One Resume Error Can Ruin Employment Prospects, Executive Survey Shows

MENLO PARK, CA -- Job seekers take note: One false stroke at the keyboard could send your resume into the “circular file.” Three out of four (76 percent) executives interviewed said just one or two typos in a resume would remove applicants from consideration for a job; 40 percent said it takes only one typo to rule candidates out.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 150 senior executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, “How many typos in a resume does it take for you to decide not to consider a job candidate for a position with your company?” Their responses:

One 40%
Two 36%
Three 14%
Four or more 7%
Don't know/no answer    3%

“Employers view the resume as a reflection of the applicant,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Job Hunting For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “If you make errors on your application materials, the assumption is you’ll make mistakes on the job.”

Unfortunately, typos and other slip-ups are easy to make, and spell-check won’t always catch them. To illustrate the point, following are some real-life errors made in resumes, applications and cover letters. (Additional examples of resume bloopers can be found in “Resumania,” Messmer’s weekly column syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service or at www.resumania.com.)

  • “Hope to hear from you, shorty.”
  • “Have a keen eye for derail.”
  • “Dear Sir or Madman.”
  • “I’m attacking my resume for you to review.”
  • “I am a rabid typist.”
  • “My work ethics are impeachable.”
  • “Nervous of steel.”
  • “Following is a grief overview of my skills.”
  • “GPA: 34.0”
  • “Graphic designer seeking no-profit career.”

Accountemps offers the following tips for creating error-free resumes:

  • Get help. Enlist detail-oriented family members, friends or mentors to proofread your resume and provide honest feedback.
  • Take a timeout. Before submitting your resume, take a break and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. You might catch something you missed the first time.
  • Print a copy. It’s easy to overlook typos or formatting mistakes when reading a resume on a monitor, so print it out for review. Read through it slowly and pay close attention to font styles and sizes, in addition to spelling and grammar.
  • Try a new perspective. Sometimes readers inadvertently skip over parts they have read previously. Review your resume backward to help avoid this problem.
  • Read it aloud. Your ears might catch errors your eyes have overlooked.

Accountemps has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com.

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