What NOT to Put on Your Resume!

For anyone searching for a job here are some wise (and timeless) tips for information that should “never” be placed on your resume.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Never use text slang such as “LOL” on your resume. Photo: Forbes.

Excerpt: The Most Outlandish Resume Mistakes of 2012 By Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Magazine.

“Unless you’re applying for a job at a pizzeria, your résumé objective shouldn’t say, “to make dough.” Nor should it be decorated with pink rabbits or include texting slang like  LOL.” Candidates have actually made all of these mistakes, among many others—

Candidate highlighted he was ‘Homecoming Prom Prince’. Photo Forbes.

and while they probably caught the attention of their potential employer, chances are they didn’t land the job. These blunders did, however, earn them a spot on a new compilation of hiring managers’ most memorable résumé missteps…These job seekers are probably trying to be clever and stand out, but it often backfires and that résumé usually goes straight to the ‘no’ pile.”…

Never talk about your family’s connections to “the Mob” Photo- Forbes.

For instance, one applicant wrote about her family being in the mob, while another candidate applying for an accounting job said he was “deetail-oriented” and spelled the company’s name incorrectly…The study also reveals one-in-five HR managers reported that they spend less than 30 seconds reviewing applications and around 40% spend less than one minute–so it’s possible that some applicants include outlandish or inappropriate content to stand out from the crowd of candidates…It’s not always bad to be creative… But you want to be creative in a smart way. The best way to do that is by tailoring your résumé to show who you are and what you can bring to the table. Since creativity isn’t completely out of the question,

Never list “gator hunting” as a “skill” (unless applying for a job as a “gater-catcher”). Photo- Forbes.

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers for real examples of creative approaches that made positive impressions. Here’s what they reported:

• A candidate listed accomplishments and lessons learned from each position. He gave examples of good customer service he provided as well as situations he wished he would have handled differently. He was hired.

• A job seeker applying for a food and beverage management position sent a résumé in the form of a fine-dining menu and was hired.

• A candidate listed accomplishments and lessons learned from each position. He gave examples of good customer service he provided as well as situations he wished he would have handled differently. He was hired…Whether you decide to be creative with your job application or take a more traditional route, your résumé must be flawless.

Candidate’s objective-: “To make dough”. Photo- Forbes.

When asked what would make them automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration, employers pointed to résumés with typos, résumés that copied large amounts of wording from the job posting, résumés with an inappropriate email address, résumés that don’t include a list of skills, résumés that are more than two pages long, and résumés that are printed on decorative paper, among other things.

The bottom line is that your résumé is often where you make your first impression on a hiring manager. To avoid having it also be the last, carefully consider what you want the employer to see at a glance, and strive to stand out for having a professional, tailored document.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective: Students will read the article with a focus on improving comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their knowledge on  what is inappropriate information  for a resume. They will do this through through discussions, writing, and simulations.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

  •  Predictions

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to read the title of the post and of  the article.  Then, have them  examine the photos. Based on these sources,  ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article.  Then have them use the words in sentences to be shared with the class.

KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills. The K-W-L stands for: what IKnow, what I Want to learn, and what I did Learn.  Find out if students know what is inappropriate  material for a resume. What things would they like to find out about in this area? Have students use this Advanced Organizer from MSU for assistance.

 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference 

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word.

  1.  …your résumé objective shouldn’t say, “to make dough.”
  2. …while they probably caught the attention of their potential employer, chances are they didn’t land the job.
  3. …and while they probably caught the attention of their potential employer…
  4. These blunders did, however, earn them a spot on…managers’ most memorable résumé missteps.
  5. These job seekers are probably trying to be clever and stand out, but it often backfires…
  6. For instance, one applicant wrote about her family being in the mob
  7. …some applicants include outlandish or inappropriate content to stand out from the crowd of candidates.
  8. With technology, it is so easy to just click and send a résumé out, but if you take the time to tailor it, it will get more time for review…
  9. …you should only include relevant and appropriate information.
  10. When asked what would make them automatically dismiss a candidate from consideration…
  • Reading Comprehension

True / False

Directions:  The following statements were taken from the article.  If  a statement is true, students write (T) if  a statement is false they  write (F)  and  provide the correct answer from the article.

