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Bad Resume Example

From poorly proofread paragraphs to thin work experience sections and everything in between, a bad resume can hold back even the most qualified go-getter. There’s a reason that even the best career coaches emphasize the importance of a great resume for any job seeker. However, bad resume samples can serve a very important purpose. They show you what you should not be doing.

What Do Bad Resume Examples Have In Common?

While the best resume is one that is tailored to the needs of each role, bad resumes tend to have several elements in common. Consider these bullet points for the three most common resume mistakes:

  1. Low readability
    Whether it’s a messy resume format or the wrong resume template, an unattractive or cluttered appearance can make your resume hard to scan. This will put hiring managers off, of course, but it could also prevent your resume from reaching them at all. Most big companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter resumes, and if your resume is hard to scan it will rank poorly, which results in your document getting trashed before making it to the recruiter’s desk.
  2. Cut and paste content
    If you simply cut and paste your resume and cover letter content, leaving it the same for every job application, your professional resume will lose its impact. Ill-fitting, bland content that doesn’t address what the specific job needs can be as damaging as typos or a weak skills section.

  3. Misses valuable opportunities
    A bad resume doesn’t always have to be actively bad. It can be a resume that is passive and fails to grasp every opportunity to ensure a job seeker stands out. This can mean not featuring all of the important achievements in a job seeker’s work history, or even using a resume objective statement when a resume summary statement would be better.

A bad resume is like a poorly fitted pair of shoes; it will look wrong, fail to support your weak spots, and could trip you up in the long term. Of course, good tailoring can only go so far. You need to update your resume regularly!

How Can I Learn From These Bad Resume Examples?

Below there are two excerpts from bad resumes that you can consider when writing your own resume. These samples would make a bad first impression on a recruiter. And they might not even make it through applicant tracking systems.

The “sloppy” resume

A sloppy, poorly proofread resume filled with typos is one of the most avoidable bad resumes and for this reason, it is often considered one of the worst resumes by hiring managers. Here is an example of a sloppy resume:

John Doe

Social Media Manager – DataTron (2012 to Present)

I created a social media marketing campaign focused on the diversity of our clients team and the sustainability of their products. As a result, their number of subscribers doubled over a one-year period.

Not only is this section in need of spell check, but it is also poorly written. When you consider that a social media manager needs to connect and communicate with people, this kind of sloppiness does not reflect well on the applicant.

The “hands-off” resume

A resume that uses very passive language could leave hiring managers uninspired. Consider this “hands-off” resume that hits all the right notes but lacks energy.

John Doe

Social Media Manager – DataTron (2012 to Present)

Over five years with DataTron, was tasked with managing six client accounts, the creation and/or maintenance of their brand identity, and the care of their social media presence. Was responsible for improvements in their social media engagement and approval ratings.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but there’s also nothing exceptional about it. This paragraph would be improved by the use of action verbs (e.g., “managed” instead of “was tasked”) and specific examples of success, preferably with solid numbers or percentages for improvement.

Consider what these bad resume examples can teach you, but you should also consider the good resume examples that are available through ResumeNerd. Finally, try to avoid clichés like calling yourself a “team player” or a “quick study,” as these are buzzwords that don’t mean much.

FAQ: Bad Resume Examples

Broadly speaking, it is the small details that make a good resume or a bad one. Bad formatting, incorrect margin sizes, and improper fonts can put recruiters off of your job application even if the content of your resume is right. As far as content goes, featuring skills and qualifications that don’t have a major impact for the position being applied for is a red flag.

Above everything else, you need to prove to hiring managers that you’re the right person for the job. That means featuring the right skills, experiences and qualifications that match the requirements of the job. This means customizing your resume for every job you apply to, paying attention to the job posting and addressing the skills and requirements mentioned there.

If you want to write a great resume you need to start by reading the job posting and identifying where your skills match the requirements of the role. Once you know how your skillset overlaps with the job description, you should present as much information as you can on one page. Use action verbs, be specific, and feature up to the last ten years of work experience.