Learn From These Bad Resume Examples

Bad resume examples can teach us a lot about what makes a good resume. Learn what type of information you should take from these bad resume examples.

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Bad Resume Examples

From unprofessional fonts to resumes so riddled with spelling errors that they clearly haven’t been proofread, there are many bad resume examples out there. This is unfortunate because your resume is one of the most essential tools for gaining employment, and what makes you stand out to hiring managers. When you come across a bad resume example, whether it is your own or someone else’s, don’t be too quick to look away. If you study a bad resume carefully, you can actually learn from the mistakes and use that knowledge to make sure you have the best resume possible for your next application.


What Do Bad Resume Examples Have in Common?

While there is no such thing as a perfect resume, there is such a thing as a universally bad one. While every job application is unique, bad resume examples tend to have a few things in common no matter what job role they were intended for:

1. Difficulty in scanning the resume

A bad resume will be hard to read, both for hiring managers and the applicant tracking system (ATS) they often use to scan resumes. This can be caused by improper fonts or font sizes, a bad layout, typos or a blend of these issues. A bad resume will be hard to read, and this often leads to it being discarded.

2. No uniqueness to the application

Bad resume examples also tend to be generic. People who use the same resume for every job application are not likely to have a high success rate. Tailoring your resume to each job description, and emphasizing skills and achievements that are mentioned in the job posting will ensure you’re submitting a good resume and improve success rates.

3. Doesn’t highlight appropriate strengths and certifications

Even if your resume has a complete record of your work history and a packed skills section, it will still be considered a bad resume if it doesn’t address the requirements of the job you apply for. Bad resume examples almost always fail to highlight relevant skills, qualifications and personal strengths to match the intended job description. Think of a bad resume like a badly fitted outfit — it doesn’t matter how good it looks on the hanger if it simply doesn’t fit. As such, the main thing bad resume examples can teach you is that tailoring your own resume to each job application is a great piece of advice.

How Can I Learn From These Bad Resume Examples?

It can be very useful to compare bad resume examples to your own resume to see what differences and similarities there are so you can improve your resume. Here are some bad resume examples with common resume mistakes:

The passive resume

A lack of active verbs and language in the work experience and skills section is a sure sign of a bad resume. Here’s an example:

Sophie Smith

Digital Marketing Manager — DigiStan (Present)

I am responsible for creating engaging and unique digital marketing campaigns for our clients. I have been tasked with managing three customer accounts.

This is the resume of a passive underachiever. Hiring managers will have little interest in this resume because being responsible for a task isn’t the same as being good at that task. A better example would be:

Sophie Smith

Digital Marketing Manager — DigiStan (Present)

Managed three successful digital marketing campaigns for DigiStan clients. Developed a social media campaign for ABC Company that resulted in a sales increase of 40% and a 300% increase in social media engagement across all platforms.

This is a resume that gives details and shows a job seeker who takes ownership of their career. Action verbs, peppy phrases and clever word choices make a huge difference when writing a resume.

The “no attention to detail” resume

There is no point at which a slew of typos, grammatical errors and clumsy wording will make a resume look good. Attention to detail is a soft skill that many people claim to have, and if you do it will look even worse if you have spelling issues. Here’s an example of a sloppy resume that makes a bad first impression:

Charles Greer

Junior Accountant – CookedBooks (Preset)

As a junior accountant I am responsible for tracking incoming invoices and overseeing outgong payments on behalf of CookedBooks clients. Over my three years in the company, I have developed a system of filling that reduces human error by an average of 15% and has saved the company thousands of dollars.

This job seeker emphasizes important experiences and uses action verbs, but the resume is sloppy with misspellings, typos and unwieldy sentences. Clear communication would help this candidate’s case, as well as a quick spell check. Here’s a better example:

Charles Greer

Junior Accountant – CookedBooks (Present)

Reviewed and processed invoices, sales tax, and purchase orders while ensuring the accuracy of all data. Developed a filing system that directly contributed to 15% reduction in human errors, with a savings of thousands of dollars.

Thankfully this junior accountant is filing rather than “filling” his clients’ taxes. While the meat of this resume remains the same, this properly spelled, clearly communicated example is proof that having the skills is only part of the battle.

Other common resume mistakes include overusing buzzwords, such as calling yourself a “go-getter” or a “team player.” As well as consulting bad resumes for ideas about what not to do when writing your own, you can look at good examples and resume tips via ResumeHelp. These popular examples of good resumes will help you see what you should be doing so you can create a professional resume for your job search.

FAQ: Bad Resume Examples

Q: What separates a bad resume example from a good one?

Broadly speaking, good resumes and bad resumes are separated by organization, professionalism, tailoring of information and formatting. Most resume mistakes center around a job seeker’s unwillingness to tailor their resume and cover letter for each role. Though this process can be time-consuming, it is not a waste of time. Be careful with your resume format, mirror the job description’s requirements and focus on the specifics of your work experience in order to create a good resume.

Q: Why do I need to make my resume unique to each job application?

Taking the time to tailor your resume to each application makes it more likely that you will make it through ATS and increases the chance that a recruiter will be interested in following up on your application. And while it’s helpful using a resume template, take the time to personalize it and make it your own.

Q: How can I be sure my resume is actually good?

Assuming you have created a resume that is tailored to your job search and created a cover letter that is unique to the job role you are applying for, there is a high likelihood that you have created a good resume. However, if you want to be certain, you can take the time to make sure you haven’t made any of these three common mistakes.

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