How To Get Your Resume Ignored

get your resume noticed

Yes, you read that right.  We’re going to look at how to create a resume that will get ignored.  Or at least put on the bottom of the pile.   The objective, of course, is for you to see what doesn’t work.  And then, use that to be your own resume editor and eliminate the mistakes that might otherwise slip by.  By working in reverse, you’ll learn how to write a good resume instead of a bad one.  The end results should get your resume noticed.

Having been a manager for a major national corporation, I had the opportunity to see a lot of resumes.  Some were obvious standouts.  Others made me wince in disbelief that anyone who actually wanted a job would submit something so terrible.  Can you guess which ones got interviews?

bad resume

What Makes A Horrible Resume

You can get a ton of resume advice today, both free and ridiculously over-priced.  Contrary to what you may have read, there is no magic recipe to create a resume that will guarantee that it will get you noticed and an interview.  Most sources will tell you what you should do to create a good resume.  But stop and think for a moment about how the human mind works, and how we’ve been culturized to process information.

When new information is presented (like your resume), especially when there’s lots of competing additional information (all the other resumes), we find ways to narrow the field.  We’re not looking for reasons, at least at this point, to accept, we’re looking for reasons to reject.  So it makes perfect sense to be aware of those things that will make the person screening the resume reject it.  Then, avoid those at all costs!

With that in mind, here are the “Resume Horribles:”

  • Ugly Format

    The first order of business is to thin the pile of resume.  Go ahead, create your resume with an ugly, unappealing format.  One that isn’t balanced, that doesn’t invite the eyes of the reader to explore further.  Won’t it be great to know that your resume didn’t even get read?  Or, take a look at any of  the many sites online that offer little or no cost resume templates.  You can fine-tune and edit them to create something no less than awesome.

  • Meaningless or Ineffective Summary.

    Beyond the fact that you may not even require a summary, it’ll certainly work well to create one that doesn’t add to the resume content, doesn’t sell you or your skills, and isn’t customized to this particular reader and position.  If you want to skip the whole messy interview process, that is.  Or, learn when you need one and how to write an effective one.

  • General Sloppiness

    Yes, the devil is in the details.   And this little devil is just waiting for your first grammar or spelling blunder.  Because that’s when you’ve effectively ran your long fingernails across the chalkboard of your reader’s brain.  He or she doesn’t like that noise, or your resume.   Don’t assume that a good spell checker is all you need.  There is no substitute for  proofreading it yourself, more than once, one sentence at a time.

  • Using Words That Backfire

    All those cliche’s, buzzwords, and even pieces of jargon that you put in your resume that you thought were either clever or impressive?  They’re neither.  The reader has seen them hundreds if not thousands of times.   If you’re really careful, you might even find one to toss in that initiates the reader’s gag reflex.  Or, if you think it’s a good idea to not upset your resume’s reader, be mindful of the best and worst words to use on your resume.

  • Lack of Proper Focus.  

    Knowing that whoever is reading your resume wants to know about your skills and accomplishments,  you can be sure that instead telling them about your job responsibilities will avoid giving them what they want.  It’ll also avoid getting your resume in the pile to be further reviewed or set for interview.  Or, you could actually try selling yourself based on those skills and accomplishments.

Now that you know what doesn’t work, and what a resume looks like that falls into that category, you can put a highly critical eye on yours.  And with a little work, make it the one that DOES get noticed and gets you an interview.


Main  poor resume 


Linda Allen

I'm a serial entrepreneur, with a resume that makes me look like a Jane of all trades. Pretty sure we are all reluctant Messiahs, travelling through life planting seeds where ever we can. Hopefully, most of mine have been good ones! MA from Miami University (Ohio, not Florida), BA from Cal State.

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