to make an offer now"
posted by The Gooch at 11:40 AM on June 2, 2008


What's wrong with listing "Mushroom hunting" as an interest?

Will you work on spec? When can you start?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:45 AM on June 2, 2008


Candidate explained a gap in employment by saying it was because he was getting over the death of his cat for three months.

Holy shit, I think I know that guy! I swear to God, I'm not kidding, I used to scream at him to stop using his cat as an excuse for not being employed!
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 AM on June 2, 2008


Man, a lot of Mushroom Hunters are serious fucking cats, y'all. They don't fuck around. They're secretive and dedicated and detail-oriented. I would hire a Mushroom Hunter in a fucking heartbeat. The best part would be asking them interview questions about whether they mostly hunt the regular white ones or the pre-sliced ones, and watching them silently try not to flip out.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:49 AM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


# “1990 - 1997: Stewardess - Royal Air Force”

Why is this funny? Presumably the RAF has flight attendants for VIP flights.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:50 AM on June 2, 2008


An example that immediately springs to mind is one that included "Other: Enjoys spy and war novels", on a resume for a sales position we had open. Seriously, what is the rationale?

It indicates to potential employers that the candidate is not a one-dimensional work-robot.

This is the part of the resume I struggle with the most.
posted by mullacc at 11:50 AM on June 2, 2008


About 10 or 11 years ago, I was temping in the HR Department of a local bank.

Someone once wrote that they thought they would be an ideal addition to our museum.

The worst, though, had all of the following:

-Resume and cover letter folded into a small card-sized envelope
-cover letter handwritten on lined notebook paper that wasn't ripped cleanly out of the notebook and had a HUGE grease spot in the middle of it
- individual wrote "if your interested in hiring me...."
- at the bottom of the resume was typed "References upon reque" [sic]

This person did not get the job.
posted by Lucinda at 11:52 AM on June 2, 2008


A woman had attached a picture of herself in a mini mouse costume

I think you'll find it was in fact a full-sized mouse costume; it just seems miniature because the photo is so small. Also: Don't criticize others' bad proofreading when you can barely do your own.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on June 2, 2008 [10 favorites]


I once received a resume that had the applicant's profession listed as "Gentleman Adventurer."

You better believe I called that guy in for an interview.

Turns out he wasn't a gentleman at all! And his adventure was just backpacking through Europe. Boo. I can take some exaggeration on a resume, but you better not conjure up mental images of monocle wearing men slashing their way through the darkest jungles in search of forgotten treasures and MySQL databases when all you really did is hitchhike to the hostel in Amsterdam.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:55 AM on June 2, 2008 [41 favorites]


“1990 - 1997: Stewardess - Royal Air Force”

I don't get this one. I can easily imagine the RAF has a few passenger planes, they have flight attendants to take care of the VIPs, and that this is a completely appropriate entry.

Candidate included naked picture of himself.

“I am great with the pubic.”
A candidate listed her e-mail address as pornstardelight@*****.com


We need to know what the job was in these cases.

Candidate’s hobbies included sitting on the levee at night watching alligators.


And I don't know why any irrelevant hobbies are there, but if someone's about this who cares.

A lot of these are really making the HR types look much worse than the people writing in:

Work experience: “Two years as a blackjack and baccarat dealer. Strong emphasis on customer relations - a constant challenge considering how much money people lose and how angry they can get.”


“My duties included cleaning the restrooms and seating the customers.”

posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:55 AM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


“My duties included cleaning the restrooms and seating the customers.”

I don't think they're making fun of the menial labor but the idea that someone both cleans the toilets AND seats the customers. Because, guess where it sounds like you're seating them.
posted by dobbs at 11:58 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I tried getting a job as a photojournalist for local television stations, I would send out the same cover letter with a few changes to each place. There was at least one time (probably more) where I forgot to change all instances of the old call letters (long before I learned of control f in word).
posted by drezdn at 12:02 PM on June 2, 2008


I once received a resume that had the applicant's profession listed as "Gentleman Adventurer."

