Printing your resume on scented paper is a great way to perfume a hiring manager’s trash can — but not a smart step on the way to gainful employment.
This — and other things people do with their resumes — can make them seem crazy. Usually they’re trying to stand out and aren’t confident their experience and qualifications are enough — so they resort to stunts, which almost always end in disaster.
Here are some things that might be giving the wrong impression.
Irrelevant work experience
Including work from 20 years ago that doesn’t pertain to your current career does nothing but take up space and waste time.
“There’s no reason an accounting applicant should bullet their dog walking experience in detail on his/her resume,” says Mark Slack, career adviser at Genius Resume Builder. “It’s fine to include it as a minor heading to reduce employment gaps, but detailed bullet points about dog grooming and maintenance won’t get you very far in an accounting firm.”
Too many points of contact
Slack says he also doesn’t like when people include too much contact information. A phone number and email address are enough.
Unless you’re applying for a social media position and want to show off your skills, “there’s really no need to be offering up your Instagram and Facebook profiles,” he says. “It just makes you seem over eager and a bit off.”
Slack’s rule of thumb: If you use the account professionally and share information relevant to the job you’re applying for, such as sharing professional articles or participating in Twitter chats, you can include it — otherwise, leave it off.
Awkward attempts at humor
Donna Shannon is a former corporate recruiter who saw plenty of people trying to be funny on their resumes —and failing. “In trying to be clever, the job seeker just looks nuts,” says the author of “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy.”
One such resume she received started with “Joe Schmoe: Writer, Marketing Genius and Smartass.” Shannon says, “This is probably the last person I would ever call for an interview. Instead of these attempts at humor, a job seeker is better off using high-value keywords that accurately describe their talents.”
In most cases, your resume should stand out because of your accomplishments, not unnecessary, irrelevant personal information.
“I was hiring an assistant a few years ago and at the bottom of one of the resumes I received, it said, ‘Hobbies: Eating cheese, cosplay and applying for awesome jobs,’” says Susan Baroncini-Moe, CEO of digital marketing agency Business in Blue Jeans. “I was tempted to interview this person because the level of weirdness in this one line made me curious, but I never even considered hiring her.”
Breaking and entering
If your resume lacks substance, a possibly illegal stunt to deliver it isn’t going to help.
Recently a new Princeton grad snuck into Fan Bi’s offices at the luxury menswear company, Blank Label, and taped his resume to the door. The founder and CEO says he was surprised the gentleman found his way inside and even more so that his resume said “I have no prior work experience, but am willing to learn the ropes at any organization.” The resume didn’t include any other activities from his time in school either.
Bi says initially he was intrigued, believing either this person was a genius for having the nerve to do this or a coward for not coming to speak to someone. In the end it didn’t matter which, though. “Brave as he may have been for illicitly entering our premises and for adding a bit of personality to his resume by being so brutally honest, his resume found itself in the trash bin as soon as it was clear he, as a candidate, had no real substance.”
Dominique Rodgers, Monster Contributing Writer