  1. It’s ok to use the phrase “to make dough.” on your resume.
  2. The more colorful the  pink rabbits are the more attention you’ll receive.
  3. These job seekers are probably trying to be clever and stand out, and it very often works for them.
  4. Modifying your résumé for each position to showcase your achievements and professionalism is a good idea.
  5. You want to use as much color and sparkles as you can to attract attention on your resume.
  6. It’s not always bad to be creative…But you want to be creative in a smart way.
  7. Hiring managers have a big pile of résumés to review, and they are always looking for a reason to put you in the ‘no’ pile.”
  8. The first reason managers gave for automatically dismissing  a candidate from consideration, were résumés with typos…
  9. The bottom line is that your interview is often where you make your first impression on a hiring manager.
  10. Referring to yourself as a “genius” on your resume  is a clever idea.

 

  •  Grammar Focus

Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article (some may be abbreviated versions). One sentence in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error and make the correction.

I.

a. With technology, is so easy to just click and send a résumé.

b. If you take the time to tailor it, it will get more time for review.

c. A customized résumé resonates well with hiring managers.

II.

a. Demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.

b. But be sure to do so with clean, clear content and easy-to-read formatting.

c. And they should only include relevant and appropriate information.

III.

a. It’s not always bad to be creative.

b. But you want to be in creative in a smart way.

c. The best way to do that is by tailoring your résumé to show who you are and what you can bring to the table.

 

III. Post Reading Tasks

 

  • Reading Comprehension Check

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.

Discussion/Writing Tasks 

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics.

  1. From all of the errors made on resumes, which would you say was the worse? Provide reasons for your answer.
  2. In your opinion were some of these things people write on their resumes unimportant?  In other words should potential employers overlook them? (e.g., “pink bunnies” on the resume page).
  3. Can you and your group think of any other errors not mentioned?
  4. The article states, “ Haefner suggests modifying your résumé for each position to showcase your achievements and professionalism, and to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.”  How would you explain this in your own words?
  5. What  were the most significant ideas of this article?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip:   5 Mistakes to Avoid for Job Interviews.

 • Pre-listening 

Listening for New Vocabulary or New Terms

Directions: Here is a list of words from the video. Have students find the meanings before they listen to the video.  As students listen, they are to  check off the words and phrases as they hear them in the video.

attitude, ethic,  enthusiasm, analytical,  rambling, prior,  sabotage.

While Listening Tasks

Sentence  Fill-ins

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose the words from the word list.

1. According to  Lori Blake  from the USC Career Center the top 5 skills employers are looking for are___.

a- having a great attitude, a strong work ethic, great communication skills, enthusiasm  and analytical skills.

b. reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar skills.

c. playing an instrument, acting, dancing,  singing,  and  doing comedy routines.

2. The first mistake people make is___

a- having a  weak handshake.

b. chewing gum.

c. talking too much and rambling.

3. Candidates should never___

a. talk over the interviewer.

b. talk under the interviewer.

c. talk with the interviewer.

4. The second biggest mistake is___.

a- dressing inappropriately.

b. not knowing enough information about the company.

c. arriving late.

5. You should learn as a much as you can about the company___.

a.   prior to the interview.

b. after the interview.

c. during the interview.

6. The third mistake candidates often make is___.

a- talking too much.

b. arriving late to the interview.

c. not knowing enough about the company.

7. The best reason to give the interviewer for being late is___

a. the traffic was really bad.

b. my dog was sick.

c. none. Don’t be late.

8. The fourth mistake is___.

a. talking about money too soon.

b. dressing casual.

c. talking too much.

9. The fifth mistake is___

a. dressing formally.

b. dressing too casually.

c. dressing for a party.

10.  Being prepared for an interview will make you feel___

a. cool, calm, and confident.

b. crazy, hectic, insane.

c. lazy, sleepy, tired.

Post-Listening Tasks

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video  have you learned any new information?   If yes, describe  what you have learned..  If no, describe your original opinion of job interviews.

2. Did  you agree with everything the speaker said?  Discuss which comments  you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with.   Explain why.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers in the video.

  • Group Activity

Simulation (Role-Play) 

Directions: In groups have students create roles  for the following:

(1)   a potential job candidate makes several errors during the interview

(2)   an employer who interviews the candidate, and things he/she might say in response to these errors.

Related 

ESL Voices Business site

Provides ideas on how to write resumes, cover-letters, and fill out application forms.

ANSWER KEY:  The Most Outlandish Resume Mistakes