A friend's father was one of the guys on this epic expedition and perhaps the one person I've met worthy of being called a Gentleman Adventurer. I think part of that worth is that he certainly didn't introduce himself to me as such.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:03 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Achievements: “Nominated for prom queen”

I recently saw a resume that was very similar to this. The candidate was only a few years out of college and didn't have a lot of work experience, yet it actually went to two pages just so that he could list all the awards he won, or was nominated for, or was runner-up for, mostly for his fraternity or tennis club. This included Homecoming King Runner Up.

Oh, and he had a glossy, 2-color, 2-page folded brochure version of his resume too.
posted by misskaz at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


As I work in the writing department of a fairly well-known agency, the cover letters we get are often... awe inspiring.

My favorite: "I eat stress for breakfast and pull from the toilet poetry of the gods." No, we went with the other writer who's side interests include fire dancing.

I have "Curse of Monkey Island" on my resume under "technical skills." I appreciate when people show their personal interests a bit. Then again, we work in a creative field, so being a character is a prerequisite.
posted by Gucky at 12:09 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


My favorite was a resume I got a few years back applying for a position at our library. The candidate did have all the necessary skills and degrees and seemed quite qualified but the topper was that she added in her resume that she "works well with cats" and that the gap in her employment history was to "create and support the addition of two readers to the world community."

I felt compelled to interview her as soon as possible. If only for the reason that cataloging librarians are notoriously humorless and I was dying to get someone in the department that would at least giggle politely at my bad jokes.

Sadly, she was not as entertaining in person as she was on paper.
posted by teleri025 at 12:23 PM on June 2, 2008


I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer.

Are you available for retraining? We have an opening in the sanitation department as a sewer.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:26 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have "Curse of Monkey Island" on my resume under "technical skills."

That's funny. You look like a cow.
posted by shmegegge at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not as funny as some of the items on the link but I'm always amazed when I get in resumes that list completely irrelevant, innocuous data about the employee that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on their qualifications. An example that immediately springs to mind is one that included "Other: Enjoys spy and war novels", on a resume for a sales position we had open. Seriously, what is the rationale? As if I'm going to be on the fence about the guy's qualifications, only to come across that bit of info and immediately think, "Well, obviously we've got to make an offer now"

Because a lot of resume advice says you should include things like that. Don't mistake me, I agree with you, having come from a tradition of making resumes as concise as possible, with only relevant information. But only a few years I was at a careers seminar for academics where this advice was given. I questioned the point and the teacher reaffirmed it.

"Yeah, his work on comparative analysis in macroevolution was uninteresting, and his findings on cospeciation dubious. But he plays D&D!"
posted by outlier at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why should an employer hire you? “I bring doughnuts on Friday.”

I would hire this guy in a second.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:35 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Exactly --it's a gamble on creating a sympathetic bond with your screener. Hopefully not something that scares others away though. "Spy novels" might not be so good for, say, administrative assistant at the Pentagon.
posted by msalt at 12:43 PM on June 2, 2008


This one made me laugh:
“Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.”
funny on so many levels!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2008


when I used to have a demo reel, I cut it to the music from the gameboy version of tetris (the one that came with all the 1st gen gameboys). I made all of the graphics have the booger green background with much darker green text and it was all pixelated. I even had my name scroll up the booger green screen at the beginning just like the word "nintendo" used to, and then it would ding when it hit the middle.

I always got the same two responses, depending on who I showed it to:

1) This is the greatest reel I've ever seen! When can we get you in for an interview!

2) You've gotta be fucking kidding me. No. Nonono. Why would you make your reel like this? No.

