what are the strangest things you’ve seen in resumes and cover letters?

Let’s discuss the weirdest things you’ve seen on resumes and in cover letters.

To kick us off, some highlights from past commenters:

  • One of my coworkers once received a super long cover letter that included the fact that the candidate had been proudly celibate for several years.
  • A college student applied for a summer internship by sending us copies of love letters he wrote to his high school crush as a proof of his writing skills.
  • A very light resume in the work history section, but a very detailed Karate section.
  • Listed in the “interests” section of a managerial candidate’s resume: “shitting.” Candidate called us shortly after applying, apologizing up one side and down the other because he’d just realized that his teenage son had made an unauthorized edit to his resume.
  • I once received a resume that contained a photo of the applicant. It was a formally posed shot of him standing in front of a bookshelf holding a book and looking thoughtfully into the distance. The same resume include a series of quotes about him from people he knew (think the kind of blurbs you find on book jackets). Unfortunately for him, I knew some of them as well and they confirmed they hadn’t either said those things or given him permission to use their names in his resume.
  • I will never forget the time we were hiring for a research assistant and indicated a preference for bilingual English/Spanish speakers. One applicant’s cover letter included: “I’m not bilingual or bisexual (that I know of).”
  • The candidate who listed “Birthed four children vaginally with no anesthetic” under “Other Experience.”

Please share the comments the oddest things you’ve seen on resumes and in cover letters!

{ 1,510 comments… read them below }

  1. NMitford*

    The guy who said in his cover letter that he bought all his clothes at Brooks Brothers. Yes, it was a public-facing job where a professional appearance would be important, but still….

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      I’d be more impressed by someone who was able to make some thrift store finds look like Brooks Brothers.

      1. Which Sister*

        My late father became a bit of a clothes horse as he got older. Jos. A Banks was his GO TO for everything. My boys are in college and love to thrift and they often find Jos A Banks button downs. It is quite a feat

        1. Aitch Arr*

          I just looked at a resume where the candidate spelled out the Jos. in Jos. A Banks. Which is not the actual name of the company.

          1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            Haha, that’s like trying to be more formal by saying you went shopping at Samuel’s Club, got a sandwich from James John’s, and then relaxed by watching some Thomas and Gerald cartoons.

          2. Susannah*

            OK, he doesn’t read this blog, so I’ll report that my husband (English not his first language) referred to that store as “Joe’s Bank.” And I said – what do you think? That it’s some kind of folksy, local place to keep your money? And now we both say things like, “I’ve got to get my colonoscopy – let’s go to Larry’s Hospital!”

      2. Stephanie*

        I found some fairly nice business casual when I worked in Phoenix. I worked for Big Household Name Shipper and they required we wear business casual in an unairconditioned warehouse (most of those clothes got ruined too because boxes are fairly dirty). Phoenix is a fairly casual city, so there were plenty of nice things in consignment or thrift there.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          I lived in Phoenix for a year during an internship! There was definitely a place we would go to thrift, especially for our gala (the internship was at a non-profit). Forget the name, but I found some nice stuff there.

          1. Quill*

            If you’re a fairly common size it can be really easy to find nice clothes secondhand. Doubly so if you’re a guy, their clothes tend to last longer.

      3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Or who got Brooks Brothers secondhand! My wife once got a beautiful Armani suit for $200 at a consignment shop.

        1. Artemesia*

          My oldest friend was the world’s greatest thrifter. She once found 3 brand new tags on Armani suits for her husband who was tall and thin — so the suits were his size and not a size that would work for the average guy — he cut a fine figure for awhile there. They were beautiful suits.

    2. Shoes*

      It sounds awkward, but not horrible. He just wanted people to know he dress in accordance to the dress code or appropriately.

      1. Broadway Duchess*

        Even if that’s the case, it isn’t a thing that would go in a cover letter.

  2. CubeFarmer*

    One candidate sent a portfolio with examples of his tattoo design work. Our work has absolutely nothing to do with tattoos, design, or anything human-body related. I think he was desperate to show any kind of experience, even if it had nothing to do with the field he wanted to enter. This, combined with other weaknesses in his application (not limited to a complete lack of work history) led the application to the “no interview” pile.

      1. CubeFarmer*

        I have no way to evaluate what’s a good or bad tattoo design. I think he was trying to show that he could be creative which…good, but maybe create something relevant to what you want to do professionally.

    1. Zona the Great*

      Ah man! Tattoo artists are such hard workers! I hope he made a transition that worked for him but I get why that wouldn’t have worked in getting an interview.

      1. CubeFarmer*

        Lots of people are hard workers! When I asked about opportunities (internships, shadowing, etc.) he took during his schooling to gain experience in our field he admitted that he did not think that was important at the time, but he later regretting not availing himself. This was during the recession when even people with pages and pages of experience where being passed over, so I didn’t feel too badly about not not interviewing him.

        1. White Dragon*

          I mean, I have an online profile that says I graduated from the Mysterious Academy of Ninja Secrets, but I left it off my resume.

          I get a lot of folks who express interest in attending my alma mater.

                1. TiffIf*

                  My dad would listen to Car Talk every week when I was growing up. I always found their end credits hilarious.

        1. What_the_What*

          Y’know, at a lot of places, had he only said “ass-kissing” instead, he may very well have been called in for an interview, as a “yes man” and be making his way in the business world as we speak!

          1. Pam Adams*

            P.G. Wodehouse had people in those jobs in hid Hollywood movie industry stories. Yes-men were the highest level, but you coud start out as a Nodder or Murmurer.

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          You need at least a Master’s in arse-kicking to be truly competitive in the job market nowadays. ;)

            1. Developer*

              A candidate had a cover letter that said, verbatim: If anyone had any sense, they would realize it does not take a college degree to be smart. The followed a
              curriculum that lead them down a path. I needed no curriculum and ive seen the ppl coming out of college.
              They are worthless and dont get any work done. If you dont hire me your not hiring somone that can get a job
              done. Enough said.

              It has become a running joke among people

              1. Jennifer Strange*

                I mean, I don’t disagree that a college degree doesn’t define intelligence, but that’s definitely not putting your best foot forward.

                1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

                  Yeah, that’s like writing in an online dating profile that [people of the gender you are hoping to date] are all liars and cheats and you’re sick of playing The Game so only message them if your serious and ready to commit to the Real Deal… or something like that. yikes.

    1. RagingADHD*

      I understand you can actually get a Certificate in Piracy from MIT if you take PE credits in fencing, sailing, pistol, and archery.

      1. Harper the Other One*

        Had teenage me known this, I might have changed career plans just so I could apply at MIT!

      2. Endorable*

        That is so fabulous I had to look it up.. and it’s TRUE! It does have a disclaimer on it though… The MIT Pirate Certificate is for entertainment purposes only and does not give the recipient license to engage in piracy or any pirate activities.

        Well darn I would love to be a licensed Pirate!

        1. Clemsonuee*

          Technically all you would need then is a Pirate’s favorite letter. A letter of marque from the Queen.

      3. Anon for this*

        It’s true! I was very disappointed this was only available for undergraduate students–as an employee, I would have loved to become a certified pirate!

        1. Not Totally Subclinical*

          Hmmm, if I ever win the lottery jackpot, I could always try to get a second undergrad degree….

    2. Web of Pies*

      Not a resume, but once I was laying out political candidate bios when I worked at a newspaper, and one of the candidates reported attending the “School of Hard Knocks.” There was more weirdness in his bio, but that’s the bit I remember. Like…sir.

      1. wavefunction*

        I recently saw some fantastic political bios in the Oregon voter pamphlet that got sent out. My favorite one included “Prior Governmental Experience: soon”. That candidate also listed seven other positions he ran for and lost perviously.

        I also enjoyed the candidate whose bio included no policy information and instead detailed four different geoengineering technologies he “invented” (I use quotes because he provided FACEBOOK links rather than any sort of patent information).

        1. beware the shoebill*

          I read both of those too, they cracked me up. And then the people who don’t even submit anything to the voter’s pamphlet. Seems like the bare minimum required to get any votes, but you do you!

        2. Reality.Bites*

          I’m not one to point out typos, but losing an election perviously is too deliciously true in many cases to not enjoy.

        3. Anonomite*

          Okay, which area was this in because I totally missed that Multnomah County and would have loved to read it. Also, did either win?

        4. lilacs*

          when I was a kid in pdx, the voter’s pamphlet was my favorite bathroom reading material – we always get some real gems. I remember an employed 18 y.o. mayoral candidate whose bio proudly extolled the virtues of their tv-based religion, ice cream, and laziness (iirc – that was the general gist, but my memory may be off re specifics bc it was long enough ago that we didnt have phones to read…).

    3. Nonanon*

      Well, yeah, it was a DEGREE in ass-kicking, not one of the standard certificates! He went above and beyond, and frankly it should be on his resume!

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I’d be interested to see that transcript.

        Also, he needs to meet up with karate guy in Alison’s post.

  3. Glacier*

    Wait, I have listed on my resume’s Skills/Other section that I’ve officiated nondenominational wedding ceremonies for several friends & family. Is that going to land me on this weird list?

    During my last job search, I had it listed and the interviewer asked whether I did that as a side job or part of religion or… and I got to talk about how I just love supporting other people and get excited about stuff that excites them. Each couple separately approached me; I didn’t advertise it as a service.

    Help! Should I take it off? I’m in a current job search in a different/more conservative part of the country and don’t want people to think I’m going to be weird.

    1. Czhorat*

      I’m not sure that this is the kind of thing that makes you a better candidate, which is the sole goal of a resume.

      Every detail, every experience, every trait or hobby you include should give a reason for a prospetcive employer to hire you. “I officiated my friends’ wedding” is a nice thing, but it doesn’t make you a stronger candidate than someone who didn’t. I’d leave it off.

      1. Teacher Lady*

        I completely agree! I review a fair number of resumes as a mentor to early career folks in my field, and I always tell them to take interests/other off their resumes.

      2. They knew and they let it happen*

        I agree with the overall thought, but I think that’s also too rigid. Plenty of people have a hobby or other section where they’ll list things like: Division 1 Basketball captain, Girl Scout troop leader, Habitat for Humanity, and so on.

        Those things might not directly correlate to being a data scientist or an accountant but it’s fine to humanize a resume imo.

        1. Snow Globe*

          If you are a leader/officer of a group, that speaks to leadership experience. But otherwise those interests are just taking up space on the resume, they aren’t going to help you in any way.

          1. They knew and they let it happen*

            As someone who hires people myself, I have no issue with it. I’d hate to learn one of the recruiters I work with passed on a good candidate because they listed a non-relevant hobby on their resume.

            1. Lisa*

              I don’t think it’s likely to get you rejected, but it’s not something that helps your candidacy either, so it doesn’t belong.

              1. They knew and they let it happen*

                You might be right in general, but I still don’t think that’s universally true. Let’s say I have an interview coming up and I look up the hiring manager and see he’s a classic car enthusiast.

                If my hobby happens to be restoring old cars, I’m certainly going to mention that in the interview or include it on the resume.

                If I go to the interviewer’s office and he has a photo of him and Stevie Nicks – I’m absolutely going to comment that Fleetwood Mac is one of my favorite bands.

                Neither of those things are work related but I would 100% mention them – what makes the resume so different that there’s no room for these things.

                1. Snow Globe*

                  But is that really going to help the candidate? If the resume would otherwise go into the “No” pile, are you going to schedule an interview anyway so you can talk about your shared hobby? Are you going to pass on a fantastic candidate so you can hire someone that likes the same things you do?

                2. Bruce*

                  Back when I was interviewing for jobs my senior year in college there was one employer who was interested that I worked on an old car a lot… they were looking for a process engineer to work in a fab.

                3. They knew and they let it happen*

                  @Snow Globe:

                  No of course not and I have the same thought – Would you pass on a fantastic candidate because they included one of these items in their resume? I wouldn’t .

                4. more fanfic*

                  I’m in the middle of interviewing right now (laid off). I’ve had interviews with 5 different companies in the last couple of months, and never did I know the hiring manager’s name before I submitted my resume. I also never knew the hiring manager’s name after I passed the HR screen, before chatting to the hiring manager. How do you find out their name? The companies I’ve interviewed with have ranged in size from 200-20,000 people.

                5. Star Trek Nutcase*

                  I interviewed separately with the chairman and several professors for a departmental secretary job eons ago. My resume listed my interests as reading and quilting (putting any interests was very common then). One professor spent 30 mins telling me about decoy ducks – I neither make them or hunt. Another professor told really lame jokes for 30 mins – I laughed because duh! Neither asked me about my skills or experiences. I did get the job (and the chairman was an amazing boss). Years later, I found out the jokester professor voted against me – cause I didn’t seem serious enough. I did alert him that wanting the job was why I laughed at his lame jokes. (A decade later he still used his lame jokes in interviews. Gotta love academia.)

                6. New laptop who dis*

                  I kind of do this. If I’m interviewing with someone, I’ll check them out on LinkedIn and possibly other socials, to see if they have any interests that stand out to me. For example, I once saw that my interviewer was a marathoner. So, I casually dropped a comment into our conversation “oh, I was thinking of something similar when I was my run this morning…”

                  It doesn’t matter that my “run” was to catch the bus. It made the interviewer think that I had something in common with them. People often automatically like people with similar interests to their own. I’ll take any edge I can when there’s a job I want on the line.

                  And yes, I got an offer :)

                7. Emmy Noether*

                  @ Snow Globe
                  Depends on the candidate pool. If you have a clear ranking with a few fantastic candidates, it’s not going to change anything. If you have dozens of ok candidates with basically the same CV and no standouts, it will be more random. You’re going to choose those that (1) you remember and (2) had some kind of positive thought about.

                8. Ancient Llama*

                  @ more fanfic: don’t worry it too much. I’ve gotten 8 jobs in 30+ years at 6 companies and only knew 2 hiring mgrs pre-HR screen (and never job searched more than 5 months for each).
                  If the job posting lists it, or you can find through your network, do that. If the hiring mgr has 2 great candidates they have to decide between and you , or @Glacier, made a connection, you might nudge yourself.
                  But knowing them or having a common hobby won’t help if you aren’t a qualified candidate.
                  And @Glacier:@Czhorat made a good point: if you can write about an outcome that translates to something useful at the new job, keep it. If not then remove for space/less to read (even 1 line less to read in 1 resume in a stack of 50 resumes is better for hiring managers.)

            2. Roland*

              I don’t think someone is going to pass because you officiated weddings, but it’s not going to help and you should probably use that space for something more useful unless you are very young and just don’t have anything better to put there.

              1. Wendy Darling*

                Yeah, IMO the biggest thing against that sort of thing is that it might not be the best use of limited space. If you have more relevant info and you’re running out of room it should be the first thing to go.

                Now, if you have the space? Probably not hurting anything unless your hobby/side gig is, like, kitten-punting.

              2. Bearly Containing Myself, Grrr*

                I’m not sure about that. If it’s a conservative part of the country, officiating a “non-denominational” wedding may be judged negatively by some people. In a more liberal area, where one’s religious affiliation or lack thereof isn’t held against someone, it could be an asset on a resume. In a conservative area where one is expected to belong to a Christian church, it could be detrimental.

        2. Nonsense*

          People usually list their hobbies if there’s some sort of transferable skill – being a basketball captain implies leadership skills, team management, coordination of resources, etc. They may or may not be skills that directly apply to the job, but they’re still workplace-useful skills. Just listing that you play basketball really doesn’t add anything.

          1. roann*

            Right, I work mostly in community engagement, so I have a “Community” section at the bottom of my resume. It lists a few positions I hold on community advisory boards, a leadership position at my nonprofit hobby org, etc. If I were looking for some other kind of work, I’d probably remove that section or re-work it to be relevant to a new field.

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              Ooh this is interesting – I have a similar section currently titled “Voluntary Experience” but “Community” would also cover it. It’s pared down to the transferable skills minimum covering areas that aren’t in the professional experience section eg finance and DEI.

          2. Media Monkey*

            or if they’re not in the US. in the UK it’s very common to include a hobbies and interests section. which definitely helps as an interviewer, particularly of people with limited work experience!

        3. Siege*

          But again, it makes your candidacy stronger. I included Toastmasters on my resume for a job where assisting with speech-writing was a requirement and I didn’t otherwise have that experience. Officiating weddings doesn’t make your candidacy stronger and I suspect Glacier otherwise either has a phenomenal resume where a quirk can be overlooked or is getting interviews only with people who find it interesting and want to know about it. I wouldn’t (and I also do officiate weddings) were it to end up in my applications, and it would be a reason to weed Glacier out if there was another equally compelling candidate on my list.

        4. RNL*

          I generally agree, but it’s context dependent. I have done a lot of hiring in the legal industry, and in our region it’s standard to include interests on resumes for law students, and not for lateral lawyer candidates.

          The interests section for law students helps 1) provide more context when their resumes are often very light because of how early career they are and 2) provide conversation starters in the highly standardized student interview process where we have back to back interviews that are literally 17 minutes long with a 3 minute break. Those conversations are used to assess soft skills which we consider important in our industry (not unproblematic, but there you are).

          1. They knew and they let it happen*

            Yes, i agree it makes much more sense for more junior people who are light on experience

      3. TheOtherOne*

        Generally I agree, but I dated someone in college who had won a very competitive national body-building championship. He said that it was not relevant to his employment (law) but that he got a large number of interviews just because people wanted to meet him. Since there are so many job applicants nowadays and it is so hard to catch a recruiter’s attention, is there some value in making your resume look “interesting” (without resorting to silly gimmicks?)

        1. learnedthehardway*

          In that case, it makes sense to leave that on because just competing in the competition indicates that this is someone who has a high degree of dedication and self-discipline to achieve that level of performance – regardless of the activity.

          Same with sports teams or other team activities, because they show the person has worked within a team towards a common objective.

          The officiating at a weddings is interesting, but whether it is a value add to a resume really depends on the kind of role to which the person is applying. If the OP is looking at a public facing role where they would have to speak in front of people or do sales calls, sure – it indicates a comfort with public speaking.

        2. zuzu*

          I include, as part of my first job out of college (a newspaper) a line about also doing film reviews, but not very well. It’s at the very end of my resume, it’s not relevant to most of my current skills or experience (I’m a law librarian, and had a career practicing law before I did that), but it’s one of those things that catches people’s eye and lets me know they read the whole thing.

