Yesterday, I received a resume in my email inbox.  It was a Word document by the name of “Resume.doc”.  I read through it and immediately downloaded it to my desktop.  THIS was a person who I wanted to speak with later.  I went on to the next resume in my inbox and read that.  Yup, another good resume.  I downloaded the second Word document and put it on my desktop.  I repeated this process with 5 or 6 more resumes, eager to follow up with these potential candidates. After closing my email, I went back to my desktop to re-read the resumes and call the prospective employees … all ONE of them.  It seems that every document with the title Resume.doc overwrote the previous one, and now I had just one resume to review . . . the last one.  Guess who got the job?  The others got lost in space.


This episode inspired me to write about the really foolish mistakes people make when it comes to their resumes. Someday there will probably be a full-length novel, but for now, it’s just this blog.

  1. For God’s sake, people, be creative! At least name your resume Firstname Lastname.doc (Jane Doe.doc). If you want to get really crazy, try Lastname Firstname.doc (Doe Jane.doc). Is that so much to ask??

  2. Another reason your resume might disappear: cutesy naming conventions.  If your name is Tabitha, calling your resume “Tabby Cat.doc” might be cute to you, but to a recruiter or a hiring manager, it just looks foolish. Do I really want “Kitty Kat” or “Tabby Cat” working for me? The same goes for “Macho_Duck.doc” and “Baby Doll.doc.”

  3. Basic information! These days, most recruiters use some form of ATS software (applicant tracking system). If you forget to put your name, phone number or email on the top of your resume, it will go straight to digital purgatory, where it belongs.
    And while we’re at it: unless you’re Cher or Madonna, you probably have more than just a first name. Always, ALWAYS include your first and last name on your resume. (can’t believe I even have to say that.)

  4. Educational oversharing. A few weeks ago, I received a resume that listed the person’s education as:

    Charles Creek Elementary School    1970 – 1976
    Charles Creek Middle-High School   1976 – 1979
    Academy High School                1979 – 1983
    Concord University (Bachelor of Science) 1985 – 1989

    Really?!? I’m going to let you in on an industry secret . . . If you have a college degree, we assume that you also have an elementary education. If you don’t have a college degree, then and only then should you list your high school / GED credentials. We don’t need to know where you were in 4th grade.

  5. One last thing . . . Email addresses say something about you. Make sure they don’t say “I’m totally unprofessional”. I recently got an application for a mid-level administrative position. The email address on the top of the resume was Would YOU have called her?