Nobody ever criticized the reel based on the samples of my work it was supposed to highlight. It was always just the gameboy graphics and the tetris song.
posted by shmegegge at 12:59 PM on June 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


You know, when you're collecting unemployment insurance, you're required to apply for several jobs a week. You aren't required to actually want to get the job though. I imagine several of these are enjoying UI, hope they don't get called in for an interview, and are just having fun or helping hedge their bet against actually having to get a job.
posted by pwb503 at 1:00 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I once found this old chestnut under their references:
"I can recommend this applicant with no qualifications whatsoever."
posted by hal9k at 1:04 PM on June 2, 2008


To clarify: Though I think the concept is really cheesy, I've always understood the "Outside Interests" section of a resume to be where you give a subtle indication of how your hobbies correlate to why you would be good at the job. So for a sales resume, for example, putting down something like, "Participate in a competitive basketball league" might be appropriate (to indicate personality traits that would make one ideal for a sales position like competitiveness, drive, etc).
posted by The Gooch at 1:04 PM on June 2, 2008


The best one I ever got was for a job where we had asked for writing samples. On lined notebook paper, the applicant had written "Dear So & So, Here is my writing sample. I don't know why you would ask for this but this is what my writing looks like. Thank you very much." Granted, she did have a very nice clear cursive hand.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:13 PM on June 2, 2008 [9 favorites]


It's possible some of these are tailored to prolonging unemployment, but I can't help thinking that some people seriously have no filter. You just wouldn't put something like “I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing” out there unless you were damaged enough to actually mean it.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:15 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


About a third of the people asking me for a job misspell my name in the cover letter, thereby instantly disqualifying themselves.
posted by sour cream at 1:25 PM on June 2, 2008


What this list shows is that most HR people have no creativity or sense of humor, and resent those who do. It also shows that they have severe class biases. Depending on the type of job you're applying for, what's wrong with listing the types of cleaning work you've done?
posted by spacewaitress at 1:40 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]




Why should an employer hire you? “I bring doughnuts on Friday.”

I would hire this guy in a second.

I would hire this guy on Thursday.
posted by tommasz at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2008 [18 favorites]


Huh. This reminds me of the list I made a couple weeks ago while updating my resume.

I'd Googled something along the lines of "design resume.indd," hoping to find a few tasteful, minimalist-yet-informed designs to serve as inspiration. I did find about a dozen resumes that were close; sadly, the other hundred or so I viewed over the course of about three hours exhibited terrible flaws of all kinds.

After about the first 10 minutes, I realized this was something that should be catalogued, and began to tally the errors I found. These range from the most basic ("Don't use all italics") to the quasi-sophisticated ("Don't put drop-shadows on every text element"), with some repeated across dozens of resumes, while others were (thankfully) seen in only a slim minority.

The results are as follows: 100 Resume Mistakes

Hiring managers, I now understand your pain...
posted by limeonaire at 1:50 PM on June 2, 2008 [11 favorites]


I read a story a few years back where a graphic artist, fresh out of school, was asked to submit a resume to a design company. He mailed his resume which consisted of a ripped piece of a brown paper shopping bag and the words "Me want job" scrawled in red crayon. I guess he figured his sense of humor would win them over. A week later he got a response. They sent back the "resume" and scrawled in crayon on the reverse side "You not qualified."
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


years ago i was at a company where we often had international students as interns and i made a web page called INTERN-NATIONAL with headshots and quotes from resumes/cover letters because i thought it was funny that europeans included headshots and sometimes said funny stuff because they weren't native english speakers. i just found it and it's not nearly as funny as i remembered it. it also got me thinking that maybe it's kind of lame to make such a page to make fun of would-be interns.
posted by snofoam at 2:06 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I once had a resume which stated that the candidate "specialized in obsessive/compulsive and dysfunctional counseling." I pictured him using a stick with the clients, prodding them while he continually asked "So, are you going to change? So, are you going to change?"

Granted, I knew what the applicant was getting at. But when it's the upmteenth resume you've reviewed that morning, the images created by some sections of a resume become quite funny.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


About a third of the people asking me for a job misspell my name in the cover letter, thereby instantly disqualifying themselves.

