Bad Resume Example

If you’ve been preparing for your job search by reading up on the do’s and don’t of resumes and applications, you’ve probably come across plenty of resources that talk about just what a great resume looks like.  Strong formatting, plenty of organization and inclusion of all of your relevant work history and experience are all musts. What you don’t see often, however, are those examples of truly horrible, awful, just plain old bad resumes.

This typical omission from most advice columns is a shame, as it’s the poorly done forms that can often provide us the best feedback in what not to do. With that in mind, read on for a prime “Bad Resume” example and corresponding explanations on just what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes.

The Bad Resume:

John Doe


I want to be sucessful and move up in my career to make a lot of money.


Salesperson, TV Depot, Los Angeles, California

  • Hired and managed employees
  • Managed inventory
  • Customer service


  • USC
  • Class of 2016
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Bachelor Degree
  • GPA 2.0
  • Uni High
  • Class of 1999
  • High school Diploma


  • Skiing, swimming, archery, traveling

References Available Upon Request

The Bad Resume Breakdown

Even the most novice among us can probably spot one or two cringe-worthy moments in John “He Didn’t Really Just Write That, Did He?” Doe’s resume, but can you spot them all?  Here’s a breakdown of the numerous mistakes organized by section.

Resume Header

Not only is the resume header uninspiring from a design aspect, it also lacks relevant contact details.  Your header will be the first and most accessible piece of information on any resume. Be sure it contains your name, address, phone number and email contact details.

In addition, John’s “likes to party” email may have been cute with his fraternity friends in college, but is completely unprofessional and out of place in a work environment.  Don’t be like John and stick to emails in formats such as “” to avoid making the wrong impression.


As we’ve covered in the past, if you do opt to include an objective statement it should be succinct, relevant and help the interviewer or hiring manager understand your goals and motivation for applying for the specific position.  An improvement on this “bad” objective statement could look something like:

  • To use my experience as a sales manager and knowledge gained through my bachelor’s degree in marketing to earn a marketing job from a major electronics development company.

Also, did anyone catch the misspelling in the word “successful”?  Typos in a resume are a major red flag for an employer and are inexcusable for anyone with spell check or that professes to have superior “attention to detail” skills.


Listing your prior job responsibilities in the experience portion of your resume isn’t an effective method for communication just why you’re the right candidate for the position.  Be sure to use active sentences and highlight your relevant accomplishments. A great example of better wording here would have been: “Effectively managed team of team of salespeople resulting in exceeding sales goals for 12 months running.”


Where to begin on this section?  While your education background is important, it shouldn’t be the focus of your CV, especially if you have less than stellar results to show from your endeavors.  Here are a few areas where this resume was particularly bad:

  • If you choose to use abbreviations in your resume, be sure they are standard across your resume.  Best practice would be to avoid these altogether and write out items such as your university name (the University of Southern California instead of USC).
  • If your GPA isn’t going to make the grade, it’s best to leave it off entirely.  A 2.0 conveys to your employer that you had better things to do than study during your educational career.  Instead of a GPA, simply list your degree attained and move along.
  • Unless it’s your highest level of education, the name of your high school, or the fact that you obtained a diploma, isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be included on your resume.


Hobbies are a much-contested area when it comes to specifics on your resume.  The general rule of thumb in today’s modern job market is that if it isn’t relevant to your profession or the position you’re applying for, exclude them.  Instead, focus on professional certifications or list out community service activities you participate in to show an extra level of involvement and dedication.


Most modern hiring managers know that if they want to see your references they should ask the individual candidate.  Including the tired “references available upon request” line takes up valuable resume space that could be used for extolling your virtues as a candidate.

Overall Takeaways

A resume should be short, informative snapshots of your skills and experience.  Irrelevant or unprofessional information should be avoided at all costs and beware of typos.  Give your resume one or more proofreads before hitting send and consider asking a trusted friend or advisor to take a second look.  You only get one chance to make a great first impression so be sure a bad resume doesn’t tank your chances at scoring that job or career.

Article Updated from the Original on March 13, 2018