Resume Oddness gets the Laughs, but not the Job
Job seekers write the darndest things on resumes.
The competitive American job landscape, although it's been improving of late, is dotted with strangeness. Human resources professionals and other executives in the hiring seat report that among their piles of resumes and applications, every once in a while one will stand out purely by the inclusion of something notably oddball or inappropriate.
Debra Wheatman, a career services consultant and formerly the recruitment manager at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, relates that she once received a resume written entirely on a shoebox. That was one document that wasn't, as per the frequent habit of the profession, kept on file for later. Wheatman didn't reveal if the box came complete with shoes, or if she subsequently used it to store her own footwear.
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of employment search website FlexJobs.com revealed when interviewed by CareerBuilder.com that she once received a resume from a person claiming to be a "pig wrestling champion". Fell didn't specify what job the applicant was going for, but it's safe to assume it had little to do with farm animals or combat sports skills.
Other HR executives questioned for the same article experienced similar blasts of wackiness when doing their jobs. Resume advisor Sky Opila from BriteTab.com said she once saw a resume in which was listed, under "special skills", facility with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles. This would have been ideal had the applicant been aiming for a job in the gaming industry, but no; the position being applied for was in a company's accounting department. Robert Dagnall of ResumeGuru.com related one particular selling point of a female applicant - "I have never trapped a man". Presumably, this person was under the impression that women entrapping their male colleagues is a serious concern in the workplace.
Many resume blunders are simple writing mistakes caused by bad spelling or sloppy grammar. Paul Hill of GetMeHiredTV.com, a job advice website, gives the example of a former air hostess who said of her activities that she enjoyed "cooking Chinese and Italians." Most likely, the job she was applying for didn't require a full-time cannibal. Another applicant cited by Hill spent the summer of 2001 "taking care of the elderly and vegetable people". That job seeker and the ex-air hostess probably would have made an excellent team.
These bloopers, linguistic foul-ups and errors provide a much-needed dose of humor for human resources professionals and others who do the hiring at companies. At the risk of stating the obvious, the ones providing the laughs aren't the ones getting hired. Anyone making a concentrated effort to get a job needs to be much more serious about their resume; career advisors always counsel a thorough review (preferably by a peer) and proofreading sweep of any resume. As a job seeker, you want to be the one who gets the position, not the one who supplies the comic relief.