Sour creme?
posted by dirigibleman at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2008


I once sent out a cover letter that said, "I'm very interesting in this position."

Unsurprisingly, I didn't get any interviews. Maybe I should've thrown in a nude photo.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Candidate included a letter from his mother.

I've had someone in an interview who, unsolicited, brought a letter from the state proving that he didn't have any felonies or open warrants.

Apparently he has a name similar to a known criminal and got tired of explaining that he was someone else.

I offered him the job. Sadly he didn't accept.
posted by quin at 2:38 PM on June 2, 2008


Reason for leaving: “I thought the world was coming to an end.”

And the problem with this?
posted by meech at 3:29 PM on June 2, 2008


Man, a lot of Mushroom Hunters are serious fucking cats, y'all. They don't fuck around. They're secretive and dedicated and detail-oriented. I would hire a Mushroom Hunter in a fucking heartbeat. The best part would be asking them interview questions about whether they mostly hunt the regular white ones or the pre-sliced ones, and watching them silently try not to flip out.

Hey, at least they can identify a portobello.
posted by ersatz at 3:29 PM on June 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


Resume failure is a competitive field. Typos and minor mistakes just don't cut it IMO. There's too much sheer obliviousness out there.

Achievements: “Nominated for prom queen”

When I was temping at a clothing company headquarters, I used to sort resumes for sales, accounting, and copywriting positions. One guy had listed his "Awards" as 1. Blue ribbon - MEChA salsa festival, and 2. First place - Elvis Impersonation Karaoke contest.
posted by granted at 3:39 PM on June 2, 2008


I was confused by the RAF one as well, and went hunting for the original entry. They were just amused by the mental image. So, no, not really funny.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:48 PM on June 2, 2008


I worked in HR for ~5 years, and have seen tens of thousands of resumes. The number of "superfreaky69queen@aol"and "69bootyluva420@aol" -esque addresses was truly hilarious. And this was for super-tech positions at a really high-end tech company, spots that were for people who should be smart enough to know that respectable yahoo/hotmail/gmail/whatever addresses can be had for a very low price. Like free.
posted by nevercalm at 3:58 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I once came across a positions vacant ad for Subway while I was doing the working holiday day thing around London. I already had a job, but for a bit of fun made up the most appalling cover letter I could imagine.

I swore, detailed my hatred for minorities and left-handers, proudly discussed my poor hygiene and penchant for innappropriate nudity, admitted that I only wanted the job to steal food and as a front for my illegal porn and wildlife smuggling business, and admitted that I'd probably try to sleep with every customer.

I got offered the job.
posted by twirlypen at 4:28 PM on June 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


“My duties included cleaning the restrooms and seating the customers.”

Hehehe. He said "duties". Heheh. Heh.
posted by edverb at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2008


Resume: “I have a lifetime’s worth of technical expertise (I wasn’t born - my mother simply chose ‘eject child’ from the special menu.”

I love that one, frankly.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:07 PM on June 2, 2008


I thought listing experience in dog years was genius! How can that be a 'blunder'?
posted by pompomtom at 6:35 PM on June 2, 2008




My favorite resume:

"Prior experience: orientation manager at refugee camp.
Reason for leaving previous employer: escaped to Thailand."

We hired the guy.
posted by SPrintF at 7:23 PM on June 2, 2008 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I've got to agree that some of these are not blunders (or attempts to remain unemployed): they're very effective ways of screening out jobs that the seeker wouldn't want to work at.
posted by hattifattener at 7:48 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


“My duties included cleaning the restrooms and seating the customers.”

Hehehe. He said "duties". Heheh. Heh.


So that's where this place got its employees.
posted by artifarce at 8:13 PM on June 2, 2008


I got a great one a few weeks ago that read (this is a direct copy and paste, by the way):

certified food service manager .PIVES GOOD DOG,from 4/06 to present

It also listed his birthday and how many years he had been married, but no other job history. A hearty, direct "PIVES GOOD DOG" is my new catchphrase, if you're unfortunate enough to know me in real life.

