Top 5 Creative Resume Flops

By / Blog

During the work week, resumes constantly flood my inbox. I love skimming through applications and witnessing all of the great talent out there. While some candidates stand out with strong work experience, others fail to amaze with resumes wrought with common, and at times appalling, mistakes. Over the years, I have come to recognize a pattern in job seekers. Here are my top 5 resume flops.

Let’s start with something simple…

1) Spelling and Grammatical Errors – It’s hard to take someone seriously if they boast their “incredible attention to detail”, but there are glaring spelling errors throughout their resume. I suggest reading your resume both backwards and forwards to pick up on any possible errors. Because our brains fill in what we want to see, it is always a good idea to have someone else proofread it.

2) Check Your Tools – For example, if you are applying for a Senior Graphic Designer position, but your resume is in Microsoft Word, how do you think you will come across? Formatting speaks volumes to your actual experience. Always convert documents into a PDF before sending them and use tools as they relate to the position you desire. A resume in Word confirms the suspicion that you are not an experienced designer.

3) Be Prepared with Relevant Samples – This is the time to show off what you can do, and not what you cannot do. Providing lackluster and/or minimal samples rarely leads to an interview.

4) Follow Application Directions & READ the Job Description – If the directions clearly state that you must send files less than 10mbs in size and that you must list your salary, DO IT (even if you hope to renegotiate later). It’s a good idea to list a desired salary range and what you currently make. Keep in mind that if a company has a particular budget allocated for a specific position, not sharing this information will only waste your time (and mine).

5) Common Sense – If you don’t know how to dial into a conference line or are late for your scheduled interview, it’s a huge red flag! The first impression is everything.

Remember that the interview process is stressful and overwhelming on both sides. Treat applying for a job as you would the job itself, and keep in mind that quality always trumps quantity. As a job seeker, it may feel productive (and necessary) to apply for many jobs, BUT a quality application will stand out and lead to more opportunities.

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