          Because, really, there’s no reason for me to even include that job on my resume at this point other than that little joke. But the return I get on it is why I keep including it. It also lets me tell the story of how I started getting interested in researching law (I was writing an article about a murder trial and didn’t understand why the accomplice to a felony murder (who sat out in the car while his buddy burgled a liquor store and killed a state trooper who responded to the alarm) got the same charge as the actual murderer, so I went to the library and did some research).

      4. James*

        This is really job-dependent. There are certain roles where it matters if you are an interesting person (sales, strategy, public facing roles, roles combining technical competence with communcation and leadership abilities, roles within startups, roles with travel where you have to pass the “stuck in a Tier 4 airport” test.

        I’ve been in hiring committee meetings where such items were positively discussed.

        I also had a former colleague who listed his membership in LGBTQ groups to prevent himself from getting hired where his sexuality would wind up an issue.

        1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          When we bid on project, we include one-sliders on each proposed team member. A section each on project role. relevant experience, and background; I often include “work experience on all seven continents” as a shorthand for “won’t get lost easily, unfazed by cultural differences and erratic scheduling, and does nit need too much handholding”.
          The format is even shorter than a one-page resume, so tightly focused.

      5. Nicole Maria*

        Your comment is making me question myself a little. In “other experience” I list that I was managing editor of my college newspaper – which I think is relevant, but I also list the languages I speak (in addition to English), which are Dutch and Spanish — Spanish is obviously helpful, especially living on the West Coast of the US like I do, but should I take Dutch off, since it’s not something that makes me a better candidate? To date it has never been useful at a job.

        1. Orv*

          I feel like if you’re listing languages you speak you might as well list all of them. Plus it’s just an impressive achievement in the US, where most people barely speak one language well. ;)

        2. But what to call me?*

          Is Dutch taking up space that would otherwise be used by something more relevant? It’s just one word and it conveys some mildly interesting information, so I’d keep it. And who knows, it might appeal to an employer who likes the idea of having people who speak a variety of languages around, just in case they ever happen to need one of the ones that are less common in your area.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            As a translator I have to specify my working languages, and they are languages I have very deep and wide knowledge of. I do also mention the three other languages that I have a smattering of knowledge in, because it points to interests in other cultures (one I learned in order to travel to countries where the language was spoken, one I learned because my partner of the time was a native speaker of that language). You can never know too many languages!

      1. Carol*

        I think it used to be more common to include hobbies on a resume – I definitely did this during consulting interviews and was asked about that. Isn’t this along the lines of that?

        1. Teacher Lady*

          It may have been common in the past, but it’s not (and I believe, rightly so) anymore. It’s lovely that people have hobbies and interests, but they’re not relevant to the ability to do the job in most cases.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            Yeah, the fact that I read, craft, garden, and love the outdoors are great hobbies, but they’re very irrelevant to my ability to do my job. They don’t belong on a resume.

          2. Orv*

            This is the tricky thing with resumes. They go through fads and if you’ve been in the same job for ten years, your resume is likely to look odd and out of fashion when you start job searching again.

        2. DyneinWalking*

          I think it would work better if it was listed under “Hobbies/other” rather than “Skills/other”. The latter implies that it is somehow relevant to the job, while the former puts it firmly into the “irrelevant but interesting facts about me” category.

        3. londonedit*

          It’s still fairly common in the UK to have an ‘other skills and experience’ section, where you can list hobbies – but the point is that they shouldn’t just be ‘I like baking and watching films’, they should be things that showcase skills that are relevant to the job. So something like ‘Qualified rugby coach and assistant coach for St Trinian’s school under-9s’ is good, because you can use it to point to skills that are useful at work. You could maybe have one example along the lines of ‘Keen baker and winner of Middle Wallop WI medal for jam-making’, because that’s quirky enough to be a decent icebreaker, but it’s mainly about having things that show a) who you are outside of work and b) that you’re a rounded person and valued member of the community, with transferable skills from your outside-work activities.

          I think officiating at weddings would probably fall under the ‘quirky thing that might spark a conversation’ category, but if it’s just doing it for a few friends (i.e. you’re not a registered celebrant) then I think it’d come down to being a ‘quirky thing to mention as an extra’ rather than something to list prominently. If you’re worried about people bristling at the ‘non-denominational’ thing then I might also take that bit out and just say ‘Officiated at several weddings, writing speeches and maintaining running order on the day’ or something.

          1. Sharpie*

            Qualified rugby coach for the St Trinian’s under 9s would make one an expert at defusing situations…

            1. Cubicles & Chimeras*

              It’d make you an expert on a lot of things honestly, including managing chaos.

          2. Caffeine Monkey*

            I (UK) don’t have enough space for that on my CV any more, but I certainly used it when I was just starting off and needed something, anything, to make it appear I had some skills.

            Nowadays, if it’s something that’s especially relevant to my candidacy, it goes in the cover letter. Eg, current job made it clear they were a neurodivergent-friendly office, so I mentioned in my cover letter that one of my hobbies gave me experience of leading groups of neurodivergent people.

          3. K*

            Yes, it is common to see hobbies on resume, but I sometimes see hobbies mentioned on cover letter and as an interviewer, I do not like it for the reason I can’t fully understand. I recently interviewed someone who was quite accomplished amateur athlete, winning competitions etc. He won UK national competitions as a teen, but then chose to pursue a career not related to sports and continue doing sports as a hobby. He mentioned his athletic achievements on cover letter, saying that it “moulded him into a self-starting individual excelling in fast-paced environments” or something along that lines. He was applying for data analyst position. Am I wrong to be annoyed by it?

            1. Sarah*

              I think you are wrong. (I mean that gently though) Someone who has won national competitions in anything knows how to work hard, persevere, and handle high stress. I think all of those things are hugely valuable in the work environment. Can you put your finger on what annoys you about it?

              1. K*

                I am a competing amateur athlete as well. Succeeding as an athlete means that 1) you have time and money to do sports 2) you have right genetics 3) you are healthy and were lucky to not get any serious injuries (yet) 4) you train hard. So this resume line came across as out of touch and a bit classist. Even point 4 is not always a good sign. Some amateur athletes have huge and fragile egos, they keep training and competing mainly because they constantly feel the need to prove that they are better than anyone else. I’ve met a lot of people like that and it was not pleasant , so maybe my personal experience clouds my judgement.
                Also, that particular candidate won national competitions as a teen; he was in his late 20s at the time of interview and it was not his first job in this field, which made this cover letter line even weirder. We invited him for the interview because he seemed strong on paper, and found out that he massively exaggerated his technical skills on his CV. E.g. stated that he is “proficient in X method” but actually only took a short online course a few years ago. So this weird cover letter line turned out to be a part of the pattern.

              2. Florence Reese*

                This expectation associated with someone’s hobbies is exactly why I think it’s not helpful on resumes in most cases. I know several high school athletes who won national awards and do not work hard or handle high stress. One of them was a National Merit Scholar, team captain, golden boy, went to one of the best universities in our state, then decided that college was way better for partying than for studying and stopped trying. He dropped out, NCNS’d his first ever job in his life (grocery store) and refused to get another job or go back to school for…last I checked it had been 6 or 7 years. Just mooching off his mom, forever. I eventually had to stop checking in because it was so infuriating.

                He *had* lots of potential and was given lots of opportunities as a result, even as he intentionally avoided being an adult. But his performance a decade ago means nothing about who he is today and it sucks that he’s still given more leeway because we so strongly equate athleticism with quality.

        4. Stephanie*

          I’ve heard it suggested for consulting to help humanize candidates. Plus a lot of fresh out college or business school candidates can have somewhat similar experience.

        5. Double A*

          I think it depends on the job. I include some hobby stuff of my teaching resume, but it’s somewhat plausible that those interests might be relevant to the job because teachers get pulled into all sorts of random activities.

          1. Irish Teacher.*

            Yes, as a fellow teacher, I was going to say it can definitely be a benefit in our field. If you play a popular sport, that will often give you a boost as schools are likely to hope you’d be willing to coach a team.

            But yeah, it depends both on the job and on the hobby/skill. I don’t think officiating at weddings would be particularly relevant to teaching, but sports, instruments, artistic pursuits, debating, computer skills…all those things could well be.

            1. Kat*

              Officiating at weddings to me would indicate public speaking skills, social skills and being able to direct groups of people – that’s all relevant to teaching.

              1. Doris*

                As someone whose job involves lots of teaching, they have many other ways to judge your public speaking skills and teaching abilities. I had to give two talks, for example. They absolutely won’t see ‘wedding celebrant’ and think ‘wow, must be a good teacher.’ They will judge this by your previous experience, references, observations or student feedback (in universities).

              2. Irish Teacher.*

                It is, but your previous teaching experience would already speak to those (or even your student teacher, if you hadn’t any previous experience teaching). The hobbies section is meant to show what you can offer outside the classroom, skills that other teachers wouldn’t have but that could offer something else to your students, like your ability to coach a sport or direct a school play or teach an instrument.

        6. Labrat*

          I learned in the late nineties to put down hobbies… Granted this was the same class that strongly suggested
          we use hot pink paper for said resume. Maybe it was also bad advice.

          That said, you never know what will leap out at an interviewer. I do quality control and waste water analysis. My first lab job was in college… running pigs and rats on treadmills. Not really relavent to analytical chemistry. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been that helpful for a research job, since I just ran the treadmills. I did know what the study was for and what they looked at.

          Anyway, my first boss was interested in knowing what a Pig Runner (actual job title) was beyond my litte blurb. And apparently quite tickled about it as it came up first thing six months later when I interviewed for a full time position–and a couple other internal interviews I had with him.

        7. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          I include my hobbies because my field, translation, can touch on literally any subject in the world. If there’s a translation to be done on the subject of one of my hobbies, I’d love to do it. Since one of my hobbies is dressmaking, I was actually able to leverage my dressmaking knowledge to make fashion and textiles one of my specialist subject.

          When I worked at the agency, I once received a text to be translated about horses. I didn’t know anything about horses. I searched horses in our database and it threw up the name of a translator specialising in finance and tax, but who had listed horses as an interest of hers. I contacted her and she was delighted to do the translation, it made a refreshing change from the finance and tax stuff!

      2. Czhorat*

        You said the same thing I did, but with a thousand percent more efficiency.

        I’m proud that I used to be able to free-mount a unicycle and ride it around the block; that’s probably not useful for most jobs.

        1. They knew and they let it happen*

          It isn’t, and I probably wouldn’t list that either, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with listing hobbies/interests etc..

          If the point of a resume is to be a marketing doc for yourself, you’re marketing to other people, not robots. I don’t see why you can’t add a little human touch to it.

        2. Some Words*

          And yet I feel intensely jealous.

          I guess if one was applying for jobs which require a great deal of balance and quick instincts it might apply.

        3. Esmae*

          I did once get a temp position because I mentioned having dressed as a parrot for a play at some point in my initial interview. The temp position did, in fact, also involve dressing as a parrot.

        4. BikeWalkBarb*

          I’ve worked in active transportation in nonprofit advocacy and a public agency and if you said in your cover letter you still had this skill it could be considered relevant experience. It wouldn’t get you an interview over someone with a lot more direct experience in specific elements of the job description but I can guarantee all cover letters for our position mention how much they like riding or walking.

      3. Ann Nonymous*

        There’s been much discussion in a group of previous contestants of a well-esteemed t.v. show and if it’s appropriate to add that in an Other section of a resume. Most people think it makes your stand out as a candidate due to the smarts involved while also providing an entertaining bit of, ahem, trivia for interviewers to remember them by.

    2. Lady Danbury*

      I would remove it from the Skills section unless it’s somehow relevant for the jobs that you’re applying for, as it could make you seem tone deaf or out of step with workplace norms at best. If you’re really attached to including it, it should go in a hobbies/interests type section.

      1. Orv*

        Do people still do a separate “skills” section? I took mine out recently because I felt like it was making my resume too long, and I hadn’t been getting interview offers so I figured maybe it was making my resume look dated.

    3. wondermint*

      Not going to lie, it’s kind of weird! Unless it relates closely to what you do for work (public speaking comes to mind, but I still don’t think it’s great.) I personally would remove it.

    4. JustKnope*

      In my opinion, as long as the rest of your resume is normal and professional and shows your work accomplishments, I’d leave it in! As you saw in your example it’s a nice humanizing thing interviewers can ask you about. It’s not an inappropriate office topic and you only mention it briefly, which I think are good lines to draw.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        unfortunately there’s just too many jobs that will find it odd and irrelevant to risk you might get one that finds it “human interest”.

        interviewers aren’t in the habit of looking for interesting non-work related items to chat with applicants about. and most simply do not want irrelevant things on your resume – they’re trying to gauge if you fit the role.

        if in the interview they ask about hobbies or such, then its fine to bring up.

    5. Microwaved Anchovies*

      Does it have anything to do with the types of jobs you’re applying for? Because, yeah, I’d probably take it off and maybe put “public speaking” instead.

    6. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

      I’m curious to hear thoughts on this, too — Alison has suggested in previous columns that this sort of thing can be a good talking point for personality reasons (sort of like when an interviewer asks about your hobbies — they’re more interested in how you can hold a work-appropriate conversation than anything else) — but in light of the questions about religion, I wonder if this falls on the side of “too personal.”

      1. She of Many Hats*

        I have several odd hobbies/interests eg Renaissance Faire entertainer that I’ve included on resumes but also went into how they related to my work history such skills learned like public speaking, inter-personal skills, research, etc.

        I can see including the classic question about D&D in this manner: organizing calendars, event planning, collaborating on complex problem solving, creative writing….

        1. Marie Lobbezoo*

          Historical Reenactor Here: I finesse this into “Serve on the Board of two 501c3 Non Profit Organizations.”

          1. Pixel*

            Yep. “Serve on the regional board for 501c3 non-profit educational organization, regional education coordinator for same org (including managing yearly educational conference).”

      2. EngineeringFun*

        Ski race coach in my skills section is always a great conversation starter! I’m an engineer! Where do you ski? Downhill or cross country?. Like thru the flags? How fast do you go? Can you ski moguls?….

    7. Alex*

      I’d take it off unless it is relevant to the jobs you are applying for (like maybe….public speaking centered jobs?)

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        The public speaking skills demonstrated by the officiant side gig are broadly relevant even if it isn’t the main focus of a job. Many people will at least occasionally be asked to speak at a conference, to customers, or in meetings.

    8. Annony*

      I would take it off. It isn’t a work skill, it isn’t as crazy or off-putting as the things Alison listed but it isn’t relevant and so distracts from actual skills you want to highlight.

    9. HannahS*

      I don’t think it’s a sign of weirdness, but to me it’s about equivalent to saying that you bake cakes for family events, or that you like to organize hiking trips for friends. It’s a fun fact, but it doesn’t say much about you professionally because you don’t have a professional relationship with the people to whom you provided the service.

    10. Observer*

      I’m in a current job search in a different/more conservative part of the country and don’t want people to think I’m going to be weird.
      Reply

      Well, if I saw this in “Other” and the rest of the stuff there was clearly just interesting personal stuff, it wouldn’t help but it probably would not hurt. But, if you put it in “Skills” (even if you join it with “Other”) you are not going to look “weird”. But you are going to look like a real potential problem. Because it’s totally not work relevant, which is what I (and our HR) care about when it comes to skills. So we’d be worrying why *you* seem to think it’s work related.

    11. What_the_What*

      It all depends. To me, “other skills” is “things that could be related to this job or assist me in being more productive at it, that aren’t necessarily called out for in the ad but I’d like you to know.” But, that’s pretty wordy :)

    12. Area Woman*

      I would remove it. It is more of a family and friend thing, where those folks would not have any kind accountability (if you messed it up, its only a one time thing). Similar to “babysitting my nephews” or “organizing monthly brunch for my mom friends”. If it were for work, it would be a good skill (childcare, event planning) but these situations you don’t get feedback or review. I would consider it highly irrelevant.

      1. ferrina*

        I agree with this take.

        I’ve known plenty of people that got online accreditation to do a friend’s wedding, and usually the friend officiating is not as good as someone that has more experience. I mean, it’s special for the couple, which is what a wedding is all about, but it’s not better for a broader audience (which is what businesses usually focus on).
        I would be put off.

      2. Lozi*

        I think this is a great filter for what belongs on a resume! I agree to take off the wedding work unless you did it within a certain organizational structure (i.e., non-denominational church leadership, and you are applying for similar jobs). In more conservative/religious areas, I actually think you risk offending people whose job it is to conduct religious ceremonies if your expression of it seems flippant.

    13. bamcheeks*

      It depends if you’re applying large companies that have formal HR-led recruitment or smaller companies and agencies where personal quirks play a bigger role. Tons of small employers are all about the “I want to know what kind of person you are and what yoh do outside of work!”

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, totally a thing in book publishing. Even though a lot of the small publishers have been swallowed up by bigger ones, there’s still a big ‘we want to know who you are as a person’ vibe.

    14. WellRed*

      Sorry, anything on your resume that leads the interviewer to ask you about religion is not a thing to have on your resume.

    15. Glacier*

      Thanks to everyone for the helpful feedback, including perhaps putting it under a “Public Speaking” section.

      I’m a director applying for director-level positions or consulting work and the rest of my resume is Very Professional, e.g., I analyze XYZ annually, secured ABC funding, managed XYZ projects.

      I originally thought of it as an accomplishment (it can be a good amount of work and responsibility, and I thought spoke well of my relationships with others), but it looks like others see it as a hobby, so I think I’ll remove it.

    16. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I’m not sure if you’ve been paid for your officiating — often it’s more of a honorarium — but you could possibly list it as other work experience …if you need to. I don’t think side gigs really belong on most resumes, but if it flows naturally in conversation it’s fine to say something in the interview, “Tell us more about yourself.” “I have a passion for helping people and have officiated 5 weddings. I volunteer at…” that sort of thing.

    17. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      My go-to answer for this sort of question is “if it’s not relevant, leave it off.”

      And then my go-to caveat is that I worked with a job seeker who had “Euchre” listed in a hobbies and interests section. And got the job because everyone in the small business played Euchre at lunch time.

      If there’s room, sometimes it’s not terrible to humanize yourself. (Although I like to do that by humanizing in my LinkedIn profile, where there’s a lot more room.)

