What Recruiters Hate Seeing on Resumes

The job market is increasingly competitive and it takes more than experience and a good education to land your dream job. You also need things like a positive attitude and communication skills to help you shine at the interview; if you get there. Before you are even invited to an interview you have to dazzle potential employers into thinking that you may be the best person for the job. Your foot in the door is your resume.

Recruiters Receive Huge Numbers of Resumes

What Recruiters Hate Seeing on Resumes

They scan through applications fairly quickly, looking for candidates that meet requirements and throw out the resumes they don’t like. First impressions last; if a CV is badly formatted, full of spelling errors or very long, it does not make a good impact. Spelling errors are not the only thing that makes recruiters dislike a resume. Here are some of the pet hates recruiters have, and how to avoid irking the very people who could pave your way to career bliss.


Focus on clearly displaying your education, experience, skills and basic personal information without fluff and filler text. Recruiters do not want to hear sentences like: “Interests: Running with my dog, although it is actually my sister’s dog but I love him and run with him every day after I cook”. Concise sentences or bullet points work well. For example:

Personal Interests:

჻ Animals
჻ Running marathons
჻ Asian Cuisine

Funny Formats

Bear in mind that the recruiters will need to open your resume to read it. They are not going to download software to view your resume. If you have strange formatting or if you create your resume in non-standard software, it is probably going out the window. Microsoft Word, PDF or RTF format should do the trick.

Irrelevant Information

Resumes should clearly show the elements that make the potential candidate suitable for the position. If you are applying for a role in marketing, it is not appropriate to write a paragraph about your experience at a cooking course when you just left school.


Be very very careful or simply avoid using any of the following:

• ‘I’m very enthusiastic’ – This can make you sound like a dog or a desperate talent show contender.
• ‘I’m passionate about…’ – Make sure that if you say you are passionate about something, you mean it. You may have been interested in numbers since you were 9, but passionate?
• Extensive experience in… – This is vague. Instead make a bulleted list like this:

Technology experience:

჻ ASP.NET – 5 years
჻ MVC – 2 years
჻ SQL – 7 years

• Watching TV and socialising – Most of us do this anyway, like walking and eating – it is not an interest. Should you decide to add an interest or two, make sure it adds value and does not make you sound like a mindless automaton.
Curriculum Vitae – Especially in large letters covering an entire page. Obviously it’s a CV/resume and we are no longer in the 80s.

A Lacklustre Profile

Profiles need punch. This is the area of your resume that decides whether recruiters continue reading it, or not. Keep it short and to the point. Tell yourself: “I need to shine here in just a few sentences” and imagine your entire application rests on these sentences – often it does.