Being creative on your resume can be a good thing. But beware of crossing the line between creative and crazy.
“People are always thinking, ‘Hey, I want to stand out in the job search,’ and that’s ok,” says Katharine Brooks, executive director of personal and career development at Wake Forest University. “But you don’t want to stand out by being weird. You want to stand out for excellence.”
While the most common resume mishaps are typos and misspellings, some people venture to the weird and wacky. Career and recruitment experts weighed in on the most ridiculous things they’ve seen on resumes.
1. A plastic foot
“A candidate sent me a plastic foot, with the opening line of her cover letter stating that she wanted to get her ‘foot in the door,'” says Brooks. “Throughout the letter she added other foot references such as ‘her shoe was the right fit.’ It wasn’t.”
2. A vial of fake blood
On another occasion, Brooks received a resume that had a small plastic vial of red-coloured liquid attached to it and a note saying the candidate would “sweat blood” for the job.
Creative? Yes. But probably not the best way to win over your prospective employer (unless it’s Dracula).
3. Body measurements
Gene Gordon, a sourcing expert for recruiting company Decision Toolbox, says he once received the following information on a resume:
- Height: 5’4″
- Waist: 28″
- Hips: 33″
- Bust: 34″
- Shirt Size: M
- Pant Size: 5/6
- Shoe Size: 8 1/2
- Hair: Reddish black
- Eyes: Earth Green
The physical statistics were in no way relevant to the job application, Gordon added.
4. A table of contents
A good rule of thumb is to keep your resume to only one page. Two pages is pushing it, and anything beyond that is far too long.
Well, Mary Massad, division president of recruiting services at Insperity, says she once received a resume so lengthy that the candidate included a table of contents with it. “A resume should never be so detailed and long that it requires a table of contents,” Massad says.
5. A chocolate croissant addiction
Just as weird statistics don’t belong on your resume, neither do irrelevant interests. Marc Goldman, executive director of the career center at Yeshiva University, says he’s seen people list interests such as “eating chocolate croissants” or “Settlers of Catan,” the popular board game.
Goldman says people who include random interests on their resumes often do so with the hope of sparking a conversation over a mutual passion with an interviewer. Sometimes that works, but often it doesn’t. “It’s certainly a risky thing because it can be looked at as very frivolous,” he adds.
6. Knowing how to use a paper shredder
There are skills worth mentioning on a resume, and then there are those that will earn an eye roll from your recruiter.
Dana Manciagli, a global career expert and author of “Cut the Crap, Get a Job,” has seen her share of arbitrary, outdated skills. Some highlights? Understanding how to use Microsoft Word, the fax machine, and a paper shredder, she says.
7. Proficiency in the English language
When you’ve got limited space to sell yourself, you don’t want to waste it stating the obvious. Goldman says he once received a resume that listed “English” as one of the candidate’s languages.
Seeing as the resume was written in English, the clarification was not necessary.
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