    18. Rage*

      I have some friends that also do this; from what I’ve seen, officiants need to be somewhat familiar with local laws around marriages (wait time for marriage license, due date for submitting the signed license, etc.) So if you are doing all of THAT (and not just standing up and having couples read their vows in front of you), I’d say it’s somewhat relevant.

      Maybe say “Ordained Marriage Officiant in [state]” – because you are, but the implication there is that you are following laws and regulations surrounding your ordination.

      1. RagingADHD*

        If you say you’re ordained, you are definitely inviting questions about your religious affiliation, since that is a specifically religious office.

    19. theletter*

      I think that’s something that’s worth having a on a linkedin profile, if you’re open to increasing that business, but on a resume you only want to list skills relevant to the job/industry.

      I’d think of it in terms of ‘If I started a new job, and someone just pointed to a desk where there was a list of ‘____’ that needed to be ‘_______’, I would just sit down and do that, no explanation needed.’ What are the blanks?

    20. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      It looks like I’m in the minority here, but as someone who interviews on the hiring side, I like that sort of thing. I feel like the shift away from that is part of the shift of not viewing employees as humans but as resources. Probably related: we have a very good office culture.

      1. Kara*

        How is it for diversity, though? One of the problems with that sort of thing is that it encourages hiring people ‘just like me’ rather than genuinely hiring people on their own merits. If that’s not a problem where you are, do you mind if i ask how you go about combatting it?

        1. allathian*

          That’s a very good point. I also think that academic achievement should be the only thing that counts for college admissions, not how little sleep you can live on and still get great grades. And no high school jock should get a pass on poor academic achievement just because they’re good at sports… But I know I’m living in a dreamworld.

          Many young people live such overscheduled lives, and if your parents can’t afford all the extracurriculars, you’re stuck.

        2. Media Monkey*

          as someone who likes this (and lives in a country – UK – where it is a common thing to have on a CV) it just gives me something to chat to them about. i have a job where personality and being able to hold a conversation and small talk with people you don’t know all that well is important. and there’s only so long you can chat about the weather. i don’t care if you have a qualification or do the thing to a high level or what it is at all – happy to chat about watching football/ playing rugby/ volunteering/ crafting/ painting/ DIY/ writing/ travelling/ gaming.

          1. Blue Horizon*

            As someone who has done a lot of resume reviews and interviews in the past, I like it too, although I’d suggest putting it at the end and limiting it to a small amount of space.

            It won’t help you get an interview with me, but if you do get an interview, then I’m quite likely to mention it as an icebreaker and do a bit of small talk around it at the start. If it’s something that talking about for a few minutes will relax you and calm your nerves, then include it by all means. Help me to help you!

    21. HonorBox*

      I think if the role includes some sort of public speaking component, this is something that could be beneficial, as it highlights your ability to do so. But in general, it may not be terribly helpful… especially as you mention, in certain areas of the country/world.

      1. Usually lurking*

        I think it really depends on the role. For example, I have a volunteer section that always includes my roles in professional organizations. I’m also a board member for my church. Normally I leave that off because of the religious nature even though it’s a leadership position. When I applied for a nonprofit I put it on because it shows familiarity with nonprofit organizational roles.

    22. WantonSeedStitch*

      It doesn’t raise my eyebrows, but it does kind of make me shrug and go “so what?” If you were applying for a job that required skills like event planning, I could see it being relevant, but it’s really a small niche of jobs for which I would think it makes sense to include it. I mean, I wrote my own ceremony with my husband, trying to make a ceremony that reflected our religious beliefs accessible and not offensive to wedding guests with very different beliefs, without watering it down so much that it became bland. It was quite a challenge, and I’m very proud of it! But is it relevant to any job I’d be likely to apply for? Nah.

    23. Our Business Is Rejoicing*

      Are you solely an officiant, or do you help couples plan ceremonies, including writing vows, etc.?

      Because if you do the latter, and you’re going into a job with a writing and/or speaking component, that could be a good skill to list. I’d skip the part about your qualifications to be an officiant and just focus on the writing/speaking skills portion if relevant to the job you’re looking at.

      (I say this because I’m a ceremonialist for a hobby group; it hasn’t come up as related to any job I’ve applied for, but if I were looking at a job where planning ceremonies of any kind, or even formal events, was in the job description, I’d probably mention it because it’s a fairly unusual skillset that folks do not always think of.)

    24. samwise*

      Take it off unless it is specifically pertinent to the job you are applying for.

    25. Storm in a teacup*

      I think it’s how you’ve phrased it. So if it’s I like connecting with and supporting people, so enjoying officiating non-denominational weddings….
      It’s a nice thing to include under the other/ interests section.
      Personally as a hiring manager I appreciated this section to humanise the candidate as I worked in such a team based, frontline healthcare environment. I wouldn’t make a decision on to interview or not on this unless someone put something really egregious. In one case there were 2 candidates who I couldn’t decide which to shortlist and one had volunteered in our specialty so got the edge.

    26. nonprofit llama groomer*

      I’d advise you take it off because it doesn’t add to your work experience unless you are looking for work in a public speaking or creative role.

      Things that you can add as Other even if it has nothing to do with your job: VISTA/Peace Corps/Americorps/Teach For America; Girl Scout Gold Award/Boy Scout Eagle Scout; military service; or something similar.

      You need to think really hard about including anything else.

      1. nonprofit llama groomer*

        When I say military service I mean something like JROTC or ROTC when you didn’t go into the military afterwards. Obviously military service is relevant job experience.

  4. Jennifer Strange*

    We once received a resume in which the candidate felt the need to mention she was a “hummus enthusiast” under hobbies. I mean, I like hummus too, but I guess not enough to be an “enthusiast”.

    1. Trotwood*

      I reviewed a resume where the candidate listed one of her hobbies as “Reddit.” I mean, me too, but it’s not going on my resume…

      1. Archi-detect*

        I personally went from an enthusiastic and proud reddit user to a content reddit user to a reddit user who didn’t like to talk about it, to someone who reads the occasional askreddit

        1. PropJoe*

          Sorta similar here:
          I went from:
          – MetaFilter user who proudly sneered at the hoi polloi scum on reddit,
          – to trying it out and thinking it wasn’t so bad once I got off default subs,
          – to installing Apollo on my phone and spending an unhealthy amount of time on reddit,
          – to last year basically quitting cold turkey when they decided to kneecap third party apps.

          I’m upset with the changes but the silver lining is that I spend more of my workday actually working.

          1. Jinni*

            Killing the 3d party apps made me quit cold turkey as well. AITA was taking too much time in my day for sure.

        2. Cat Tree*

          I like when content aggregator sites give me the “best of” reddit posts so I don’t have to wade through all the filth to find the good stuff.

        1. Nicole Maria*

          Someone using Reddit is obviously fine but I would consider it at least an orange flag is someone was serious enough about it to list it on their resume. Especially in recent years I feel like the quality of most subs has gone way downhill and there is a lot of misinformation and just overall weirdness on there.

    2. Alisaurus*

      That feels like one of the titles they would’ve used on Unwrapped years ago (I recently found it on HBO Max and have been rewatching for the fun and nostalgia of it).

      1. Alphabittle*

        one of my favourite lines from Two Point Hospital: “prolific user of the alphabet”

    3. AngryOctopus*

      I do want to know what separates a hummus “enthusiast” from one who simply likes hummus.

      1. Chili*

        At family dinners, one of my relatives gets his own portion of hummus equivalent to the amount that the rest of us share. We like hummus. He’s an enthusiast.

      2. Cyborg Llama Horde*

        I won’t say it’s the only bar, but including it on your resume is certainly *a* bar.

        1. Evan Þ*

          Now I’m imagining a hummus bar, where you can order all sorts of designer hummuses. I’d like that far more than the traditional sort of alcohol bar!

  5. Lady Danbury*

    I can’t think of anything worth submitting, I’m just here for the laughs! Shitting had me literally LOLing at my desk.

    1. Double A*

      I am dying at that one. I would absolutely interview that candidate (after the explanatory phone call).

      1. Penny Hartz*

        And my first question when interviewing them would be, “So, how long is your son grounded for?”

      2. Mim*

        Absolutely, same! Like, it feels kind of wholesome. Of all the things a teen could do to prank their parent when given free and full access to their resume, that is such an understated but freaking *hilarious* choice. Like, it truly shows a top notch sense of humor and ironic sense of restraint, given that they touched the thing in the first place. A kid who hated their parent and wanted to do something mean could have done something way more obvious, lewd, etc. I feel like this is a family I would want to know. Immediate interview. Green (and brown, haha) flag.

        1. Katy*

          Really? To me it’s horrifying to think of a kid deliberately sabotaging their parent’s job search. That’s a prank that could have major consequences for the whole family. It would be hard to feel good about paying college tuition for someone who tried to keep me from earning a salary.

            1. Katy*

              Have you ever sent out a resume to a job you really wanted, or been unemployed for long enough that every application matters? If you were trying your hardest to get an interview and found out someone had altered your resume to get you screened out, would you really consider that just a silly prank? it’s one thing if a small child does it, but a teenager is old enough to understand that messing with another person’s job is malicious.

          1. Don’t make me come over there*

            I used to work with grown men who would prank each other constantly. One of them stepped away from his desk and the other changed the sign-off on his in-process email from “Sincerely,” to “Love,”, assuming the first guy would notice before he hit send. Reader, he did not.

            1. allathian*

              Ouch! Leaving your desk without locking your computer at my office would get you written up at least.

            2. Chas*

              During my PhD a fellow student in my group walked away from her computer in the communal student office while she was working on a presentation and the guy sitting next to her changed the phrase “mutant protein” into “mutant boob protein”, also thinking she’d notice before showing it to anyone.

              She didn’t, but our PhD supervisor did! Luckily for her he was a lovely guy with a good sense of humor, but she certainly never left her computer unlocked in that office again after that!

      3. ADHD*

        same on would interview after the apology story (if they were otherwise qualified).

        kids man…

    2. Phony Genius*

      I am imagining the manager hearing the apology and saying to the candidate “so you’re saying that you’re not interested in shitting? Sorry, but we don’t to hire anybody who is anal retentive.”

    3. Excel-sior*

      *looks around nervously knowing that “shitting” is one of the few things I’m good at in this life*

    4. Bast*

      I love this. I believe I’ve read it before, but no matter how many times I see it I chuckle every time.

    5. an infinite number of monkeys*

      Was it Dave Barry who told the story of a friend who had composed an important business letter and left it in her typewriter, went to mail it and realized before sealing the envelope that her teenaged son had typed “P.S. Don’t forget to fart” at the bottom?

      He was so disappointed that she caught it.

      1. The yellow dog of workplace happiness*

        Yes, you remember correctly, and I immediately thought of the same story.

        I believe it’s from the book “Dave Barry is not taking this sitting down”

    6. Melissa*

      As the parent of a 12 year old boy, I LOVED the “shitting” one. I bet that parent wanted to absolutely throttle his kid.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, absolutely. That said, I’m pretty sure my son who’s nearly 15 wouldn’t do that, mainly because he absolutely hates being pranked himself, and he’s smart enough to figure that you have to be able to take it if you want to dish it out.

        I feel the same way. Pretty much the only times I felt like playing hooky when I was a kid was on April 1. I hated being pranked then and I still do.

    7. mreasy*

      It doesn’t matter how many times I have seen it I can’t not laugh at the teen editor’s work!

    8. A large cage of birds*

      I forgot about that one and it delights me. I feel for the guy, but it’s really funny.

  6. wondermint*

    Not a resume/cover letter, but I once was handed a business card for a videography who gave himself the title of “Media Mixologist”

    It’s not the most egregious thing to call yourself, but it gave me a cringe-induced chuckle.

          1. wondermint*

            To me, it’s chintzy self actualization by way of LinkedIn influencing and people who look for “rockstars” on job descriptions.

            But hey, it was memorable

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              It makes me think that they’re really into creating montage sequences.

    1. Web of Pies*

      I once designed “potential lunch winner” business cards for myself (more like social cards, I guess) but never was brave enough to print/hand them out.

        1. business cards don't have to be boring*

          My parents have “retirement” business cards that they hand out to new people that they meet in their retirement community when they relocated. Also knew a lady who retired and made herself personal business cards with just “Remember Me” on the front with her contact info on the back. That was 10+ years ago and I still remember that card.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            I think we had ‘calling cards’ before we had ‘business cards’. It would have the person’s name and maybe a little filigree, but not always contact information. You’d hand it to a servant when you dropped in, they would take it to the resident, who would then decide if they were “up for receiving visitors”.

            Sounds like your acquaintance was bringing that back!

            1. allathian*

              Indeed. There’s a lot of this in the early Poirot stories. Poirot even had several different designs that were intended to appeal to different people.

    2. ICodeForFood*

      I know a guy who, in his youth (his 20s), had a card that declared him to be “David Lastnname, Rogue.” (It had his real last name, of course.)
      And I once worked for someone in the printing industry, who offered to have business cards made for me, naming my title as “Grand Poobah.” I should have taken him up on it.

  7. Medium Sized Manager*

    Last year, I received a “resume” that was a couple of pages of references where previous coworkers from the 90s shared glowing reviews. There was zero job experience or information, and the most recent year was 1997.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Haha! It sure is tough out there for all the time travelers who don’t put in fake experience for the years they skipped (or perhaps aren’t entirely sure what year they landed in).

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          And how do vampires even find gainful employment? Do they just have to start vampire nightclubs or live off their investment income?

          1. CommanderBanana*

            I would love to see a vampire movie that is about a really old vampire who is not rich and doesn’t live in a manor or have staff. Just out there hustling at 700 years old or something.

            1. Miette*

              Naturally, he would learn to tend bar, change his name to Jackie Daytona, and become coach of the local women’s volleyball team.

            2. White Dragon*

              There’s a book series that speaks to this – Fred the Vampire Accountant

              Yes he works from home. As far as he was concerned, his new diet and allergy to sunlight didn’t change his essential interests and nerdy personality.

          2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            The obvious answer is night shift, anything from stocking shelves when the store is closed, to IT operations or emergency coverage for a business that’s open 24/7, or answering late-night Poison Control phone calls.

            People might wonder why a subway conductor, say, didn’t want to move off the night shift, but they’d probably accept any halfway-plausible explanation, because they want to believe that someone is happy to take the “undesirable” schedule. Sure, you can’t work for the MTA forever, but it’s probably good for a couple of decades.

            Or, nowadays, all sorts of fully-remote office jobs.

            1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              If they haven’t at some point forged ID paperwork, and kept doing so to maintain a plausible age, they’re going to need to have more under-the-table work than some of these.

            2. 3-foot inflatable rainbow-colored unicorn*

              Can confirm that “I don’t want to get skin cancer again” is accepted a valid explanation for that.

          3. EC*

            It would be a lot easier recently with remote work being an option. Other than that, there’s night shifts. Now I kind of want a book about a poor vampire who works overnight at the Waffle House.

    1. AnonInCanada*

      That 26+ year “employment gap” oughta be a doozy when you ask for an explanation. Maybe they’re the reincarnation of Rip Van Winkle? :-P

    2. Mim*

      Eek! My first thought is that it’s someone who has spent those years as a stay at home parent, and wants (or needs) to get back into the workforce, but has no guidance or clue of what to do to make themselves look like a decent candidate.

      1. Not-So-New Mom (of 2)*

        Yeah, I find the other comments a little tasteless tbh, this sounds to me like a person who might not have anticipated re-entering the workforce ;(

        1. Nicole Maria*

          The employment gap itself is not the issue, it’s the lack of any relevant work information that probably did it

      2. Oregonbird*

        There is nothing that will. And yet there are thousands who have such gaps through ill-health, failed retirement, economic downturn following industry implosion, all leading to elders the AARP chirpily informs can work until they die – where, doing what?!?

    3. Zona the Great*

      That was Morty Seinfeld. His son fell on hard times (comics are so wishy washy). His experience with the beltless raincoat speaks for itself. Hire the man.

    4. lina*

      I got one last year that was a list of publications and the names of all the grad students they’d supervised!

      This was not a job supervising grad students or publishing papers. They may have had some expertise in the actual subject area, but I wasn’t gonna download all of those papers (or even the abstracts) to check.

  8. CzechMate*

    I work in higher ed. Every year, my office hires an undergraduate student intern for the summer. Some of them work with the career center, which dutifully instructs them to explain “What have you accomplished in this role that no one else could have?” and “What skills have you learned in your previous roles that you will apply to this new position?”

    One notable applicant a few years ago listed some previous experience in the campus biology lab on her resume. She wrote that one of her job duties was to “ethically and humanely euthanize fish used in experiments while thanking them for their contributions to science.”

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I like that one. I mean she did what she had to do in clearly a thoughtful way.

      1. CzechMate*

        Yes. I’m a vegetarian who famously used to offer to do my classmates’ homework if they would do my biology dissections, so in fairness to her, this is about the best way you can spin something that’s otherwise kinda ghoulish. We almost hired her.

        1. Quill*

          Also relevant: the attitude is neither squeamish nor flippant, which is really important in animal research roles.

    2. Janey-Jane*

      Oh man, bless – The thing is, they’re pretty close! “Ethically and humanely manage lab subjects in a safe and respectful manner” is just specific but neutral enough.

    3. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

      Welp, it’s not necessarily something no one else could have done, so I can only conclude it’s a skill she’ll apply to future positions.

      1. Viking Tuba*

        A future HR candidate- ‘ethically and humanely terminate employees in a safe and respectful manner

          1. Keyner*

            I hire editors. Something like 90% of candidates send in resumes and cover letters with typos.

            One especially memorable candidate that my boss decided she just had to speak with spent the entire interview complaining that he clearly wasn’t getting work due to age discrimination. He got very worked up and even said a couple nasty things about members of my (younger) generation while I sat there with a smile pasted on. The real problem was that his resume was four pages long with dozens of typos. I decided not to tell him. I did peek at his LinkedIn later and see that he also spent a lot of time posting there about how nobody wants to hire a guy his age.

            For what it’s worth, my boss was older than him. He must have known that at least one person in his age range was doing just fine.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          I feel like this is the kind of thing that the most recent version of Arnie’s Terminator would put on his resume.

    4. Jessica*

      I love the thought of the fish disposal minion in a lab thanking them for their contributions to science! This might not be fully in line with professional norms, but it made me want to hire this undergrad. :-)

      1. Nesprin*

        This should be in line with professional norms- we thank our research animals in my lab!