But I think my all time favorite is an email I received regarding a job posting that read (again, verbatim, with no attached resume or cover letter):

Please consider me for the position.

It was extraordinarily difficult not to simply reply, "no."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:11 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Emergency number to call: "911"
posted by sluglicker at 10:32 PM on June 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Under “job related skills” - for a web designer - “can function without additional oxygen at 24,000 feet”.

I've known some web designers who were cool people, and often quite funny. Strangely, I have met very few HR people able to function at all at any altitude.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:37 AM on June 3, 2008


Some of these are funny mistakes - I'm especially fond of the people who claim to pay attention to details who miss clear mistakes. Some I don't understand why they are funny - someone who could be a casino dealer and deal with customers well would be an asset in many customer service jobs.

But some just make me think that the person is mentally ill - like one linked under "The World's worst resume". I started reading that, but just felt so sad that his life had broken down so quickly as he became ill.

Sorry, I realise it may seem like I'm raining on the joke. But I think there are mistakes, and then there are just sad stories. Like the man whose objective is to buy presents for his young wife, and to order an entree in a restaurant that was not soup. He just wants to be not poor - how can anyone fault him for that? (I hope he did find a job, and he could buy presents for his wife, and take her out to a restaurant.)
posted by jb at 3:05 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank you! It`s really funny:)
posted by Seoptimist at 3:39 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some of these are funny. Others make me glad that I work in a field in which I am expected to submit a CV rather than a resume. [Only list what matters, knowing that it will be examined by people who understand why it matters.]

Sometimes I start wondering if HR professionals are the ones that didn't have a good enough sense of humor to become accountants. Other times I figure that just working in HR is enough to beat the humor out of you. I expect even the most vibrant person might be completely done with the jokey comments by about the second or third hour of wading through resumes.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:28 AM on June 3, 2008


One of my good friends in college had worked her ass off and was graduating with honors and a fantastic GPA. She'd likewise busted her butt putting together fantastic grad school application packets to some top programs. She'd gotten just about everyone on campus to review and edit her materials until she really thought they were perfect. She sent the first one off to Cal Tech and was getting ready to wrap up the second to MIT when she realized that she was holding the cover letter for Cal Tech, so, wait, that meant that the "Why I want to go to MIT" cover letter was on it's way to California to the Cal Tech admissions committee.

She ended up at MIT.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:56 AM on June 3, 2008


I used to work at a now-defunct television production company, and at one point we hired a second office manager. I saved one of the applications -- we didn't get a resume as such. Instead, we got a two-page manifesto from the applicant explaining why she thought order and organization were vital to society, and relating the machinations of the justice system to the workings of an office.

We kind of left that one alone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:29 PM on June 3, 2008


We had a position open in my unnamed government agency for which we received numerous applications, of course, but one came in that had some curious entries. It seems the applicant was claiming that she'd been the director of another government program for a couple of years and then had moved on to another group, which wouldn't have been unusual, except the position was the former position of our present director and the position the woman claimed to have moved into was the one just vacated by our deputy director. If you are going to lie on a resume, at least check who you are sending it to!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:43 PM on June 3, 2008


My resume has always done me well - I've had some sweet gigs.

Under technical skills (after the important stuff) I have listed
-Once lived in the Peruvian Amazon for three months and tamed a wild monkey.

Which is 100% true. If I get the interview, it gives us something fun to talk about.

I miss you, Pelito.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:46 PM on June 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


The PR guy at my company who is dying to get out---"I'm sick of the dance and I want to really give back and make a difference".

God I love Google. Comedy gold. All the guy does is read the paper on the internet and push work off on his 1 employee to the point of he constantly asks her "hey can you pass the link to cnn.com"? As in the fucking home page to cnn.com. Type it, you lazy bastard. Oh I'm sorry, you're making a difference.

$130k a year for that. Must be nice.
posted by dasheekeejones at 3:58 AM on June 4, 2008


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