I thought I’d deviate from the usual how-to and advice blogs to bring you some of the scariest resume horror stories in existence.
All names have been changed to protect the identity of everyone involved. All stories are based on true events.
DISCLAIMER: This blog, while purely for entertainment purposes, contains valuable resume advice.
The Graphic Laden Resume
On a dark, and stormy night, a young, ambitious man named Tim was sitting at his dark, mahogany desk, crafting the perfect resume by a lamp with one bulb blown out.
He was writing a resume he knew was going to get him the job.
He began with the usual contact information, but all quickly went awry.
Before his phone number, he placed the dreaded phone symbol. Before his email, the mail symbol. Before his address, he used the LOCATION ICON!
As Tim continued crafting his masterpiece, he decided the two-column resume was what he needed to use in order to stand out.
Lightning cracked outside his window, making him jump as he selected the template.
The template didn’t load. Tim thought maybe he hadn’t pressed the button when he was frightened.
He searched again for the perfect two-column resume, found the one, and reached for his mousepad.
As his hand moved, it began trembling. Tim didn’t know if it was the excitement of the job hunt or the bad feeling in his gut about the template, but he continued his path of professional destruction.
Tim slowly moved the cursor toward ‘select’ again.
He raised his finger ever so slightly to tap for execution.
Mere millimeters away from opening the template, an electric surge coursed through Tim’s wires, blowing out his computer.
Tim sat back, a little shaken but frustrated he could not finish his resume that night.
What he didn’t know was this was no freak accident. A resume-writing ghost had been watching, making sure Tim could not complete his graphic-heavy resume designed to toss his application into the “do not hire” pile.
The Whiteout Trickster
About five years ago, Marcy had heard a story from one of her co-workers, Jill.
Jill had been telling everyone in the break room about a trick she had learned to help get your resume through the applicant tracking system.
“I’m telling you! All you have to do is copy the job description, paste it at the bottom of your resume, and turn the font white,” she said.
“I don’t think that’s right. What if it makes your resume six pages long? What will the hiring people think when they get one page with your information, then five blank pages?” Marcy asked.
Jill considered this situation. The others eating their stale sandwiches watched and waited.
“Oh, that’s easy!” Jill bragged. “Instead of copy-pasting at the end of your document, put it in the header and place it to go behind the text!” The room murmured their approval of this method.
Marcy didn’t like this idea. She had never purposefully tricked anyone before.
She had been applying to hundreds of jobs for months and hadn’t heard a single word from anyone.
Marcy spent her remaining hours at work wrestling with her morals. She could hear the devil on one shoulder urging her to do it. The angel on her other shoulder was begging her not to.
The workday ended. Marcy said goodbye to her colleagues as they all trudged to their cars in the autumn dusk. Jill approached her and said, “So, are you going to do it? The whiteout trick? We all know you’ve been looking for other jobs.”
Marcy politely smiled and responded, “Oh, no, I don’t think so. Someone will bite soon.”
“Sure, Marcy,” Jill said with sarcasm dripping with each syllable. “See you tomorrow then.”
Marcy got into her car and continued her internal debate during her commute.
Once she arrived safely home, Marcy kicked off her shoes, grabbed her laptop from the kitchen island, and plopped herself into her oversized chair.
She had made her decision. She was going to do it. She was going to use the whiteout trick.
Marcy completed her task, putting the white-fonted job description behind the text of her resume. She uploaded her document, closed the computer, and went to bed.
The next morning, Marcy came to work and everyone was in a frenzy.
“Did you hear what happened?” Jill asked Marcy, rushing toward her, and grabbing Marcy by the arms.
“No. What happened?” Marcy asked.
Before Jill could answer, the office door burst open. Police swarmed in.
“Where is Marcy?” an authoritative voice shouted. The entire room of Marcy’s peers looked at her.
“I….I’m Marcy,” she stuttered.
“You’re under arrest for the murder of Deb, the hiring manager of the place you applied to last night,” the officer said as he approached Marcy.
“Murder?! I didn’t murder anyone!” Marcy protested.
“Oh no? Then who submitted your resume with the whiteout trick?” he asked.
“Well, I did. But that’s it. I just submitted my resume. I didn’t kill anyone!” Marcy started panicking.
The officers led her away while she screamed innocence.
You see, what Jill and Marcy didn’t know about the whiteout trick is that once uploaded and parsed through applicant tracking systems, the font is reverted to black, creating pure pandemonium.
Poor Deb, the recipient of Marcy’s resume, couldn’t handle the chaos and died of fright.
What’s Hidden in the Gaps
Faye’s children were all grown up and no longer needed her like they used to. Her husband, John, and she decided it was time for her to return to the workforce.
Faye was hesitant.
She had some serious gaps throughout the years as she had taken on temporary, part-time positions when money got tight.
“I don’t know, John. Maybe I should try the whole side-hustle thing?” Faye suggested.
“Faye, we’ve gone over that. The last time you tried side-hustling you ended up losing money and having no time for yourself. You didn’t have any set work hours and life got really crazy for a while,” John reminded her.
“Yeah, I guess your right. That didn’t go over well at all, huh?”
“No, it didn’t. Hey, I know! I heard the local bookstore is hiring a customer service associate. That could be fun,” said John.
“Oooooo. Yes! That’s a GREAT idea! I’ll take a look right now.” Faye went into their home office and fired up her computer. She easily located the job posting and was dismayed to see they wanted a resume.
‘Why can’t I just fill out the online application?’ she thought.
So, Faye began drafting her resume. As she got into her experience section, she began searching the internet for ideas on how to hide some of the gaps from the past 20 years.
Again and again, she read titles like Hide the Gaps in Your Resume, Use a Functional Resume to Hide Your Gaps, and If You Don’t Hide Gaps in Your Resume, This Happens.
“John, do you think with this many posts about hiding gaps, I should do that on my resume?” Faye called out to her husband. John came to her side, placed his hand on the back of her chair, and leaned down for a closer look at her search results.
“Yep. Sounds like you’d better hide those gaps if you want anyone to look at your resume.”
John lumbered off and Faye returned her attention to her resume. The most popular advice had been to use a resume focused mostly on her skills rather than the more traditional reverse chronological format.
As Faye wrote each bullet point aligning her skills with the responsibilities listed on the job description, she started to feel strange.
She began to have an uncomfortable tingling, itchy feeling in her hands. Her mind started to become foggy and unfocused. Faye paused, squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, then redirected herself back to the task at hand.
Eight bullet points in, she could no longer ignore what was happening.
Faye looked down at her tingling hands only to find they were so transparent that they were almost invisible. She jumped up, toppling her chair in her rush to the mirror in the hall.
She looked at her reflection and could barely see her face. She was disappearing!
“John! Help me!” Faye screamed. John ran to Faye, frightened at the panic in her voice.
“Faye! What’s happening to you?!” John tried to grab his wife’s hand, but his hand went right through hers as if she were a ghost.
“John! Help me! I don’t know what’s happening!”
John looked around for any clues as to how to help Faye and saw her computer screen glitching.
He stumbled over to see, and the computer stopped on an obscure webpage nowhere near page 1 on the search engine.
The title read:
Hiding Gaps in Your Resume Will Make You Disappear: A True Story
Well, readers. Did you find the moral of each story?
To sum up, do not use graphics on your resume. Keep it simple and clean. NEVER copy and paste the job description anywhere on your resume, ever. Finally, don’t hide any gaps in your experience.
Need help making sure you don’t make these horrible mistakes?
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