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I feel like it’s similar to being polite to ChatGPT or Siri in that it makes far more difference to the thanker than the thankee.

      2. ArlynPage*

        I’ve been in hundreds of research labs, and I would say the majority of the people who worked with animals did express gratitude to the animals for their contribution to science.

        1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          That’s actually nice to hear!

          I once had a temp job indexing research reports for a major pharmaceutical company and entering them into a newly adopted computer database. The materials I worked with were what’s called “preclincal” studies, which means all the testing that has to be done on animals before a drug can be tested on humans (“clinical” studies). The number of animals involved was much greater than I ever realized.

          Fortunately for me I am not vegetarian and I understand the value of animal testing in medical research, so I didn’t have any ethical qualms that got in my way, but the sheer volume got a little depressing after a while. I did this work for a year and wasn’t really sorry when it ended.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      That’s adorable. “While thanking them for their contributions to science.”

    6. Teacher Lady*

      I work in public schools, so I review a non-zero number of resumes that haven’t been properly proofread that discuss candidates’ experience working for “[City] Pubic Schools.”

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I think anyone working in a “public _____” field should, first thing, remove the word “pubic” from their spellcheck so that their computer will always flag it.
        Signed, a public health major.

        1. Lisa*

          Really, unless you routinely do work where the word “pubic” is relevant, everyone should remove that word from spellcheck.

        2. Serving in the Pub(l)ic Interest*

          Same.

          Signed,
          Public Utility Commission analyst who reads pubic comments on pubic utilities, pubic access, pubic service, and pubic servants in the pubic interest on a distressingly regular basis.

            1. Doris*

              I stopped even finding ‘pubic space’ funny after a while, because it was discussed in so many essays.

      2. COHikerGirl*

        My degree is in Evolutionary, Population, and Organismic Biology. Only one version of my resume had Orgasmic. I noticed it pretty early on, luckily, and now make sure every time before saving my PDF that it is still Organismic. (That degree no longer exists and just for that one word, I am glad. They renamed it and redid some requirements.)

      3. WorkingRachel*

        Just for fun, I searched my personal email, the one I’ve had for at least 15 years, for the word pubic. One reference to a school dress code, two pieces of erotica I critiqued for people, a book I completely forgot I edited with legitimate references to pubic health, and one poor soul who said an apartment was close to “pubic transportation.”

      4. Turanga Leela*

        This comes up for lawyers as well. I’ve seen the phrase “Pubic Defender” on resumes.

    7. Manders*

      I literally say “thank you for your service to science” before I euthanize mice at my research job.

      1. RC*

        100% the reason I went far out of bio into physics instead, but I’m glad some people do this.

    8. Rage*

      “What have you accomplished in this role that no one else could have?”

      First of all, though I’m great and all, surely there are other people on this planet who could also have accomplished (and perhaps HAVE accomplished, in other roles) the same things that I have – but that doesn’t negate the fact that *I* lead *this* project with *this* outcome, or spearheaded *this* initiative, or developed *this* training, or whatever. My resume would be pretty weird if I had to restrict it to only things that I am the only person who could do those things. Let’s see…maybe “possession of unique set of fingerprints and DNA” would suffice?

      If a hiring manager only wanted someone who could do “something nobody else could” – well, then, sorry, I can’t rule out the capabilities of every other human, living or dead, or even an infinite number of monkeys. :p

      (Speaking of which, anybody know of an infinite number of monkeys who may be seeking a contractual position? I could use their help.)

      1. Infinite Librarian*

        I don’t know about monkey, but they did make a digital version of the Library of Babel, which is functionally very similar.

    9. DramaQ*

      If she was applying for a lab being able to ethically and humanely euthanize anything is a HUGE plus.

      And as long as it is not straying too far into anthropomorphizing animals I would appreciate that she thanks them too. I made it a point when training people to tell them that this animal is dying for your experiment. You owe it to them to treat them with respect, compassion and be as careful as possible to not waste this animal’s death. If you can’t do that then you have no business being here.

    10. TD*

      That’s sweet and benign. I remember getting a resumé for a higher ed administrative assistant position from someone wildly overqualified — they had (or claimed they had) a PhD and real experience in “nuclear weapons handling” which was hilariously incongruous for someone applying to that role. Then again, this was 2008-9 and the job market was dire.

      For that same role, I got a resumé from a former bouncer/DJ named “Ms. Fire”. Lol.

      1. TD*

        Actually, I think it was “Ms. Fyre” or something like that. Her actual, listed name on the resumé.

        1. BikeWalkBarb*

          I’m imagining them managing the line of people who want appointments with the dean. Could weed out some of the complaints.

    11. Dinwar*

      Humanely killing animals is actually marketable. I’ve done several projects and been on more where sampling of animals or parts thereof was involved–it’s one way to determine how contaminants migrate through the trophic levels. One of the more amusing anecdotes: When I asked how one bulk-samples fish tissue, the person referred me to the SNL skit “Bass-0-Matic 3000”. The official ASTM method is less messy, but otherwise…yeah, that’s how it’s done. Knowing how to humanely kill the animals being sampled is somewhat tricky, and knowing that can protect the institution from a lot of potential liability and bad press.

      I would think a person who wrote about thanking the animals on their resume was a little weird, but honestly normal people do not go for this sort of work, so that’s not a deal breaker. Frankly I’m more comfortable with people that are open about their oddness–again, ain’t none of us normal, and those that are open about it tend to last longer! And thanking the animals isn’t nearly the weirdest thing I’ve seen. I remember one site where there were a bunch of biologists, paleontologists, and archaeologists doing environmental compliance oversight, and the workers were terrified of us. Among us discussions of decay and gifts of small dead animals are normal; for anyone else, it’s apparently extremely disturbing.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        So you’re saying that when I talk to my cells, that’s not normal? I tell them to do a good job when I treat them with things. Sometimes I say “Hello my babies” when I take them out of the incubator to check how they’ve grown.

        1. Enai*

          I would think it’s perfectly normal to do that? I make my own chicken broth and I always name the carcasses I use in order to remember that they were living chickens who had a job (laying eggs) and in the grand scheme of things were no less important than me.
          They’re always named Bertha.

          1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

            I always try to thank the animals when I eat meat. If nothing else it helps me remember where it comes from, and not to waste it.

          2. BikeWalkBarb*

            My friend who has hens for their eggs and a rooster to guard them got a batch of male chickens they raised specifically for meat. Collectively they were referred to as The Nuggets (and they were treated very humanely until they provided their services for the freezer and future meals).

            1. Enai*

              Alas, mine come from the supermarket and have spent their lives factory farmed for eggs. I console myself that they would’ve been slaughtered anyway even if I didn’t buy their remains. Your friends chickens probably not only have nicer lives, they taste better, too!

            2. Stopgap*

              My family used to have chickens named Tender, Nugget, Soup, Schnitzel, and Pot Pie. We didn’t actually eat them, though we did eat their eggs.

        2. Dinwar*

          I’d consider it perfectly normal behavior. I talk to fossils and rocks (when they talk back it’s either time to leave the prep lab for the day or turn on the fume hood). But my perception of what’s normal is rather wildly skewed.

        3. Wendy Darling*

          This is much nicer than the way I talk to the technology I work with. Yesterday I asked my monitor if it was going to connect to my laptop or if it was going to keep being a little asshole.

        4. Quill*

          “Hello Germs” is a requirement when you want them to grow, “please go die” is when you find a contaminant happily colonizing your plate.

        5. New Jack Karyn*

          So, I read your first line without clocking that you’re a scientist. Just thought you randomly thanked your own cells for functioning, keeping your body in good working order. Go, mitochondria!

    12. Wide-eyed*

      I once hired someone for an entry level position who was making a career change from working in a research lab.

      When I called her reference at the lab, he assured me that she could not only do dissection, but also minor surgery on small animals.

    13. Mom2ASD*

      There are very few things that an undergrad intern could do that nobody else in the role could accomplish. I have visions of my ASD undergrad son being totally stymied with this one. He literally would not be able to categorically guarantee that nobody else could do the things in the role, and so would really struggle to find an answer – even if he was killing it in the position. (If he could point to something, I guarantee you that whatever he did would be totally off the wall and not necessarily what was wanted, though.)

      1. Distracted Procrastinator*

        yeah, this instruction is well meant but could very much freeze someone more literal minded. There are very few jobs on the planet that only one person can do and almost none of them are entry level jobs being done by people consulting with their university career center.

      2. EmF*

        I still have that problem.

        “Why should we hire you rather than one of the other candidates?”
        I mean, I don’t know who’s applying. For all I know, you shouldn’t. I have a stock answer (“I’m sure you have other candidates who’d also be great! But here’s what I bring to the table…” including my ability to be honest about when I’m making decisions based on incomplete information.) but I still hate the question.

    14. Orv*

      Statistically, I feel like on a planet with 8 billion people on it, the odds of me accomplishing something that no one else could have are vanishingly small. I’d have to be pretty conceited to think otherwise.

      1. EmF*

        One of my favourite webcomics, back in the day, said “You’re one in a million! This means there are six thousand of you.”

    15. Sorry about this*

      Content warning for squeamishness / fish euthanasia I guess

      My dad used fish in part of his PhD and also had to euthanise fish in the course of his work. The most humane way? Quickly remove them from the water by the tail and throw them, hard, on the concrete floor.

    16. spacecowgirl*

      As a biologist I thought, “explaining you know how to euthanize fish isn’t too weir – oh there it is.”

  9. Microwaved Anchovies*

    The job was for an executive assistant. The (hired) employee’s resume had “Taught children in Morocco about feminine hygiene and associated products.”

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Period poverty is a big deal in parts of the world. And being able to organize and convey information is important for an EA.

        1. diasporacrew*

          I completely agree. This is the type of experience that would make me very interested in a candidate.

    1. Ridiculous Penguin*

      I don’t think that’s especially weird (the experience itself); the phrasing could use some help, though. From a public health/educational perspective, that could be extremely relevant experience, depending on the job.

      1. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

        Yeah, if it were phrased a “worked with a non-profit benefitting young women in Morrocco,” or something, that wouldn’t be as jarring. If asked specifically, she could launch into the spiel about how lack of access to feminine hygiene disadvantages children by taking them out of school and other activities, blah blah blah.

        1. Devious Planner*

          I actually think that is worse phrasing!

          “Taught children about feminine hygiene” is specific and immediately conveys several skills: public speaking, sensitivity to possible cultural differences on menstruation, working directly with kids, etc.

          “worked with a non-profit benefiting young women in Morocco” tells me nothing about what the person actually did. I have no sense of what skills they used or what they specifically accomplished. I don’t even know the age range of the recipients, since “young women” could refer to teenage girls or women up to mid-20s.

      2. Microwaved Anchovies*

        Let me clarify. It was for an executive assistant in a federal Defense agency that dealt with Security Clearances. It was completely irrelevant.

        1. desk platypus*

          I think it could actually demonstrate a candidate’s communication, research, and general people skills.

          1. What_the_What*

            Irreverent but my first though upon reading “research skills” was “Ok so I tried every type, size and style of pad, tampon, and cup on the market, and here is a pie chart of my findings….

        2. European*

          It’s irrelevant only if you think that any non-profit or hobby unrelated to the job itself is completely irrelevant.

        3. RPCVFTW*

          Let me guess–Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, trying to get their foot in federal government jobs?

          -Signed, also a former Peace Corps volunteer who used to list “latrine building” as a skill on her resume until someone kindly told her to focus on other elements when not applying for development jobs

          1. Spacewoman Spiff*

            Haha, same thought. It took me a while to figure out how to describe my service on my resume in a way that made sense to hiring managers. Although in this case, I don’t see any issue with how the likely-RPCV described their work! (Although I also see no issue with referencing latrine building on your resume, so I guess I’m giving myself away as an RPCV.) It seems more like squeamishness on the interviewer side about women’s bodies?

        4. Double A*

          Yeah, wondering if you’d feel the same if it was listed the same but it was helping families set up solar ovens or something.

          Your response is a good example of why that type of work is so crucial; shame and stigma run deep.

        5. Mom2ASD*

          “Able to deal with very sensitive, potentially embarrassing information in a confidential manner, within a very different culture” – Context entirely different but skills sound relevant to me.

        6. Pretty as a Princess*

          I would argue that being able to communicate effectively with diverse audiences about frequently misunderstood topics would be top line relevant experience to someone in this position. Would you feel differently if she had taught the girls about building solar stills?

          NGL if more people involved in all aspects of the security clearance process had experience working with broader swaths of humankind, it would be a far, far better process.

    2. Fluffy Fish*

      nah thats relevant skills:
      instruction/teaching
      tactfully handling potentially difficult subjects

      absolutely relevant to an EA role

        1. Rose*

          And handling difficult populations! I was amazed when I went from working with small children to working as an admin at an Ivy League fancy pants school how similar the temper tantrums were.

    3. CommanderBanana*

      This isn’t weird. There are entire programs dedicated to trying to end period poverty and stigma.

    4. RagingADHD*

      I’ve spent decades as an EA and I think it indicates very relevant skills in communication, tact / discretion, and an ability to read the room when presenting.

  10. Alex*

    I’m not sure anything could ever top these!

    But my contribution is one candidate sent, along with his application, an origami representation of our company logo. It was actually quite delightful, but didn’t get him the job.

    1. Mim*

      haha, that’s so cute! Honestly, where I work I think that could be a foot in the door. Quirky + fawning.

      1. Enai*

        Sounds like a good idea for graphic or 3D design jobs, like ad agencies and the like.

    2. LCH*

      it’s different, i think it counts! but agree it isn’t off-putting at all, very cute.

    3. NotBatman*

      That’s amazing! My dad’s a former CHRO, and he used to bring home all kinds of weird gifts from job candidates: an RC car, a bottle of olive oil, a pair of mahogany chopsticks, and a tiny replica of his company’s product are the ones I remember. Part of the reason he took them home was the hope that the hiring managers wouldn’t know about these attempted bribes and be influenced, for good or for ill.

    1. The Terrible Tom*

      Seems a little suspect if they didn’t include their *accuracy* as well… :D

      1. RagingADHD*

        WPM is usually represented as net of errors. So if they typed 150 words in one minute but only 20 were correct, you get 20 WPM.

    2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I know the punchline is the low number, but is typing and words per minute still even a consideration…anywhere…for anything? Skills like stenography and typing pools are a thing of the past. (RIP Dabney Coleman)

      1. PreviousDispatcher*

        When I did a brief stint as a 911 dispatcher, this was absolutely part of the hiring test. It included tests to measure baseline multi-tasking ability, typing speed/accuracy, decision making while under stress, etc. They were willing to train, but you had to have the baseline abilities (especially the ability to multi-task accurately under stress).

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          When I was a CSR, you had to type fast and look at multiple screens for answers while talking to another person.

      2. Random Bystander*

        It is also necessary for relay operators (for the Deaf and hard of hearing/speech-impaired). I worked that job for a period of time, before moving–I would have happily continued if it’d been available in new location. 60wpm was a requirement for the job at all, 70wpm minimum to handle calls for Florida.

      3. FricketyFrack*

        Yes. A lot of jobs technically *can* be done without good typing skills, but keeping up on the workload would be a lot more difficult. I work in government and we produce memos, resolutions, proclamations, newsletters, and so on. Speed and accuracy make a huge difference.

      4. ferrina*

        This came up at a meeting recently. We don’t work in a job where typing speed generally matters, but there’s a few folks that hate being recorded but still want detailed notes of the meeting. They were thrilled to learn that we have a few people that can type fast enough to pseudo-transcribe the meeting

      5. Ripley*

        Many, many administrative job listings still ask for WPM. Usually in the range of 40-70 WPM. I had to do a typing test to be a clerk in a medical clinic (my current role).

        I am in Canada, so YMMV.

      6. Penny*

        I interviewed for a job in a typing pool in 2019. I’ve just done a quick google search and found an active listing for a typist for the same organisation. So, yes, typing pools still exist! Off the top of my head I can think of two other job interviews where I was asked to do a typing test.

      7. Proofin' Amy*

        I don’t know if there are still companies who do this, but 20 years ago, I freelanced for a company that captioned shows that previously didn’t have captions, and the scripts weren’t available. They needed transcribers. Court reporters were preferred (because using a court reporting setup is much quicker than typing on a regular keyboard), but they would take very fast typists. Maybe AI and better text-to-speech programs handle most of that these days?

    3. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Maybe German words? :)
      Some German compound nouns are looong buggers, 70 characters.

    4. spcepickle*

      The venn diagram of people of volunteer the WPM on applications and people who have comically low WPM is almost a perfect circle in my world.

    5. Butterfly Counter*

      Maybe they were talking about texting on a flip phone. 20 wpm when you have to press the 7 key 4 times to get to the t is pretty impressive.

    6. Throwaway Account*

      I used to work in the public library. One gentleman came in often to fill out job applications. Despite repeated instruction on logging in to the computer, opening Google, navigating to websites, and then to the careers part of websites, how to click in a box to be able to fill in his info, AND what to put (his name!), he just could not do it. We had to help him every time with every step. Just for reference, we had other novice computer users who learned and would come to tell us how the skills we taught them got them the job (it was always so awesome!).

      Anyway, this guy who just could not figure out computers asked us what he should put for the question about his level of computer skills (basic, intermediate, skilled) – he wanted to put skilled!

      1. ialwaysforgetmyname*

        Ouch! Because “basic” wouldn’t even apply in this case.

        In 2013 I had to fire someone after 2 days for a very admin/support role who claimed in her interview to be very competent with computers but had ZERO skills. As in, no idea how to use a mouse or open up MS Word.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        Right, they can use a manual typewriter. Those new-fangled electric models will never catch on!

    7. It's Marie - Not Maria*

      We have candidates who regularly say they can type 200-500 wpm. Had one a couple days ago who said they could type 1000wpm. Bless your hearts, but we know better, especially the skills test comes back “Not Proficient” in all areas of computer work.

  11. Trotwood*

    One of my friends received a totally bonkers resume from a candidate who declared “I have run a background check on myself and I have a clean record.” The candidate didn’t list any college degree or major, but did list her study-abroad experience and her Medicaid coverage.

