What Are the 10 Most Useless Resumes?

Nancy Anderson
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Building a better resume starts with letting go of old resume ideas from years past. When starting your job hunt, don't just add your most recent work experience to the end of your old resume. Instead, start over from scratch, crafting a modern resume to better meet your needs. If your current CV matches any of these descriptions, consider a major overhaul.

1. The Photo Resume

Headshots are for models and actors. Leave them off your professional resume. At best, your photo makes you look naive about how the hiring process works. At worst, your photo could lead to discrimination based on gender, age or appearance.

2. The Generic Resume

Don't send in a generic resume that sounds like everyone else's. Build a better resume by focusing on your unique qualifications for the job. Show the company what makes you different from other candidates.

3. The Poorly Formatted Resume

Make sure your resume is easy to read and has the right amount of white space. Use bullet lists, indenting and spacing to keep your information organized and easily scannable by busy hiring managers.

4. The Objective Resume

Don't waste valuable resume space by listing an objective. For a better resume, include a brief professional summary instead. If you need to elaborate more, you can do it in your cover letter or at the interview.

5. The Stuffed Resume

An ideal resume is a single page, but be careful not to pack too much information onto that single page. Leave enough white space so that your resume doesn't appear messy. If you are a professional with extensive experience in your field, it's better to include two uncluttered pages than a single unreadable page.

6. The Empty Resume

Don't send out a resume that is mostly white space. If you don't have much experience, include relevant volunteer work, school projects and skills lists to round it out.

7. The Keyword Resume

Although it's best practice to add a few keywords from the job description to your resume, avoid stuffing it with tons of keywords. Too many keywords make it hard for hiring managers to scan your resume, and applicant-tracking software may exclude resumes with an overabundance of keywords.

8. The Irrelevant-Info Resume

Write a better resume by leaving off irrelevant portions of your job history and hobbies not directly related to your work. Focus on those experiences that show your unique qualifications for the position for which you are applying.

9. The Nonsocial Resume

Every modern resume needs to include at least one link to a professional social media account. LinkedIn is a good choice — just be sure to keep your online information up-to-date.

10. The Old Resume

Even if you're in a hurry, resist the temptation to send out the 10-year-old resume you have saved in a folder on your computer. It shouldn't take long to craft a better resume that shows your true worth and is in line with modern standards.

Sending a useless resume to a hiring manager is not much better than sending in no resume at all. Speed up your job hunt by drafting a better resume following contemporary guidelines to show how you are a great fit for each position that you apply for.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • S.H. Baker
    S.H. Baker

    "Even our President is making ... statements via Twitter. — Best reason ever not to have a social media account." ... um, hope you don't carry that negativity into a job interview.

  • Robert H.
    Robert H.

    Even our President is making policy statements via Twitter. -- Best reason ever not to have a social media account.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Marilyn W thanks for your comment. Sorry you feel that way. Glad that you have your own business. Do you do any hiring? It's easy to say this is garbage when you are not on the hiring end of things. Maybe going into social media sites is a bit of a stretch but the hiring manager wants to see the type of person he/she is getting prior to the interview. Job seekers lie like crazy on their resume and cover letter but not so much on their social media sites. It lets the hiring manager know whether or not to even call a candidate in for an interview. It may not be any of the hiring manager's business but this is how our world is now. Everything is on social media. Even our President is making policy statements via Twitter. It's a whole new world.

  • Marilyn W.
    Marilyn W.

    @Nancy Anderson - Soooo a hiring manager that doesn't like motorcycles won't want to talk to me face to face after they see I ride one? They don't like tattoos so they won't want to talk to me? They see I live in a doublewide mobile home (2200 SF and brand new) but they are snobs so they think "trailer trash" ........ They don't like kids and I have 3 ... they are catholic and I am an atheist... where's it stop? It is ABSOLUTELY 110 percent none of anyone's business who my friends are, what I do on social media or in my private life. NONE... period end of discussion. Prior to starting my own business this asking for social media links was just starting up. I encountered two applications asking for all of my social media links and I got up and walked out.
    My profiles are for my friends period... if I wanted them public I'd make them public. Employers can ask for a drug test and do a criminal background check and that's all they ever got from me.
    I thank GOD every day for the last 8 years I no longer have to put up with this garbage.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Rebecca W thanks for your comments. It is a different world out there for sure. Although I understand your concerns and concur with many of the things you have said, I have always found that trying to be too private wrecks your chances of getting an interview. Hiring managers want to know as much about you as they can prior to you sitting across the desk from them. That is why they peek into your private/social life. A look at Facebook can be a real eye-opener for hiring managers. However, on the other hand, trying to keep your Facebook and other social media platforms private will have the hiring manager wondering what you are hiding! That could be the difference between getting an interview or not. Yes there are crazies out there and yes - identity theft is rampant. However, the bottom line is that, if someone wants to find things out about you, it only takes a few looks on the Internet. So we just have to find a happy medium between not allowing anything and allowing everything. All the best! Let us know how your interviews go.

  • Rebecca W.
    Rebecca W.

    Better rules to follow with regard to SM, in my view, are to #1: NOT use your name as it appears on your resume. #2: Do not use your photo on your profile (See Samantha's post). #3: Set your profiles to "private". If you hold an opinion on politics, religion, or how cute kittens are and your philosophies are not shared with HR, you are not getting called. Period. Keep personal, personal and professional, professional. As to LinkedIn, be wary of this. Why? It's soooo helpful to show everyone how professionally popular you are, right? WRONG. First and foremost, we have a world of identity theives looking to connect the dots of your life. Don't put your whole resume online to make it easier. Second, have you ever walked away from toxic and/or threatening employers or co-workers whom you'd pay to never see or hear from again...well, LinkedIn will give the crazies access to what you have moved on to and their ability to damage you professionally is more a matter of who you know in common. Resist the urge to engage in this utterly destructive info-sourcing platform. If an employer with whom you meet asks for SM info, be clear that unless you have a high profile position and your personal life can work contrary to your employer's ethos, you choose to compartmentalize your worlds. If we need to leave our personal lives at the door, while at work, then employers have no cause to peek into the windows of our homes. Guard your personal privacy - or don't be upset, nor surprised when you don't get called for interviews.

  • Rebecca W.
    Rebecca W.

    I must disagree with the notion that you should include a SM account link on your resume. To me, that is a recipe for disaster. As Samantha Garner cogently points out, hiring managers will look for your presence anyway. However, that is no reason to ENCOURAGE invasion of your personal sphere by professional sources.

  • Samantha Garner
    Samantha Garner

    Honestly in response to the photo resume, I agree that you shouldn’t have a photo. However, hiring managers view social media accounts of potential candidates all of the time. In this digital age, there’s nothing stopping them from discriminating. All they have to do is look at LinkedIn or Facebook. They don’t have to say a word to anyone. They just decide not to interview or hire that candidate. It happens alll of the time and I’m not sure why people aren’t more aware of this.

  • Karen Drake
    Karen Drake

    How do I write an excellent resume

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