CHICAGO — Creating an attention-getting resume can be a tall order for job seekers in today’s fast-paced hiring environment. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, the majority of employers (70 percent) spend less than five minutes reviewing a resume, and half (48 percent) spend less than two.

Perhaps it is the desire to stand out that compels some job seekers to include some unnecessary, inappropriate, or downright untrue information on their resumes, which hiring managers regard as a job seeker faux pas. For its annual survey, CareerBuilder asked hiring managers to name the biggest blunders they have caught on resumes — from innocent gaffes to obvious lies.

The national online survey was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll and included more than 2,000 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries and company sizes.


For the survey, hiring managers gave the following real-life examples of blunders they have caught on resumes:

• Applicant claimed to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying.

• Applicant who claimed to be HVAC certified later asked the hiring manager what HVAC meant.

• Applicant vying for a customer service position gave “didn’t like dealing with angry customers” as the reason for leaving her last job.

• Applicant wrote “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse” when listing work history.

• Applicant claimed to be fluent in two languages, one of which was pig Latin.

• Applicant’s personal website linked to a porn site.

• Applicant introduced himself [in the cover letter] by saying “Hey you.”

• User name of applicant’s email address was “2poopy4mypants.”

• Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner.

• Applicant claimed to have worked in a jail when they were really in there serving time.

• Applicant said to have gotten fired “on accident.”

• Applicant claimed to have attended a college that didn’t exist.

• Applicant for a driver position claimed to have 10 years of experience but had only had a driver’s license for four years.

• Applicant listed as a reference an employer from whom they had embezzled money and had an arrest warrant out for the applicant.

• Applicant’s stated job history had him in three different companies and three different cities simultaneously.


When it comes to impressing hiring managers, one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make is lying. However, according to the survey, more than half of employers (56 percent) have caught a lie on a resume. When asked to name the most common areas around which job seekers lie, these employers named the following:

• Embellished skill sets: 62 percent

• Embellished responsibilities: 54 percent

• Dates of employment: 39 percent

• Job titles: 31 percent

• Academic degrees: 28 percent

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Publication date: 10/5/2015

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