    1. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

      I mean, every time someone runs a background check on me I have the sudden feeling that I was previously a career criminal and then forgot about it, so I kind of get it? “Dear potential job, I just confirmed that my memories of being a complete square and never committing a crime in my life are, in fact, accurate. I’m sure you’re as thrilled and relieved as I am.”

      1. MigraineMonth*

        It’s weirdly common for people to have arrest warrants out for them due to, say, red-light camera tickets that were mailed to the wrong/an old address and therefore never paid.

        1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

          Thankfully not an arrest warrant, but we discovered, in the middle of a reasonably large US state, that my uncle did not have a legal license in that state, due to an outstanding speeding ticket from when he was a young man (and moving a lot) that was probably older than I am.

          Luckily I can drive stick, but it’s been over a decade, and I’ve got to say that going from 0 to ~70MPH, in front of a cop, in a stick-shift car you aren’t used to, in moderately heavy traffic, is not an experience I can recommend. (I did not stall the car. My uncle felt that I could’ve done a better job of upshifting, but under the circumstances, I thought that not stalling the car was victory.)

          1. SarahKay*

            Agreed that not stalling is the victory.
            I didn’t drive for about ten years and was so out of practice I decided to take a couple of lessons – this is in the UK, so most cars are manual (stick shift). The instructor told me that if I assessed that traffic flow would give me time to cross the road on foot then I had time to pull out of a junction.
            ‘Okay’, I said, ‘but my feet don’t stall!’

        2. NotBatman*

          Oh hey, it’s me! Not an arrest warrant, but I had an outstanding misdemeanor in Iowa due to a late-registration fee being charged to someone else with my first and last name. Which I learned years later, through a background check for a job in New Jersey.

      2. Ipsissima*

        I get the same feeling every time I go through airport security. “What if I have suddenly acquired a gun and some cocaine despite never being in possession of either??”

        1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

          Same, but not a gun. I lightly panic to think I might have dropped in scissors, a screwdriver, or a pocket multi-tool/knife because I’m a “just in case” type of person when I pack … what if I put aspirin into an unlabeled travel container will they think it’s a controlled substance… have I left my bag unattended? why yes, it was sitting in my apartment where I live alone but I can not SWEAR someone didn’t break in and drop a weapon or drugs in there.

          1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

            Not to give you more nightmare fodder, but ages ago I had an old married couple as site coordinators, and at one point when they were flying (before my time at the job), some of my coworkers stuck a LOT of condoms in their luggage. Brightly-colored condoms.

            They were, of course, selected for a manual bag check by the TSA. I’m told there were condoms everywhere.

            1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

              Ok so…I may have done that to a college roommate 1,000 years ago in her backpack…at BYU…as a prank… we were a prankster apartment of girls. She did think it was funny. I swear.

          2. Butterfly Counter*

            I’ve had this happen to me. TSA found a 4-inch pocket knife in my makeup bag. It was mine. I used to move around a lot and I’m sure I just tucked the knife into the bag months or years prior as I was packing my apartment and completely forgotten about it.

            It turns out it’s not a big deal. (I’m sure it helped I was a wide-eyed 22 year-old white girl who was legitimately dumbfounded as to how it got in there.) TSA asked if I wanted to mail it home or just turn it over to them. I hadn’t missed it in however long, so I said they could keep it.

            Guns or drugs, now that would be a big deal.

            1. TiffIf*

              After going through TSA when flying across the country to visit my parents, my mother was helping me pack to return and found a box cutter in my bag that I had left there by accident when moving a few months earlier. TSA entirely missed it.

            2. Chas*

              A friend of mine bought himself a metal “Wallet Ninja” multi-tool that was in the shape of a credit card, so it could be slipped into your wallet and you’d always have it with you when you needed it… or, to his chagrin, when you were trying to get through airport security. He ended up letting them keep it as well, but they were very understanding of the fact that he’d put it in there and then completely forgot it was there.

          3. an infinite number of monkeys*

            Well, I once brought pepper spray through security in my purse. But I was the one who found it, and then not until I was rummaging around looking for a charging cord, sitting in my seat on my RETURN flight.

            So your odds probably aren’t that bad.

          4. Caffeine Monkey*

            I used to fly a couple of times a week for an old job. After six months, I discovered my boxcutter had slipped into my handbag’s lining. Not once, in all of those security checks, had anybody noticed it.

            My boots had been scanned and swabbed and investigated nearly every flight, but nobody seemed to care about the knife I was carrying around.

            1. Chas*

              I’m not sure about the rules for knives and it varies with what airline/airport you’re using, but I know that you can take scissors on a flight as long as the blade is not too long, so it might be that your boxcutter wasn’t long enough to trigger the security sensor.

        2. CommanderBanana*

          I’m firmly middle-aged and still feel kind of weird and shady when I buy alcohol? I didn’t drink underage or try to illegally buy alcohol before I turned 21 but I still feel like I’m trying to get away with something.

        3. Orv*

          Enough people accidentally try to take guns through security that the TSA now recommends you start packing with a completely empty bag.

          1. And thanks for the coffee*

            I have never owned a gun, but maybe I still should start with an empty bag.

        4. Quill*

          My worry is usually more along the lines of “what if I have a boxcutter and my lotion tests as nitroglycerin?” because both of those have been… closer to my experiences in airports.

          (Aloe vera gels can show up on some of those airport screener things as potential matches for nitroglycerin, and yes, we were there for an additional hour.)

      3. Excel-sior*

        I’m the same and i doubt/hope we’re not alone. Just a voice in the back of my head saying “are you SURE you didn’t once commit a small infraction which was dealt with by the authorities but you’ve repressed?”

        no brain, because I’d remember the fall out at least.

        “what if you repressed that as well?”

        oh leave me alone brain

        “no, never going to happen”.

      4. Jayem Griffin*

        I had to do an identity verification for the IRS and had a horrible couple of minutes where I really thought I might have been a dentist and had let my certifications lapse.

        (I am not, nor have ever been a dentist. I do not work in anything even kind of adjacent to the medical field. Teeth gross me out.)

      5. Cabbagepants*

        My dad forgot an apple in his backpack when going through customs in 1996. The agent found it, tsk-tsk’d him, and threw it away. He thought nothing of it until he was being interviewed for Global Entry in 2017. Apparently it made it into his record and he had to answer for it!

      6. Gurathin*

        Worrying you might have committed a horrible crime and forgotten about it makes the Murderbot username feel appropriate

    2. DVM*

      Getting Medicaid isn’t always the easiest, and I think we should give more people credit for that, honestly.

      1. Gumby*

        I must have had an extremely helpful staff member then. I was actually trying to sign up for a plan under Covered California and brought my filled out paperwork to the county services office and the person I spoke with was all “oh, honey, no; you are unemployed you get Medicaid” and I think it was complete in that one visit. (Turns out “I have a decent emergency fund for exactly this reason: to be able to afford to live during gaps in employment. I can pay for my own insurance.” didn’t matter – they only cared about current income.) So I ended up with Medicaid kind of by accident. Though it was helpful!

  12. KT*

    “A very light resume in the work history section, but a very detailed Karate section.”

    Dwight, is that you? :D

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Nah, Mac isn’t the type to actually write a resume. He’d just show up in person to demonstrate his skills.

    1. KateM*

      I was thinking it was someone who had previously applied to a Karate-related job and grabbed that old resume without checking. My own “I am just the right person to prepare your students for math contests” resume would probably look really weird for any other job as well because who (else) cares that I have been to an international math contest?

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I now need a mystery series to have an episode set at an international math contest. (No idea these existed!)

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          My partner is doing a rewatch of Monk. I’ll ask if they ever had an episode like that–it seems like it would be a good fit!

  13. Carol*

    That they were a “god fearing” person. This wasn’t in the US though, and much more normal in the country they were based in.

    1. Teacher Lady*

      I’ve seen this (also in a non-U.S. location where this sort of thing was more common), as well as “godly man/woman.” In that same location and at that time, it was common to include contact information for references on one’s resume/CV, and it was basically expected that at least one of those references would be a pastor. (I know that’s actually common in many evangelical spaces in the U.S. as well – I caused a bit of a kerfuffle when I applied for a job at an evangelical organization that needed my fairly-niche-for-a-U.S.-American language skills, but I couldn’t supply a pastoral reference because I’m not religious.)

    2. A Nonny Mouse*

      I got one once that said they were “recalcitrant to evil influences”, which I’m sure was meant to be a statement of personal integrity but nevertheless with that particular phrasing did not come across quite as intended.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      That is an impressively unverifiable skill. What are you going to do, ask their deity of choice if the person really is scared of them?

        1. Elsewise*

          That is the most hardcore line I’ve ever seen at 10am on the askamanager comments section.

    4. Strict Extension*

      There was recently a local election in my area. A publication had the candidates complete a survey to publish their answers side-by-side. Most candidates when asked their top three priorities listed the first three issues they wanted to address after taking office. One listed “God, family and community, in that order.”

    5. Emikyu*

      I knew someone who received a resume with a similar phrase, along with the applicant’s education history all the way back to PRESCHOOL. This was a middle-aged woman who had been out of school for some time.

  14. Alisaurus*

    Once received a resume where the applicant had used an online service to generate a multi-page PDF with extreme background graphics that looked more like a sales document for a product than an actual resume. Worse, he hadn’t fully edited the whole thing, so page 1 started with a greeting of “Hey, wonderful,” and proceeded through instructions for using the template, including something along the lines of “this start-to-finish document will guide you through the process of putting your best foot forward.”

    Spoiler: he did not put his best foot forward, and he did not get an interview.

    1. The Terrible Tom*

      We don’t have enough data points yet but in general I’d lean *away* from utilizing work-related resources that include the greeting, “Hey, wonderful.” :D

      1. Babbalou*

        I’d recommend starting with “Dearest beloved” since it’s so common in my spam folder and always get my attention.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          I don’t speak Lithuanian, but there is some translation disconnect that would lead to the Lithuanian site that processed our bulk buffer orders to email us with the opening “Hello Dears”.

          1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

            Several years ago, I was corresponding with a distant relative, whom I’d never met, in Hungary. Google translate (or some quirk in the Hungarian language, which certainly has a lot of quirks) began each email with “Snoozing my darling,” which squicked me out in a way that “Dear Snoozing” certainly does not. Or perhaps the relative is just a perv.

    2. Space Coyote*

      “Hey, wonderful,” just broke me completely and I’m quietly choking to death at my desk XD

    3. TJ Morrison*

      I’d be tempted to send back a document with instructions on how to let an applicant know they didn’t get the job.

    4. pcake*

      LOLOL Awesome story!

      Not a resume story, but it reminded me… I once managed website designers, and one submitted a site for a client with the ipso lorum on it – he forgot to save after adding the actual text :-)

  15. No_woman_an_island*

    This is 100% true: a woman put on her resume that she was a former playboy bunny. For a job in which she’d be working with women coming out of sexually exploitative situations.

    1. Czhorat*

      Am I crazy in thinking that could almost be relevant and work? That as a Bunny she was in a position where she was valued for her sexuality so she understands the experience of being objectified?

      1. No_woman_an_island*

        Ah yes, I see how it could be. But this was in an ‘Honors’ section. She was very proud.

        1. Czhorat*

          YEah, that sounds less than great.

          Framing is SO MUCH. I could see presenting it in a way that would make her a really strong candidate (I know what it feels like to be seen as eye-candy, and have inappropriate passes made at me all the time) , and in another way that boils down to: “men found me SO HOT. Isn’t that awesome?”

        2. Observer*

          But this was in an ‘Honors’ section. She was very proud.

          In that case, I take back my original comment. This is why it’s a good idea to read the responses before responding…

          1. RagingADHD*

            The point is that it wasn’t listed as “relevant experience” but as a prize she received. It could be relevant experience, but if she was focused on the “honor” of being chosen she is unlikely to connect with the clients in the way they need.

            Like, “I know you didn’t enjoy being trafficked, but you should be flattered someone thought you were pretty enough to traffic” is not the message they want to convey.

      2. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

        This actually sounds so relevant to me. Curious to hear more about how it was specifically inappropriate in this context, but the Playboy Mansion sounds like the platonic ideal of sexual exploitation.

        1. LaurCha*

          It really, really is. And so much worse than I ever realized, until I read Holly Madison’s memoir. Hugh Hefner was so gross.

      3. Nebula*

        Yeah, and to be honest I’d hope that an organisation which helps women come out of sexually exploitative situations would also be somewhere a candidate could feel free to talk about her experience as a Playboy bunny, as opposed to many other organisations which would judge her character on that basis.

    2. Laura*

      I mean, I can kind of see it if she felt like she had been exploited by playboy – she may have felt like she could connect with the women she would be helping. I’ve read some accounts from former bunnies/playmates and it sounds awful.

    3. Ridiculous Penguin*

      That *could* have been an excellent hire if their perspective were that they had first-hand experience that would help them serve the clientele and they framed their experience that way. But just to include it? Yeah, at the very least tone deaf.

    4. Hydrangea*

      That makes sense to me. She was letting you know she had experience with the adult industry. Maybe she was assuming the hiring manager knew of the rumor that all Playboy bunnies (centerfolds at least) had to sleep with Hugh. (One of the milder stories about how the Playboy Mansion exploited women.)

    5. Annony*

      I could see that being a selling point. If she felt that it was a sexually exploitative situation then it shows that she would have insight into how these women feel. If she thought it was a fantastic experience then its extremely tone deaf for her to include it on her resume for that job.

    6. Methuselah Honeysuckle*

      Judging by the stories we’ve heard from former Playboy bunnies and Hefner’s “girlfriends” I’d say she probably has a lot of experience coming out of sexually exploitative situations.

    7. lunchtime caller*

      I could actually see this making sense, but it would require some time spent in the cover letter explaining that she now views that experience as a sexually exploitative situation and it gives her personal grounding when she relates to the people she’d be supporting.

    8. Observer*

      This is 100% true: a woman put on her resume that she was a former playboy bunny. For a job in which she’d be working with women coming out of sexually exploitative situations.

      That actually makes sense. If you think that that job is not exploitative, you’re deeply mistaken.

    9. PotsPansTeapots*

      So…she’s a former sex worker/sex worker-adjacent person seeking to help others who had exploitative experiences in sex work? That seems ideal to me! Why shouldn’t she be proud of her accomplishments at a previous employer, either?

    10. samwise*

      Seems relevant to me. I might put that in the cover letter? Or wait for the interview?

  16. BellaStella*

    Last year I had an internship position open. We pay our interns, but the requirements were pretty strict: must live/and or have right to work in our country (with a visa); must be a current Master-level student; must have some interest in what we do; plus must send a cover letter and 3 references. For this open role we got 54 (actually 53, you will see why) applicants.

    Two applications were exactly the same. Same blue background layout, same font, SAME EXACT experiences and dates, places, etc of work. EXCEPT: one application had a women’s name on it, the other a man’s name on it. Neither qualified as neither had a visa, did not live here, neither were enrolled in Master-level schooling. It was BIZARRE. When screening the 53 applicants, I flagged this for HR to look at the applications to make sure I was not being stupid. They noted to me that this happens regularly with postings we offer, and it is always caught by us managers who have to screen all the applications manually anyway.

    1. Elan*

      I wonder if these two matched resumes were a part of one of those studies where people are testing to see if there is gender bias in hiring managers’ responses to resumes? A number of these (and related) studies have been done, so maybe your posting got included as a recipient of these matched resumes somehow??

      1. Czhorat*

        The problem is that you need to send the identical resumes to different places to make this trick work; otherwise it’s too likely that you end up with this.

        When I saw such studies I always assumed that they’d send to similar companies in the same industry, not to literally the same posting.

        1. Annony*

          Or you make the resumes equivalent but not identical and flip the genders for various companies. Company A gets resume 1 with female name and resume 2 with male name. Company B gets resume 1 with male name and resume 2 with female name.

          1. Cabbagepants*

            or two different resumes, but randomize which gets the female name and which gets the male name.

            1. NotBatman*

              It’s also possible to change a ton of surface-level details without changing the content: 6 months of experience in sales and 8 months of experience in marketing becomes 7 months in each, etc. It’d be pretty silly to send both to the same company with so few changes.

              That said, as a psychology researcher I have in fact seen errors exactly that silly or sillier. For example, the item that asked “How often do you commit arson?” with answer options ranging from “rarely” to “frequently.”

              1. Enai*

                Well…
                Does starting the fire in my mothers fireplace count? If so, I’ll have to answer “moderately frequently, preferably when it’s cold and wet outside”.

          2. New Jack Karyn*

            Yes, it’s the ‘not identical part’ in play here. Like, they have different Ivy League schools, captained teams in different sports, one wrote for the school paper and the other helped run a charity organization. That kind of thing.

            I’ve seen studies that use these parameters and switch names based on what ethnicity they might be more associated with. Eye-opening results.

    2. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

      I wonder if someone was trying to run a social experiment of the “if all other variables are the same, is one gender more likely to be called in than another” variety.

    3. TakinABreak*

      Is it possible that the duplicate resumes be part of a research study, rather than actual candidate(s)? That’s usually how research into hiring biases about gender, race, etc. work. Send out 100 identical resumes to various job postings with one variation (like name or gender or school, etc.) and track which get responses.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        That only works if you meet the basic job requirements though. And the resumes are not 100% identical, because then they’ll be flagged immediately by a reviewer (“wow, why does this seem like I’ve seen it before, oh, because it’s the exact same resume I read 15′ ago”).

    4. Stephanie*

      I agree it sounds like a social experiment…but not a very good one if the resumes don’t meet the actual job requirements.

      1. Annony*

        My guess would be either an undergrad project with poor supervision or someone trying to prove a point to an SO or friend group.

    5. Former Psych Major*

      Those might be from a psychology study–there have been multiple studies where the same resume is sent out with names that are associated with different races and genders to demonstrate how bias and discrimination can occur in hiring…

    6. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      This is becoming increasingly common with online hiring. There are bots submitting applications based on key words. I would say less than 25% of the applications we get are legit. Our process thankfully has a second section you must complete and most of the time nothing happens there so I can just reject based on incomplete application.

      I hire jobs that require you have Federal Work Study and be a student at this college. Last go round 2/3 of candidates did not even live in this state.

    7. Retirement Pending*

      I was once on the committee to hire an executive director for our local YMCA. We had applicants from several different states. Two applicants had identical cover letters. Turns out the author’s supervisor had showed it to a group of his mentees as a good example of a well written letter so someone copied it verbatim. Busted.

