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Hiring Managers Share Most Memorable Resume Mistakes in New CareerBuilder Survey


Career Expert Offers Advice to Help Make Resumes Stand Out

CHICAGO, – With 14.9 million people unemployed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pressure to get resumes in the “yes” pile is immense. Nearly half (48 percent) of human resource managers surveyed by CareerBuilder reported they typically review 25 applications or less for open positions. Thirty-eight percent said, on average, they spend less than a minute reviewing a resume; 18 percent spend less than 30 seconds. The CareerBuilder survey was conducted among more than 2,500 employers between May 18 and June 3, 2010.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make that can take them out of the running is a lack of customization. Seventy-nine percent of human resource managers said they pay more attention to resumes that are tailored to their open positions.

When asked for the most memorable missteps they encountered when going through resumes, human resource managers and hiring managers reported the following:
* Candidate put God down as a reference (no phone number).
* Candidate listed her hobby as alligator watching.
* Candidate claimed to be a direct descendant of the Vikings.
* Candidate’s email address had “lovesbeer” in it.
* Candidate listed “Master of Time and Universe” under his experience.
* Candidate started off the application with “Do you want a tiger?”
* Candidate specifically pointed out that he was not a gypsy.
* Candidate’s condition for accepting the position was being allowed to bring his pet monkey to the workplace.
* Candidate pointed out, “I’ll have your job in five years.”
* Candidate sent a 24-page resume for a 5-year career.
* Candidate put a picture of her cat on top of her resume.
* Candidate declared himself the LeBron James of table games.
* Candidate sent a video trying to hypnotize the HR manager into hiring him.

“While it’s important to stand out from the crowd, job seekers need to make sure their resumes catch hiring managers’ eyes for the right reasons,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Job seekers need to communicate their relevant experience and utilize keywords from the job posting, while customizing their resume for each and every position. Focus on what you can bring to the table right from the get go.”

Haefner offers the following tips to get you started on your road to resume success:

Quantify your experience – Have you helped increase client business, made significant sales or increased team productivity? Make every effort possible to quantify these experiences so you can show employers how you’ve positively affected bottom lines in the past – and how you can hit the ground running at their organization.

Keep it professional – While it sometimes can be helpful to include personal achievements on your resume, leave off information that is too personal. Instead, focus on items that are business-related, such as volunteer work or membership in professional organizations. Also, make sure you leave emoticons, inappropriate e-mail addresses and cutesy fonts off your final product.

Make it easy to read – Avoid using large blocks of text. Use bullets to break up text and make it easy for hiring managers to zero in on important points. Avoid using ornate fonts that may cause formatting issues when sharing electronically.

To help job seekers make the right impression, CareerBuilder offers professional resume writing services for every job level at Job seekers can also upload resumes and receive free feedback on how to create a personalized resume that is effective both online and in print to help improve their chances of getting hired.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,534 U.S. hiring managers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non government); ages 18 and over between May 18 and June 3, 2010 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset of U.S. employers, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,534 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.95 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 23 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 32 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit


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