This guest post first appeared on San Francisco Chronicle.
There are some ridiculous résumés out there.
Sometimes candidates create unique résumés to get attention. Other times, they do it because … they don’t know any better.
In a recent Reddit thread, Redditor showe1lj asked employers on Reddit to reveal the most unique or outrageous thing they’ve ever seen on a résumé.
Sometimes the offbeat résumé helped the candidate get hired. Most of the time, it didn’t help.
We pulled out the best replies, edited only for clarity:
The candidate who thought a picture was worth 1,000 words:
“I wasn’t doing the hiring but was given some say over the process. There was a guy that just sent in a 8.5×11″ photo of him standing next to a limousine. No explanation given.”
The candidate who secretly wants to be a superhero:
“Under hobbies/interests: ‘Simulating earthquakes by shaking tables.’ ”
The candidate who was proud of his arm muscles:
“The candidate wrote ‘I can do 75 push ups in a row’ … because a well formed upper body is integral to IT. He got the job.”
The candidate who had a résumé made up of multiple, random pages:
“[Once] someone handed me a seven page résumé with a title page. Each page had different fonts and margins and on the fourth page the margin started right in the middle of it. Not to mention that for most of it, she wrote her job experience, pressed enter about 16 times, and then put her next job. It was horrendous.”
The candidate with the wrong email account:
“I actually see AOL email addresses on résumés. In the technology field, it immediately damages their credibility.”
The candidate who was thinking too far ahead:
“I was interviewing a guy and I asked him about his Master’s degree, which he mentioned on his résumé. His response? ‘Oh, I don’t have my Master’s degree yet. I just plan on getting it someday.’ Needless to say, he did not get the job.”
The candidate who wanted to test hiring managers:
“I was interviewing lifeguards and one had an interesting position under their ‘Job Experience’ section. Hymen Checker on Australian Sheep Farm. When I asked him about it he said he just wanted to see if people actually read his résumé.”
The candidate who was extremely detailed about their job responsibilities:
“I used to manage a retail store, and we used to get very few résumés. When we did, though, they were ridiculous. I received one that was 5 pages long once. The reason why it was so long was because when [the candidate] described her responsibilities at Cici’s Pizza as a “Pizza Maker,” she listed each step of making a pizza as a separate job duty: ‘Put crust on pizza plate; Spread sauce on crust; Add cheese to sauce; Add toppings (if ordered).’ It was hilarious. I wish I still had a copy.”
The candidate who drew a diagram:
“I once received a résumé that discussed, in great detail, a car accident the candidate had been in. It even included a diagram that showed where each passenger had been sitting. Went directly in the reject pile.”
The candidate who bragged about cooking rice 2 seconds faster than everyone else:
“I get many résumés and over the years have seen some interesting things. Had someone put on their résumé they were able to cook one minute rice in 58 seconds. I laughed because I’ve seen this on the internet dozens of times and knew that’s where he got it from.”
The candidate who should have stayed in school:
“I was looking to hire for a software engineer position. I interviewed this guy who had a whole lot of technologies on his résumé. After reading his résumé I felt like I was a big underachiever and had not accomplished half of what this guy had done. I started asking him technical questions and the guy couldn’t answer anything. I told him it was obvious he didn’t know any of the technologies he had listed on his résumé. I asked him why he had listed those on his résumé. He said because it was a part of his course material. I asked him why he didn’t know anything then? He said because he dropped out of his course.”
The candidate who was really proud of his stapling skills:
“Had someone put ‘I always staple at exactly a 45-degree angle.’ ”
The candidate with a helicopter parent:
“Under skills: ‘calculator on sight.’ When I asked him to elaborate on that he looked confused. I asked him if [he] meant that he was really good at mental math (like 287 times 62 divided by 9 or something), and he just looked at me the way a cow looks at an oncoming train and said “I don’t know. My mom put that.” He didn’t get the job.
The candidate with no name:
“At a hobby shop I used to work at, some earnest looking young guy stopped in one day and dropped off a résumé. It was a fairly hot day in the summer and he was covered in sweat. He had a backpack and big stack of résumés. It appeared he had been walking all over town dropping off résumés all day.
“We weren’t hiring anyone, but out of idle curiosity, I glanced over his résumé. It was just normal general stuff – nothing stood out – just your standard résumé from someone fresh out of high school with very little experience. But then I realized … his résumé had absolutely no contact information. I couldn’t interview him even if I wanted to. His name wasn’t even on it.”
“That poor bastard had been walking all over town in the beating sun all day dropping off useless résumés.”
The candidate who didn’t get the question:
“Not really on a résumé, but on the job application there was a question which simply read, ‘Length of residence’ to which the applicant responded about ’60 feet, give or take.’ ”
The candidate who was too honest:
“Please do not call my last employer as a reference. He was the owner of the small company I worked for, and I was involved with him. His wife learned of this. I was fired to save his marriage and he will not give a fair recommendation. Please feel free to contact [an employment 6 years prior before being unemployed for 4 years].”