    8. Sneaky Squirrel*

      I’ve actually had this same exact situation happen to me! The position required work authorization and wasn’t eligible for sponsorship. Neither candidate had existing work authorization in the US so neither could be considered.

  17. Velawciraptor*

    I had one applicant who kept applying for attorney positions who had never been to law school, much less passed the bar. Their cover letter informed us that they’d be happy to go to law school at night, like that would be some sort of favor to our office rather than a prerequisite for the job. It was utterly bizarre.

    1. Jessica*

      Some states have what they call “lateral entry” schemes for teachers, where you can start working and go to school part-time for a while while working to get the actual credential that you were supposed to have. Maybe this applicant is aware that things like that exist and thinks every profession does it?

      1. TakinABreak*

        Washington State has an alternate option for getting bar admission that involves working as an “apprentice” instead of taking the bar exam. But even that option still requires completing law school first. Maybe the candidate was aware of that but didn’t actually understand how it works?

        1. Lucia*

          Washington’s alternative licensing program actually doesn’t require law school. You have to have a mentor who takes responsibility for your training, and I believe there are set exams you have to pass. One of my paralegal program instructors did this. Caveat, this was about 7 years ago, and I haven’t kept up with any changes that might have been made since then.

    2. The Wizard Rincewind*

      This is my favorite so far. Do you advertise a continuing education perk? Maybe they hoped you’d pay for their law school.

    3. Retail Dalliance*

      lmao imagine this happening in ANY OTHER FIELD!!! “I’m a doctor, no med school, not board-certified, but I’d be happy to go to med school at night while practicing medicine at your hospital during the day” wt actual f

      1. MigraineMonth*

        There are a lot of fields where this would work. Plenty of places will hire, say, a project manager before they’ve gotten certified, or a software developer who has demonstrated skills and is in a class to improve them further. Apprenticeships basically work this way.

        I think jobs like law or medicine that require a degree before you even start gaining experience are the exception, not the norm.

      2. Rose*

        I received a resume for a call center role (so looks could not have mattered less) with a “head shot” wherein the applicant was posed seductively by a pool, wearing a tube top.

        She wasn’t particularly attractive by conventional standards. I don’t say that to be mean, just to clarify that this didn’t seem to be a case of “leveraging my long held pretty privilege.” It was just… a choice she made.

      3. Doris*

        I’ve noticed a lot of people in non ‘professional’ positions don’t really understand how long people spend qualifying for some professions. I don’t say this to be classist. My own working class family can never really remember what qualification I have or in what area and my dad thought a PhD was a one year degree.

    4. MPM*

      We also receive a shocking number of resumes from people who have never gone to law school for what are very clearly attorney positions. It’s bizarre.

    5. AngryOctopus*

      Huh. I know a few of my grad school cohorts did the thing where they joined a patent law firm that then paid for them to attend law school part time. But they already had the relevant PhD which made them a good candidate for patent law. Maybe this kid heard about that and wildly misinterpreted how it works (“my friend wasn’t an attorney but the law firm hired them and paid for them to go to law school! I can do it too!!” when the friend had the science background needed and law school was being covered because they wanted a patent prosecutor).

    6. Tesuji*

      I’ve seen more than a few occasions where a valued paralegal is going to a local bottom-tier law school–you know, the level of law school that may or may not be located in a strip mall–with the idea that they’ll get a job at that firm after they graduate (which is one of the very few situations where going to this kind of law school makes sense).

      Maybe they’re trying for a deal like that, and don’t get the key difference between attorneys and literally every non-attorney job the firm might have.

    7. Velawciraptor*

      Based on the responses so far, I should probably make a couple of points clear:

      The job postings for attorney positions always note that you must have a valid license to practice law as a minimum requirement.

      Also, the applicant had no previous legal experience. This wasn’t a paralegal looking for a way to get through law school. This was a purely hubristic “how hard could it be” type application.

    8. Florence Reese*

      Hey I have tons of legal knowledge, from reading the very qualified answers on arr-slash-legaladvice! Surely that’s on par with 4 grueling years of school.

      (P.S. great username.)

      1. Chas*

        Ah, but have you also beaten all of the Ace Attorney games? That’s where the REAL knowledge comes from!!!

  18. Fleur*

    When I worked as a hostess at a restaurant, a man dropped off a paper copy of his resume and then quickly left. He had an eyepatch and a large sign (it looked like the one that protestors carry, although I didn’t see if the sign said anything). This was in 2020 (maybe 2021?). According to his resume, his most recent work experience ended in 2016 and he stopped attending college in 2016. In the “other” section of his resume, he said he wanted to “expose the horrors of the pharmaceutical industry,” “take revenge upon the people who abused him when he was a child,” and something about how he wanted to “avenge his father’s death.”
    I gave the resume to the assistant manager. This man was not contacted for an interview.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        I was gonna say, “unless the resume listed the name ‘Inigo Montoya,’ hard pass.”

    1. Mim*

      Um, this sounds so similar to a local “character” where I live that I legit wonder if I am thinking of the same person and relatively small town/city where you are located.

    2. MissGirl*

      I feel like Inigo Montoya’s resume would be better than this. I’m ruling him out.

    3. Leslie*

      wow I would have 100% wanted to talk to this man because I have so many questions

    4. Beth*

      Oh, that this too, too solid resume would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a job offer . . .

  19. A Meyers*

    My own resume very long ago. I was young and had little experience aside from college. So, under experience, I added
    “King of Spain: Ruled Kingdom and Empire under professional name Charles III.”

    In the time between “what a funny idea” and “what the hell was I thinking?” I sent out exactly three resumes.
    – One I never heard from
    – One was clearly contacting every submitted resume
    – One was one of the top Strategy Consulting firms in the country.

    I got the consulting job.

    1. Czhorat*

      I’m not going to lie – the consulting job sounds like a BIG step down from King of Spain.

    2. Curious*

      Well, that makes sense, since (according to Wikipedia), you were probably the most successful European leader of your generation.

    3. Madame Señora*

      The only acceptable jobs for a former King of Spain are:
      Making pizza at Pizza Pizza
      Vacuuming the turf at Sky Dome
      Driving the Zamboni for the Leafs

          1. Proofin' Amy*

            The King of Spain never rushes! (Hi, Will! I didn’t know you were a Fruhead!)

            1. Will "scifantasy" Frank*

              *shrug* I have eclectic tastes. Don’t know if I’d call myself a full Fruhead though.

                1. Madame Señora*

                  I used to go to Frucon back in the day. I’m still best friends with two people I met at a show in 2000.

    4. Curious*

      You got a good result, but I can imagine the comments that would be coming at you if you didn’t get the job.

      1. Snow Globe*

        Now that this story is out on the internet, I’m thinking there will be others using this strategy.

    5. azvlr*

      I’m tempted to put a couple of joke things on my next resume, as it would screen for the kind of workplace culture that I’d actually want to work at. My current workplace/team would have really enjoyed something like that.

      The top two that I’ve thought of are:
      Folding fitted sheets (I am actually pretty good at this one).
      Knows all the words to Rapper’s Delight (except I don’t, so I couldn’t lie like that. lol).

    6. And...uh...Abraham Lincoln*

      I filled out a survey about a job recently that asked me to state, to the best of my knowledge, whether I had been a senior government official in the last few years (I think it was five but I can’t remember for sure.) Now I get needing to screen for potential conflicts of interest but…to the best of my knowledge? How would I somehow be unaware of that? “Oh shoot, I forgot to mention that I am heir to the throne of Luxembourg”?

  20. Ann O'Nemity*

    A four page resume with purple “cursive” font. Each page had a header with what looked like Windows 98 clip art of purple and pink flowers.

    The kicker? The job was for a college career coach, someone who is supposed to be an expert in resume writing!

    1. Kate Moseley*

      I think I received a resume from this same candidate in my former job in higher ed.

    2. cktc*

      Hah, that sounds like a resume I once got. Pink paper, cursive font, don’t remember if it was scented. The resume content itself was fine, and about what you would expect from a soon-to-be college graduate. I included it in the recommend pile, with a note to ignore the color/font.

    3. H.Regalis*

      Ugh, that makes me flash back to some of the old Babysitters Club books where the whole damn book was in cursive font. Not an enjoyable reading experience.

    4. Tesuji*

      That’s just amazing.

      You’re probably lucky the envelope didn’t include a hefty pinch of glitter, just to add a little more pizzazz when you opened it up.

    5. Caffeine Monkey*

      When I worked on a newspaper, we used to get weekly letters from a freelance sub-editor looking for work.

      He’d always send them in a metallic gold envelope that was an absolute nightmare to open. Considering the mail was opened by the editor’s PA, who essentially ruled the newspaper, that guaranteed we never contacted him, even on the odd occasion when we could have used a freelance sub.

  21. Former Hiring Manager*

    I once received a resume that consisted entirely of the single sentence: “I have mastered all forms of business.” Despite great temptation, I did not call them back for a phone screen.

    1. Double A*

      I think that person did ok. A lot of people find that bio convincing. Eventually ended up president.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          If you had called their references, there probably would be a lot of commotion.

    2. Excel-sior*

      I can’t be the only Brit reading this and thinking of Jay from The Inbetweeners. “Business? Yeah, completed it mate”.

  22. Wams352*

    Oh wow I finally have something to share. We were hiring for a community center supervisor and a candidate’s job experience included NFL player – won’t mention the team but he listed his job duties as ‘winning a Super Bowl’. That was it. Not particularly relevant to running a facility and supervising people… but I’m sure he got a lot of interviews because people wanted to say they met him (I hadn’t heard of him but my husband said he was on the team but not a star).

    1. HBJ*

      To be fair, that is a job you do for a salary. If he didn’t list it, he’d presumably have a gap.

      1. PotsPansTeapots*

        Yeah, and it doesn’t sound like he was glory-hungry if he didn’t list the team.

        1. Wams352*

          No he named the team but that was it nothing about being part of the team or a leader just ‘I won a Super Bowl.’ Which is great and impressive but not sure it translates into running a front desk, customer service, cash handling, facility maintenance… supervising people. If he’d bulleted out anything like that on any part of his app we would have at least phone interviewed him.

          1. Special Specialist*

            I have heard that now that NFL players’ average tenure is about 3 years… they get a lot more help from the league and the union about how to successfully transition from a professional athlete career to one much more mundane. My son’s local public high school is lucky to have some former NFL players coaching football and my international consulting firm also has some ex-NFL players as employees.

            1. Orv*

              I once met a former NFL player who was working the checkout window at Hertz. It was clearly not where he wanted to be. I got out my phone to take pictures of the car (I like to document the condition when I pick it up) and he got mad because he thought I was trying to get a free picture of him.

          2. PotsPansTeapots*

            If he was an ad guy and his agency had an absolutely amazing campaign that he was only peripherally involved in, he still might mention it on his resume, no? I don’t see how that’s different here. He could have expressed it better, sure, but I just don’t see it as that damning.

            1. Florence Reese*

              I think the problem is that, as Wams said in both comments, the *only* experience he listed under that job was “I won the Superbowl” and nothing else. If an ad guy only listed “my agency did X Campaign” and nothing else, I really hope you’d think twice about their experience. (And ad work is more obviously relevant to other office work than winning a Superbowl! How does that prior work experience actually relate? You gotta try to make that connection a little bit, as the candidate.)

    2. Carol*

      That seems very valid though! It is his work experience, makes sense to put it on a resume. And can’t really beat that bullet point.

    3. D. B.*

      The only thing that’s weird is the way he expressed it. I wonder what a more conventional way to list that job would be.

      1. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

        I would think for a job in Parks & Rec you would use it to talk about your experience with Athletics, your knowledge of safe recreation, your skill in de-escalating conflicts, and facilitating collaboration with a lot of stakeholders with disparate needs, interests, and abilities. Also when a patron starts going off on your staff about paying their salary, you can loom over the patron menacingly.

    4. Anonnnn*

      I work in the same giant org as a famous Olympic athlete. She needed some onboarding briefings for a relatively niche portfolio and LET ME TELL YOU the number of people who needed to share information about this area people don’t usually track was ENORMOUS. I did one of the meetings and I think there were five extra ppl who came to “brief”. (They all had useful things to say, but I could have done it myself too. I definitely wanted to meet her also!)

  23. Ginger Cat Lady*

    Mid-40s man in tech listed “grew largest pumpkin at the county fair, won a blue ribbon”
    His resume was otherwise excellent, so he got an interview.
    At the end of the interview they asked if he had any questions, and he wondered why they didn’t ask him about his pumpkin. The interviewer said “tell me more about that, then, and how you see it relating to the work we do here.”
    It happened when he was 12, he “didn’t remember much” about how he did it, he just thought it was what made him unique.

    1. Velawciraptor*

      Why, in the name of all that is holy, would he invite a question that he didn’t really have an answer to?

      “Why didn’t you ask me about this irrelevant experience that I don’t remember much about but definitely makes me a very special boy?” Good gravy.

      1. Siege*

        People think being unique in applications is good. I promise, I remember the authors who submitted to my publisher back in 2006 and 2007 who included in their cover letters:

        – that they were on dialysis and had once won an extremely regional writing award from the extremely local paper when they were 12.
        – that if we didn’t publish their book (not included in the submission) Jubelo, Jubela, and Jubellum (Sumerian deities, per my internet search) would destroy the earth.
        – that they called “their president” (George W Bush, also my President whether I liked it or not) Dragonfire.
        – and, more tragically (for him) the candidate who I reviewed on Monday and requested a full submission from, which he responded to with joy on Wednesday, but on Tuesday we had gotten his threatening letters sent to the editors of a certain book about dragons, explaining in pages of detail why they were all hell-bound sinners who should be ashamed of themselves because dragons aren’t in the Bible so obviously we’re all heathens. The name was unique. I ghosted him because I didn’t know how to say I wouldn’t touch his book with a ten foot pole without saying I wouldn’t touch his book with a ten foot pole.

        I declined all of them due to terrible or absent writing (or threats) but boy howdy were they memorable. It was just all for the wrong reasons.

        1. Siege*

          I also want to note that this was at Wizards of the Coast, known for their dragons, so what the last guy was doing writing fantasy and submitting it there but taking offense to the vast majority of the product lines, I don’t know. Cognitive dissonance, thy name is that guy’s.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Wizards of the Coast also publishes D&D, a.k.a. the adolescent gateway drug to Satanism. Because pretending to be a wizard once a week with your friends is exactly the same as congress with the Devil.

            (/end sarcasm)

        2. Windsorite*

          I guess he didn’t read Revelation 12, Revelation 20, Job 41, or Isaiah 27 then.

          1. Jelizabug*

            I was going say, dragons are mentioned multiple times in the Bible. *shrug* Maybe he has a different translation!

      2. ferrina*

        I’m wondering the same thing. It’s one thing to include it on the resume to get a foot in the door, but once you’re in that door, why would you say “ask me about this specific thing, so I can say I don’t remember”?

      1. Ginger Cat Lady*

        He did not. But the dude they did hire was a disaster, so I would like to know what working with this guy would have been like. It’s unlikely he could have been worse.

  24. Johnny 5*

    The information provided was fine, but the candidate wrote their cover letter in rhyming couplets.

    For an accounting job.

    I wanted to interview the person because I just really wanted to meet the kind of person who would not only have this idea but follow through on it, but alas, we had a large pool of more qualified candidates, and apparently “the interview process does not exist to satisfy [my] curiosity.”

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      I am not involved in hiring, but I’d definitely want to interview this person too!

      1. buddleia*

        Yeah I would have liked to have seen if they would do the interview in rhyming couplets and asked them why they didn’t do the resume in rhyming couplets

    2. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      The moving finger writes;
      and having writ, Moves on:
      nor all thy Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to revise the amortization schedule

    3. Marian Librarian*

      I can’t! The juxtaposition of a super creative response to a very practical field is hilarious.

    4. Lenora Rose*

      Did they at least scan? My biggest peeve with people trying to go all Dr. Seuss is that they seem to miss scansion entirely.

      (It doesn’t help that a primary form of poetry out there now is long lyrics, which can be amazing, but you can also stretch one syllable and three over the same note range so their scansion is sometimes a bit more muddled)

      1. Distracted Procrastinator*

        My husband is an aspiring song writer and he’s very careful about scansion. He loves throwing in internal rhyme, alliteration, and all the poetry things. I think it makes a better song all around, and maybe someday a singer or publisher will agree with me.

        1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

          Internal rhyme is great. Part of what makes The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald so haunting.

    5. Despachito*

      I want this job and I hope it makes sense
      I can in no time accrue an expense
      My cash flows smoothly like a mountain brook
      I always keep my entries by the book
      To add some more perfection to my great abilities
      I kick ass in assets but don’t lie in liabilities
      I hope that’s enough for you to clearly see
      That you can only hire one person, and that’s ME!

    6. Charlotte Lucas*

      Maybe that was so Kinga and Max wouldn’t know what he was doing.

      Or you missed out on hiring Fezzik.

  25. Msspel*

    I will always remember fondly an applicant for an internship at a human rights nonprofit who listed under hobbies, “Renovating an antique French farmhouse.”

      1. Wolf*

        Oh, they would have been interested in the pay. As we say in Germany “renovating old buildings is fun, sustainable and costs twice as much as building new”.

  26. ThatGirl*

    Saw a 12-page resume from a person with ~5-7 years of experience – it was mostly that long because the formatting was horrendous, but it also included a lot of extraneous and unnecessary details including that he had been an Eagle Scout.

    1. Czhorat*

      Eagle Scout is one of those things that can generate a lot more attention than it probably should; some people consider Eagle Scout a tremendous accomplishment, and fellow scouts take it as a very major accomplishment. A mention if it in a resume can help more than one would think it would.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Well, fair, although I think after you’ve been out of college for awhile it becomes less impressive.

        Also, I have a friend who’s a girl scout leader and frequently complains that the Eagle Scout projects she sees are way less thought out and impressive than the Gold Projects the girls do.

        But I have to admit that I temporarily forgot the actual best/weirdest thing, which was his perfect attendance in K-12.

        1. PotsPansTeapots*

          I think it really depends on the troop! My dad’s a Scout leader and he’s extremely rigorous with Eagle projects the kids do, while the nearby Girl Scout troop has put out a few half-a**ed Gold Projects.

