Resume Reader Pet Peeves

“We ought to be able to learn some thing second hand.  

There is not enough time for us to make all of the mistakes ourselves.”  – Harriet Hall


Here’s just a sampling of some real life, straight from employers/recruiters – the Real Resume Reader Pet Peeves & “Oh, Please Don’t Do This” stories.

It’s the job search version of “What Not to Wear” – the don’t do’s, turn-offs and professional faux pas.


Remember two things:

1) We can learn from other’s mistakes (what to do and NOT to do!) and

2) Employers get so many applicants, they need – and look for – reasons to not consider many of them.


Don’t make it this easy for them!


A non-example of what not to put in a cover letter: “I am going through a terrible divorce, foreclosure and then got laid off from a well paying job after more than a decade there.”  Employer’s response: “It’s amazing, what are people thinking? I’m gonna pity hire them?”

What do to instead: focus on the benefits you bring the employer, and how your skills meet their needs.


An example of literally what NOT to wear:  “Her resume was decent, but she dropped it off in shorts and flip flops, and we clearly aren’t that kind of company. NEXT!”

What to do instead: anytime you are on the premises, look clean, neat, and appropriate, and behave as you would on the job, and your boss was nearby.


Your resume is the first representation of your work:  “I couldn’t believe it – she pulled her twice folded and worn resume out of her back pocket.”

What to do instead: make sure your resume has a clear, concise, error-free presentation on paper and on the computer.


Other Common Employer Pet Peeves:

** Mass emailed resumes
** Applying for things you aren’t even remotely qualified for
** Candidates that won’t take “No” for an answer
** Applicants that clearly don’t take the time and effort to customize their cover letter

What to do instead:  make it clear in both your cover letter and resume how your skills, experience and interest are a great match to EACH employers SPECIFIC needs. Respect their decision if they think it’s not a good match. After all, you want to be happy there too, and how happy can you be in any relationship where the other party just isn’t interested?


Any of you have hiring experience?  

Please add your own “Oh no they DIDN’T!” applicant stories in the comments below!


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