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Boasting, bloopers on resumés turn off potential bosses

SHARE Boasting, bloopers on resumés turn off potential bosses

A job resume should put the candidate in the best light, but don't overdo it as this candidate did:

"STRENGTHS: Fluent in six languages after only a couple of days."

Now why do I find that hard to believe?

This same job seeker listed under HOBBIES: "Organizing parties for my friends."

Multilingual gatherings, no doubt.

"COVER LETTER: Desire the chance to showcase my delightful personality, intelligence and superior judgment, which are so hard to find these days."

Thank goodness you came to us.

"ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS: I am a cellist with the university chamber orchestra and, like all accountants, I love Twister, break dancing and roller coasters."

Like all accountants?

A positive, enthusiastic and assertive candidate is always a welcome sight for hiring managers. In fact, Robert Half International has done research showing employers feel applicants don't toot their own horns enough during interviews. Still, an overly boastful or arrogant attitude is rarely well received.

For example, a job seeker from Colorado submitted, along with her resumé, what she called her "Simplified Job Order Questionnaire." On it she listed dozens of questions for the employer to answer, each of them numbered. Here's how she described it in her cover letter:

"Please have the answers to these questions ready when calling me about a job to save your time and mine. For confidentiality, refer to specific lettered /numbered items."

It's definitely a job seeker's market, but even businesses that need to fill positions fast are not compromising their standards. Turnover is costly; therefore, each hiring decision must be weighed carefully. Just one unwise choice can affect the productivity of the entire team.

Following are examples of bloopers that involved the right spelling but wrong word on a resume.

"PERSONAL STRENGTHS: I am loyal, hard working, and have plenty of patients."

This one only works if you're a doctor.

"RESPONSIBILITIES: Singed a one-year contract to reorganize the marketing department."

Signed it, or burned it?

And, finally, these examples of candidates who had a hard time remembering names of past employers:

"PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Abbott Lavatories."

"PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Price Warehouse."

"PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Charles Swab."

"PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Not memorable."


Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc., a specialized staffing firm, and author of Job Hunting for Dummies. For more Resumania visit www.resumania.com.