          1. sb51*

            Yeah, but the requirements from the national organizations are very similar (and both can be skimped on or well-done); it’s just that the Boy Scouts have managed to gain all this prestige for theirs and the Girl Scouts haven’t, for the obvious reasons.

            (There’s some structural differences between them — Eagle is a rank and Gold is an award, and my last look at the books was over 25 years ago, but they’re pretty similar. A bunch of badges demonstrating a range of different skills, some leadership and community service requirements, and then a capstone project.)

          2. ferrina*

            Definitely depends on the Scout troop.

            I did my then-boyfriend’s Eagle project for him. His parents designed the idea, submitted the paper work, and I coordinated the whole thing (community clean-up project). He….showed up? I guess he did a whole hour of helping clean up trash- that was it.
            Ever since, I’ve not been impressed with the Eagle Scout accolade.

            1. Quill*

              I’ve seen a lot of Eagle Scout projects that boiled down to “you and your dad built a very small deck”

              Varying degrees of desirability, utility, structural integrity.

            2. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

              My older brother didn’t become an Eagle scout because the scoutmaster was pushing him so hard.
              Saying that my dad (who had moved up into the district(?) level of scouting) would be disappointed in him. If I remember the story right, dad was more impressed that he had stood up for himself.
              This was in the ’70s.

          3. Distracted Procrastinator*

            I have seen way too many “winter coat drives” (put a box and a poster in their church lobby for a few weeks) that get Eagle Scout awards.

          4. another fed*

            Eh, this is localized, as I’ve seen plenty of Eagle Scout projects that were raise $1500 for a park bench. And Gold projects that created new community organizations that have lasted decades. it completely runs the gamut, as does how much the Scout did on their own.

            I still think wrangling your junior class peers to plam, execute, and decorate for prom often shows more leadership than a closely supervised Scout project. I even had a friend who organized his own 5K with permits and all (pre-internet, takes several trips and meetings to city hall), and he was the one that pointed out he needed more diplomacy to get people to build sets in our high school drama productions.

        2. Czhorat*

          Perfect attendance is weird; it’s something I used to VERY highly respect, but the older I get the more I see it as either luck OR a poor ability to prioritize ones own health (and family obligations if it’s an adult)

          1. Lenora Rose*

            In kids it can also mean “my family made me go even when sick” which means the “accomplishment” isn’t even personal.

          2. Jay (no, the other one)*

            I might still be bitter about the perfect attendance award at my kid’s elementary school. I think it’s a stupid thing in the first place because it encourages parents to send sick kids to school. The bitterness is due to the fact that my kid would never have been able to win it because she always missed at least one day for the Jewish holidays and that counted as an unexcused absence. Same with any observant Muslim kids, of course, and any other non-Christian observances. Grrrr.

          3. HonorBox*

            Agree about the perfect attendance. There were awards in school for kids who had perfect attendance, which I think is even weirder. As I remember it, most of those kids weren’t the type who would come to school noticeably sick, so it wasn’t that. But it did seem weird to congratulate a kid for their immune system, or for their parents’ ability to schedule dentist appointments outside of school hours.

          4. ferrina*

            My mother forced me to skip school several times. A couple times for a family trip, once to get my driver’s license (she wanted me able to drive my siblings as quick as possible), and once for a community hearing on land use (I was giving testimony- the group thought it would look impressive to have a teenager speak to the issue).

        3. Keyboard Cowboy*

          My co-op advisor when I was in college straight up told the class that they could list Gold Award too, but it’s “not as good” as Eagle Scout. My bestie (aka the other half of the women in the class, besides me) lost her shit as a former Gold Award Girl Scout. That guy was a jerk.

        4. Caffeine Monkey*

          I’d always assumed that Eagle Scout was roughly equivalent to the UK’s King’s/Queen’s Scout award, but with more requirements for being manly and outdoors, and possibly wrestling bears or taming an eagle. Looking at the requirements, it seems a LOT easier.

          (I got my Queen’s Scout, but I’ve never considered putting it on my CV.)

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        All it makes me think of is the guy I knew in college who was very proud of being an Eagle Scout. This wasn’t the only reason my friends and I considered him Undatable, but it didn’t help.

        FWIW, this was the early 90s, and we were from an area where most kids quit scouts before high school.

    2. Panicked*

      The Eagle Scout (Or Girl Scout Gold Award) can be a big positive on a resume. I see it quite often. It shows that a person (usually) works hard, can see a project through to completion, has leadership skills, can stay organized, communicates well, etc…

      Although a 12 page resume is something else!

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Don’t laugh at listing the Eagle Scout. They are told it can be useful to get jobs.

      The university I got my MA from was hiring a law school dean while I was there. I kid you not, the guy they hired listed Eagle Scout as one of his accomplishments. The guy was easily in his 50s.

    4. ThatGirl*

      OH I almost forgot the best part – he had perfect attendance in elementary school.

      1. Czhorat*

        That isn’t his accomplishment; that’s his parents not letting him stay home when he’s sick. (you said K-12 in another comment; I refuse to believe he wasn’t sick once in a dozen years)

        1. ThatGirl*

          I honestly can’t remember now if it was elementary school or K-12, I second-guessed myself, but either way — it’s not really an accomplishment, like you said, and anything that happened before college is generally not relevant once you hit 30.

    5. Luanne Platter*

      Eagle Scouts have to serve their troop and community, have to learn important life skills, have to plan, coordinate, and execute a major project. This is directly relevant to work skills.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Well a) I actually meant to post about the perfect attendance thing, which is far weirder but b) I can see it if you’re fresh out of school/college … this dude was at least 30, it’s not particularly relevant anymore.

      2. ferrina*

        Theoretically. I don’t know many Eagle Scouts, but those that I know are a 50/50 split between hard workers that pulled off an impressive project vs people whose parents/friends scrambled at last minute to do the thing that the Boy Scout couldn’t be bothered to do but was happy to claim credit for.

    6. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      Okay, that’s better than mine, but I did once see a 15-page resume that included a Microsoft Office certification from… 1996? (and this was LAST YEAR). There were not fifteen pages worth of meaningful accomplishments — it was in fact one of the worst-written while still largely grammatical resumes I have ever seen.

  27. Part Time Wizard*

    I got some confused questions from my interviewers when I included a project building cat towers for an animal shelter on my resume. To be fair to myself, it was my Gold Award project (the Girl Scout equivalent of the Eagle rank) so I was slapping that on everything hoping for a leg up. But they were very confused about why there was a carpentry project on my application for a position at a government library.
    I did get the job.

    1. diasporacrew*

      Perhaps this is silly on my part, but I feel like carpentry skills could come in handy in a library.

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        Eh yeah, if it’s the kind of library that creates fun seasonal displays or runs community programs. But I’m guessing a government library wouldn’t do that.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Aren’t most libraries government libraries? The two I worked at were part of the municipal government.

          1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

            I assumed that since Part Time Wizard didn’t say Public Library that this would be a much more formal or specialized library that would mostly be used by researchers for example — like the Library of Congress — it is open to the public, but it would not have fun seasonal displays.

      2. fine-tipped pen aficionado*

        Carpentry may not be that handy but a background in scouting and experience with student volunteer projects is!

      3. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

        We once had a reference desk that was permanently attached to the floor. When we wanted to rearrange the reference area, one of the librarians offered to bring their chainsaw to work to fix the problem. The library director declined the offer and had the university facility folks the care of the desk.

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      My first professional job I had kept my nanny jobs, my IT job, and my farming job on my resume as an attempt to seem like I had experience. I had 0 job history relevant to the new job, but I had been working on and off for all of high school and college and was trying to show it!

    3. Bumblebee*

      Well, I think we just identified my youngest’s Eagle Scout project one day . . . he would be so happy to do something like this!

    4. Orv*

      I once had an IT job where I ended up building a wooden frame to mount some air filters in the window of a makeshift server room. I remarked that I’d never really expected carpentry to be part of my system administration duties. I won’t say it was the prettiest or most plumb and true bit of framing but it worked for about three years until we were able to move to a real data center.

  28. pookie87*

    We had a candidate for a Food Service Worker position that listed making dognuts at a local grocery store. Spell check may have come in handy.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      They’d have fit right in at a store I used to work at, where I remember seeing signs for “pasta bowels” and “camisole table” instead of console table, which is a long narrow table that goes behind a sofa. My own manager nearly put one up that said “girls’ t-shits” but she caught it in time.

    2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Ew, now I’ll have that in my brain when I think of doggies getting neutered. Which, btw, I do NOT think about at random, but still …

      1. RC*

        Dognuts made me lol.

        (There was just that study looking at microplastics in dog testicles, although I’m pretty sure the researchers did not source them from a grocery store!)

    3. TJ Morrison*

      I’ve seen something called a “Bear Claw” at a bakery before. I’d probably try DogNuts if it looked like an actual pastry at a local bakery.

      1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

        There is probably a bakery that has labeled their donut holes as DogNuts

        1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

          Couldn’t find one with a quick search, but there are multiple bakeries selling dognuts dog treats.

          1. Chas*

            I was going to say it sounds like it’d be a good name for the donut equivalent of a Wooffin (dog-friendly muffin).

  29. Chocoholic*

    I’ve gotten some doozies over the years. One had an extensive work history listed, and put on there that the reason they had left various jobs was that they were terminated due to poor attendance.

    One resume was literally 20 pages long and came bound in one of those covers I used to put a paper in when I turned it in.

    There was another one that every “S” that appeared at the end of a word was an apostrophe S. It made it very distracting to try to read.

    1. HonorBox*

      I think after the first two of the apostrophe S instances, I’d have round filed that resume.

    2. Rock Prof*

      Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) and his “clear plastic binder” would be proud.

    3. Wolf*

      What do people even writein a 20 page resume? Lots of jobs, or lots of detail about a regular number of jobs?

      1. All things considered, I'd rather be a dragon*

        I don’t hire, but I’ve recently started reviewing resumes as an SME. I waded through one that was about 23 pages plus 12 additional pages. The applicant appears to have made a living as a seasonal worker who was occasionally hired back the next year but often moved to a different place over the winter. Their resume read as though every winter, they opened the document and added new text at the top describing exactly what they’d done that summer. In paragraphs with complete sentences and much detail. And never edited the existing text (including occasional comments at the end of a section in present tense).

        By “much detail”, I mean that they wouldn’t have said “ergonomically adjusted chair”, but “ergonomically adjusted arms, back, seat, and height of chair”, because they clearly didn’t want you to assume they only knew A-C when they actually knew A-G.

  30. The Wizard Rincewind*

    I used to assist an HR manager and resumes were tangentially related to my duties. I mostly remember seeing a LOT of non-professional email addresses. Lots of BabyGirl[numerals] and BigPoppa[numerals], one CheeseMeister, and, since it was the height of Twilight mania, MANY permutations of EdwardLuvsBella, BiteMeEdward, VampireLuver, etc.

    All of these people were applying to work at a major oil company.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      In engineering college in like 2011 or near then, we had 4 different seminars were they stressed that we needed to snag our name as an email and use only it for job hunting. At the time we made fun of the instructors for thinking we needed to be told that so much, like who on earth would apply with a non professional email??? I guess some people really do!

    2. Cow Woman in hiding*

      Came here to say the same thing. Email address that you should only use with your friends.

      1. Jam on Toast*

        Oh yeah! I can verify this. Years ago, I was an events coordinator for a big advertising awards show. We needed volunteers as ushers, runners, setter-uppers and hander-outers so I contacted a professor who taught in the marketing program at a local college and they had the students in the program submit a cover letter and resume.

        Some of the emails they used were completely NSFW. Like Wow! I did not need to know that about you! Others were very fan or hobby focused, like IluvHarryPotter134@hotmail.com.

    3. Tempest*

      I was helping a friend edit her resume and when she sent me her draft her email was some permutation of sexxxymama69.

    4. Albatross*

      My email address is firstname @ customdomain dot com. The custom domain isn’t anything obviously inappropriate (it’s the name of my dad’s dwarf barbarian from his high school D&D campaign, I have to spell it for most people), but I did have one interviewer mention that they’d checked out the site because they were curious. At the time, it had a bunch of old family vacation photos visible. Those have now been removed, and it just links to some of my dad’s nonfiction writing. (I also have a garden-variety firstname-lastname-numbers @ gmail address, but I know some people don’t like the numbers so I usually use the custom domain one.)

      1. allathian*

        I guess I got lucky in that I snagged a gmail address without any numbers, although I did have to include my middle initial.

    5. Elle Woods*

      A friend is a recruiter and a die-hard fan of a state school that has a rivalry with a neighboring state school. This friend thought he’d found a great candidate for a role he was looking to fill and, after speaking with the candidate on the phone, asked the candidate to send over his resume. The candidate’s email address was along the lines of “neighboring state school mascot rules recruiter’s state school sucks at domain dot com.” The candidate was immediately eliminated from consideration.

    6. Bread Crimes*

      Hoo boy. Indeed. Like, my standard job application email address is a touch on the quirky side, but it’s based on my name, and it’s not about my hobbies or bedroom preferences.

      I have thought about making “Bread Crimes” an email address if I ever need another account to be even more detached from my real name, but I don’t think I would apply to a job from breadcrimes at any email server. Raises too many questions about other types of crimes I might commit.

    7. Hydrangea MacDuff*

      I was helping my first student teacher with his application materials and we had only communicated using work email, which is how I discovered (and advised him to change) that his personal email was “onebigburrito@domain”

    8. Distracted Procrastinator*

      I very much sympathize with people who have common names. Mine is pretty much on the level of Jennifer Smith. But even still I wouldn’t apply for a job with an email like MrDarcysShirt @thirsty.com

    9. Aitch Arr*

      Two I saw recently (somewhat altered for privacy):

      lowenergysales@ (this was for a sales role)

      godschosenone@

    10. karriegrace*

      My husband once had an intern whose email was meatwad69@. He still remembers this fondly,

  31. Audrey Puffins*

    Applying to work in a bookshop, handed in a lovingly typed essay explaining how they didn’t believe in standard CVs because they were such an original thinker and didn’t have to be constrained by society. And to prove it, they decorated this essay with scads of carefully chosen Microsoft standard clip art.

  32. Keeper of the Boos*

    I had an applicant who listed “international ferret judge” on her CV. I wanted to interview her just to ask her about that! Another covering letter consisted of one line, which read “I am perfect for this job”. He wasn’t.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Anyone who can judge international ferrets can join my team immediately!

    2. Nea*

      Hey, the ferret judge is used to working in an environment of hyperactivity, petty theft, hoarding, and biting.* Depending on the job, it’s perfect training!

      *And being adorable; I used to own ferrets and love them but… yeah.

      1. ferrina*

        “Hmmm, the copier was left open, there are three staplers on the floor, and all the paper clips are missing. I can tell you exactly who did and why.”

        Hired.

    3. I don't work in this van*

      There is a *delightful* documentary about people who show ferrets. IIRC, it is by PBS and called Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence.

  33. Shauna B*

    Once got a resume that stated they had graduated Magna Cum Latte. Also got one where the candidate spelled their name differently on the cover letter than they did on the resume.

    1. Mim*

      I was just scratching my head yesterday over an email where someone (at a different organization) spelled her name in her sign-off differently than it was spelled in her email address or email signature info. Neither versions were a nickname, they didn’t have different gender associations (like Jesse/Jessie, for example), or anything like that. Just… spelling variants that looked unlikely to be a typo. I used the name that she used at the end of her email, but I’m the type of person who is now anxious that I chose the wrong one. Even though that’s what I’d advise anyone else to do. (But why not change your email signature? Is she a time traveler from Elizabethan England, or any other time/place where spellings were loosey-goosey like that?)

      1. Tempest*

        Could be a lazy IT department.. we’ve had three employees with misspelled last names in their email addresses, our old IT manager considered it unimportant and refused to fix/change them.

        1. Orv*

          That can be surprisingly hard to fix. You can fix it on the email server end, but anyone who has previously mailed the person is likely to still see the old name because it’ll be stored in their address book.

          I went through this a few times with colleagues who got married and changed their names. It can be very frustrating.

          1. Peanut Hamper*

            Nah, that’s just lazy IT. It’s a pretty simple thing to set up a rule on the mail server that redirects emails from an old email address to a new email address.

      1. TJ Morrison*

        I’m imagining that baristas are awarded a Magnum Cup Latte when they finish training.

  34. Panicked*

    I had one applicant that put “Have spent less than 8 nights incarcerated” on his resume.

    I’ve had several candidates who listed Olympic records, although not a single one was actually on the Olympic team, had verifiable records, or even possible. I had one 40 year old candidate who stated that she won an Olympic medal in 1990. She would have been under the age of 10.

    I also had one candidate who put on their resume that they made “the best cookies in the world. (No, you cannot have the recipe.)”

    1. Expelliarmus*

      There wasn’t even a Summer or Winter Olympics in 1990! Back then, both Summer and Winter Olympics took place in the same year (ex. 1988, 1992). This changed in 1994, when Lillehammer, Norway hosted the first Winter Olympics to not take place the same year as a Summer Olympics, and only since then have the events been staggered.

          1. AFac*

            Alternative Olympics Sports:

            – Changing TV channels to avoid commercials.
            – Couch potatoing
            – Applying makeup in a car
            – Procrastination
            – Accidentally hitting tennis balls into the next court
            – Typing your own name incorrectly

            1. Quill*

              – Confidently giving out your wrong name, address, etc
              – Scooting in a chair without making noise
              – Tripping over own shoelaces

      1. Distracted Procrastinator*

        They were still called the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. they just took place a few months apart instead of two years (roughly) apart.

    2. Texas Teacher*

      Junior Olympics, possibly? But really that sort of thing needs to be properly noted.

    3. Aitch Arr*

      I couldn’t find it in the ATS, but I recall a resume from a candidate whose accomplishments included something like “attended London Olympics.”

      1. Caffeine Monkey*

        Considering how hard it was to get tickets, that shows dedication, perserverance, and ability to deal with bureaucracy!

  35. diasporacrew*

    At a nonprofit internship several years ago, I was tasked with receiving applications in the general mailbox and forwarding them to the relevant hiring managers, as there were many open positions in several countries overseas.
    One applicant sent in a resume which had, in the lower left corner, a pretty big cartoon image of the genie from Aladdin coming out of his lamp. Then a blue speech bubble coming out of his mouth and filling the page. Inside the speech bubble was the actual resume (in smaller font, as the genie, lamp and bubble took up a fair amount of space on the page).
    He was not hired.

    1. NotBatman*

      That is a beautiful mental image, and I can imagine exactly the era of Microsoft Word it must have come from.

  36. AnonInCanada*

    I can’t really speak too much about this, but I do remember helping an old friend of mine redo his resume many years ago. The biggest eye-popper in that: he (or whoever wrote it for him) left out the “l” in “public.”

    Whoops.

    1. Teacher Lady*

      As someone who works in public schools, I see this quite often! I just reviewed a batch of resumes last week where TWENTY PERCENT of the candidates had this error at least once. I have never rejected a resume solely on that basis, but most of the resumes I see that have that error also have many other errors, and usually don’t come across as strong candidates in terms of experience, either.

      It is why I advise new teacher candidates from my graduate program to actually print out their resume and have someone else proofread it.

      1. AnonInCanada*

        Wow. You would think someone applying for a teaching job, who would be teaching children things like attention to detail, would go over their resume with a fine-tooth comb over something like this.

        Whoops, indeed!

        1. ialwaysforgetmyname*

          You might be sadly dismayed by the writing ability of far too many people in education.

        2. Wolf*

          There’s nothing quite as ironic as misspelling “I have great attention for detail” in your cover letter.

      2. ferrina*

        The other trick- do a Word Search for the word you don’t want. Spell check won’t find it, but you can directly search for it and fix ti.

      3. Doris*

        I mentioned this in another comment, but I was an instructor for a Human Geography subject all about public spaces and so many of our essays discussed ‘pubic spaces’.

    2. PicklePants*

      Haha we had this in one of the reports the teachers wrote for end of year. Apparently the students had all been learning how to catch pubic transport….!!!!

    3. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      That person is merely making up for a boss of mine from many decades ago who always pronounced it as “plublic.” There are only a finite number of letters in the world and if someone uses too many, another person has to do without.

    4. Small Town Librarian*

      Our local school district has an automated telephone system that will robo-call the parents of all students when there is a weather related closure.

      And one frosty winter morning, they misspelled “public” in the way you describe for the robotic lady to matter-of-factly read to all the parents in the school district.

    5. allathian*

      The missing l in public is probably one of the most common typos there is in the English language.

  37. Snarkus Aurelius*

    Some years ago, my agency was hiring for a position with the word “officer” in the title. The role was required by law to be filed so think of something like “compliance officer” or “HR officer.” A lot of people mass apply to government jobs without reading the job description so we included multiple choice questions to screen out anyone who had zero experience with this law.

    One of the applications scared the shit out of me. This guy’s resume had a border (a crime unto itself) of crosses. Then it listed all of his military experience abroad, his knowledge of firearms, his choice of religion, and his love of Jesus Christ. But his cover letter was most disturbing. In it, he described how much pleasure he took in killing to defend the United States when he served in the armed forces and that if we gave him this job, he would “defend” our agency in the same way. He would even bring his own guns! In the first and last paragraphs, this man proudly announced he would kill for my employer. Oh and he completely lied in all the multiple choice questions about his knowledge of this law and the role we needed to fill. He said he had “multiple years” of experience working to ensure compliance with this particular law. (I don’t want to know how he defined “compliance.”)

    For a few weeks, I was really scared to come to work because this guy had our address and my name is very Google-able.

    Sir, this is a Wendys…

      1. Roland*

        This person was literally paid by the government to kill, they ain’t putting him on a list

        1. Lenora Rose*

          That’s not how that works. Soldiers are all paid for the possibility they will kill, but threatening to kill people as a civilian, even one with a military record, is still a no-no. Ex-military people can be arrested for murder.

    1. DrB*

      I’m wondering if he thought it was a LEO position. Like he had some Rambo fantasy of being a security guard for your firm that’s apparently (in his mind) routinely attacked by space aliens or terrorists or supervillains or something.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I mean…

        The job was meant to make sure we, as an agency, were compliant with very, very specific state and federal versions of this law. Unofficially, it was about data quality for us because we produced a lot of it and needed a person to ensure accuracy and consistency.

        The literal worst thing that could ever happen to you if you violated the law was a hefty fine imposed by a judge on our agency and there would be a ton of public scrutiny. No one would go to prison or get the death penalty.

        Part of me really wanted to know what this guy thought we did! And I’ll give him credit for standing out among the attorney and regulatory applicants just not in the way he thought!

  38. DisneyChannelThis*

    I had a candidate list a section as “IT skills” and then include that they were a surgical assistant in that section in amongst their list of “Microsoft Office , Word ,Excel” etc. It had dates too, so it wasn’t like they just missed a line when reusing a template or something!

    Runner up was the cover letter with 3 different fonts, some bold font sentences, and 2 different colors. Like show us you have 0 attention to detail please.

    1. Glazed Donut*

      I’ve seen cover letters with CLEAR copy and paste from the job description – along the lines of “I am very (desired qualities) and have experience (direct copy-paste of experience requested)”. I likely would have noticed it anyway but the change in font and background shading made it extra noticeable.

      1. anon for this*

        As I frequently used to comment at my former Higher Ed job, “It helps a lot if you use Paste Special to remove the Wikipedia links…”

      2. sb51*

        If they haven’t done horrible crimes against formatting, using the exact wording of the job description to make sure that automated first-pass software pulls them in wouldn’t bug me at all, honestly. It shows they’ve read the job description, for one…

    2. Mim*

      I’m laughing at the font thing, because that is absolutely something my middle schooler would do (um, does do) for assignments. But in her case, she is showing great attention to detail! Each absurd font choice, color choice, etc., is done with the utmost care and attention. So sincerely. Very important. Extremely fancy.

      1. DisneyChannelThis*

        From a middle schooler that makes sense! Handouts for kids often switch fonts or use bold to draw attention to important information, she’s mimicking what she’s seen.

        But in the cover letter, which is paragraphs, to just randomly have navy text then black, then sentences in arial vs times new roman vs calibri was just such a red flag to me! Tells me you copy pasted sentences you found somewhere else basically. Couldn’t even take the 30 seconds to glance over the final and select all then select black font!

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        I am trying to train my high school students out of this. I am not 100% effective.

  39. Meg*

    We had a guy apply for a vet tech position and he stated his experience in landscaping at one of those extremist Christian universities qualified him to restrain animals and give medication. We hired him as a kennel assistant and he rage quit after half a day when we wouldn’t let him do everything the licensed techs did.

    In the same round of applications we had a veterinary receptionist equate escorting dogs to the kennel from the front desk to being a licensed tech. That was fun.

    1. ferrina*

      Ugh, hate that.

      “I’ve given bandaids and ice packs to my kids. What do you mean I’m not qualified to be an ER doctor/nurse?”

    2. Wolf*

      Well, I remember seeing a “lawnmowing, mulching and alligator removal” company in Florida.

  40. PicklePants*

    At a previous job, I was assisting the headteacher with applications for a class teacher position. One lady wrote the entire application from the perspective of her hand puppet. The hand puppet had apparently filled in the application on behalf of the candidate. The best thing about it was that she included photos of her & the puppet working together on projects e.g. in the garden, painting. I’m laughing now remembering it.

      1. PicklePants*

        I wish I could have kept it & or had the decision making power to give her an interview!

    1. Roy G. Biv*

      I would have been delirious with joy to have puppet teacher in elementary school!

    2. WantonSeedStitch*

      For someone who’s going to be teaching kids? As long as she actually gets across the relevant information, that is kind of genius! It communicates a sense of play and creativity that make it clear the kids would adore her.

      1. Enai*

        Oh, the kids might love it, but how is she as a colleague? Being talked down to by your coworker or employee gets old really quickly, and she clearly didn’t understand that the resume is the wrong place for a ventriloquist number.

  41. Over It*

    Not the weirdest thing out there, but someone I went to college with very prominently has it displayed on their LinkedIn that they were valedictorian of their middle school. Makes sense to put that on your resume in high school and maybe first year of college, but we are in our 30s now.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      I didn’t even realize that middle school had valedictorians! And I’m younger than you (late 20s)

      1. Over It*

        I don’t think this is a thing most middle schools do! Mine certainly didn’t have a valedictorian.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I don’t even know who my high school valedictorian was. I think there was a tie, it was announced at graduation, and I forgot 20 minutes later.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        Mine did, I can even remember who it was. I can’t imagine her putting it on her resume though; even by the time she was done with high school she had a few more actual accomplishments.

        1. Two-Faced Big-Haired Food Critic*

          There was a girl a year ahead of me who was frantic to be valedictorian because she thought it would get her into Harvard. She did not get to be valedictorian. And she did not get into Harvard. I remember afterwards, a teacher talking to the whole class about what it takes to get into what college. She cited this, and added, “Harvard could fill an entire freshman class with valedictorians and still have people left over. They’re looking for people out of the ordinary, and valedictorians are often conformists, which is how they get to *be* valedictorians.”

    2. Orv*

      Yeeeah. I used to have my college GPA on my resume, but I took that off after I got my second post-college job.

  42. Anonforthis*

    I had a cover letter where a guy talked about navigating his divorce as relevant experience. This was a legal job, but it was not a family law job or adjacent, and the time was very much “I succeeded over my evil ex”. So not appropriate.

  43. Ann O'Nemity*

    Recently, the worst thing I’ve seen are AI-generated emails that serve as cover letters with attached resumes. These emails started showing up in my inbox a few months ago from random out of state applicants. I am not currently hiring for any roles, so I have to assume these AI systems scraped my name and contact information off of a previous job posting or company webpage. I did some research and found tons of online for-fee services that will automatically apply to open jobs and spam resumes to hiring managers.

    1. Sue Smith*

      What did you notice about the emails that let you know they were AI-generated? Did they seem a little off? Or were there repetitions or irrelevancies?

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        It was weird that I started receiving unsolicited resumes. Even when I’m hiring, the vast majority of candidates just apply through our ATS instead of emailing their resume to me. So that tripped my suspicions right off the bat. And now I’m getting at least one a week.

        Here are a few other oddities:
        * All of the applicants were out of state or international, when usually our candidates are local.
        * The email in the from field didn’t match the email in the signature or in the resume.
        * Many of the emails started with a variation of “I hope this email finds you well.” Classic generative-AI opener!
        * The applicants are looking for positions outside of my functional area, most often in IT but not always.

          1. Orv*

            You know, I kind of get it. Given that most job applications are going to be read and screened by AIs, might as well have AIs write them too. There’s a symmetry in the idea of robots applying to robots.

            1. Ann O'Nemity*

              My gripe is that these emails are basically spam. It’s not so much that applicants are using generative-AI to help write cover letters and resumes; I assume that’s becoming more common. I’m annoyed that these for-fee services send out 20,000 cold emails over night. I suppose that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, but none of the ones I’ve gotten have any alignment with the actual jobs in my department.

              1. Orv*

                I feel like we’re in an arms race. On the one side there’s employers using AI to weed through resumes, posting jobs that don’t actually exist, etc. On the other side there’s job seekers looking for a way around having to put a ton of effort into a lot of applications that will only get ghosted. Frankly the whole system seems broken, but I’m not sure how to fix it.

        1. Quill*

          We can finally retire the “I hope this email finds you well” now that it’s being used in AI? Nice.

    2. WantonSeedStitch*

      I am currently hiring, and I actually typed in a ChatGPT prompt saying “write me a cover letter for a position as [role I’m hiring for] at [my employer.” I was curious to see, first of all, whether the bot could write a halfway decent cover letter (turns out it wasn’t half bad, showed correct understanding of the role and even brought in a lot of the stuff my employer prides itself on). I also wanted to be on the alert in case I got a cover letter that STRONGLY resembled what the bot produced. While I can see an AI-generated cover letter not being a terrible thing in all cases, this role is one that really requires skill at written communication and has data privacy reasons why we can’t use AI for our written work product. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t getting a false idea of someone’s writing ability.

      1. Holy Moly Guacamole*

        My sympathies,

        My team was flooded with tons of AI generated cover letters that only matched the job description and did not match the applicants’ resumes. While this made weeding out applicants that did not possess and eye for detail, the whole process made my supervisor drop the cover letter requirement.

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          I haven’t actually received an AI-generated cover letter yet that I was able to recognize as such! I feel bad about dropping the cover letter requirement: I feel like it’s easier for me to get a sense of a person and figure out if I really want to interview them when there’s a cover letter.

    3. MigraineMonth*

      I wonder if the emails I’ve been getting recently are advertising that service. The email pretends to be from a recruiter and pitches a job candidate that would be perfect for my opening, giving lots of details about their background and experirence… and the job candidate is me. It’s surreal.

  44. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I believe I have shared this here in the past, and I may be getting some of these bits out of order, plus this was a two-step problem in which the first step was that our terrible terrible HR associate posted my job opening for a position that required both specific experience and a specific credential … as blank. Like, the headline said “Remote” (and NOTHING ELSE), and the only text in the job description was the boilerplate “we don’t discriminate” statement, she didn’t include either the job description or the position requirements. So it took me a couple days to figure out why I was getting applications from Amazon box packers, Arabic-speaking call center specialists, vet techs, and construction workers for my medical coding job (because he was also so terrible we didn’t allow him to screen resumes for us).

    But then there was this one, from a 17 year old high school student, which consisted of, by my recollection…

    A single-page PDF
    containing a screenshot of a Word document
    containing a cell phone screenshot
    of a photograph
    of a Notepad file on a computer screen
    that read “I am willing to learn anything necessary to do a job.”

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      That’s some serious Gumption ™! But not bad for a high school kid, and the willingness to learn is a really good trait in an employee.

  45. Mrs. Badcrumble*

    Cigarette ash. The content was probably ridiculous, as was the 13 page resume that accompanied it, but what really stood out was that. And the reek of smoke.

  46. anon for this*

    application for a professional role at a financial institution, listed email began with poohbearlove

    1. Rainy*

      When I was teaching during grad school many years ago, I’d have students who adamantly refused to use their uni email and would give me their personal email as a contact, and I had a student whose email address was BigDickOnCampus6969@[once common but now very dated host].com. I suggested that he might want to make a more professional personal email since I knew that his department strongly suggested, if not required, an internship over the summer, and he responded, somewhat pugnaciously, that there was nothing wrong with the one he had.

      He was a business major.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        Unless 1) his name was Richard, 2) he was larger than another Richard on campus who others might have confused him with, and 3) his birthday was June 9, 1969, there’s no excuse. Even if 1, 2, and 3 were true, he would still have been pretty clueless.

      2. Orv*

        As someone who works in campus IT, I absolutely insist students use their campus email to contact me. I tell them, “I don’t know who ‘greeklife69@example.com’ is and I can’t give them any of your information.”

        1. Rainy*

          Well, in communicating deadlines and stuff I really wanted the email addresses people actually checked, so I’d put both on my list, but this was 20 years ago and my university barely acknowledged email as a method of communication, let alone had any policies around that communication.

          I still work in higher ed, but we have Rules now and I won’t communicate with people outside of our official methods.

          1. Orv*

            I find most of them these days are forwarding their official mail to their unofficial one; it’s mostly just a matter of getting them to reply from the correct account.

            It does drive me up the wall when *professors* do this because there are information security and public document request issues at play.

            1. Rainy*

              Yeah, occasionally I’ll have students try to add me on LinkedIn, which I understand but don’t allow, partly because that’s the kind of thing that you allow the first or second time and then they want to use LinkedIn messages to communicate and that is absolutely not okay.

      3. lurkyloo*

        100% not resume related but we had a giant meeting a few weeks back with big muckity mucks and about 100 other staff of varying levels.
        The next day a dude accidentally typed his password into the chat.
        It was Erection69!
        We’re in federal government.
        Cheers, man!

        1. Rainy*

          Oof. Not only does he now have to change his password (THE WORST), everyone knows the old one was Erection69. That’s a double whammy.

        2. ConstantlyComic*

          It’s so funny what people will use for passwords. I work at a public library that allows patrons to partially sign up for cards online (we need to confirm their identities in person to issue a physical card). Part of the online process is setting up a 4-digit PIN for the account, but people frequently miss the 4-digit number requirement and enter a full password, which library staff can see and which we have to change to a 4-digit number because of how some of our tech works.
          So I was addressing all that with a patron once and discovered that instead of a 4-digit number, he had set “BOOBS69” as his password. For his library account. Fortunately, I was able to remain professional throughout the process of changing the PIN to something our apps would accept, but in my mind, he is going to go down in history as the guy who thought that was a good library password.

  47. Rainy*

    I once got an academic CV with a whole section (probably 2/3rds of a page) that was nothing but fawning quotes from former students, clearly taken from course evaluations.

    I also have saved somewhere a list of “skills” from a resume that my husband got once that is absolutely unhinged. It includes such gems as “patrol a city park”. Yes, just like that. No, the person whose resume it was has never worked for a Parks Department.

    My favourites are always cover letters, though, because the number of cover letters I’ve gotten over the years that were written for a different role in a different organization is substantially more than zero. As in, we’re hiring for a Program Manager for X at Y organization and we get cover letters applying for Software Developer at Z Company (two cities away).

    1. JustaTech*

      My husband once got a resume where the “skill and technology” section (for a computer startup company) prominently included “Using P-Touch” which is a really basic label maker.

  48. Lena K.*

    Among other very silly things, a prospective intern that I was scheduled to interview included the bullet point “Powerful voice and charismatic aura” on his resume.

    He ended up being a no-show for the interview, but I sorely wish I’d gotten to meet him.

      1. Rainy*

        No one looms like Gaston
        Takes a zoom like Gaston
        No one’s voice makes a big basso boom like Gaston’s
        He’ll impress every hiring manager
        He’s perfect, a PowerPoint wiz
        You can ask any boss, dev, or janitor
        And they’ll tell who’d be an upgrade to your biz

        1. Storm in a teacup*

          And this is why although I come for the advice, I stay for the comments!
          Love it!

  49. E. coligist*

    I recently received a cover letter that was one sentence. No headers, no greeting, no closing — their name wasn’t on it anywhere. Just one sentence that essentially said, “I’m applying for this job, and I think I would be good at it.”

    They did not get an interview.

    1. ragazza*

      Back at my first job at a relatively staid university press, I got a cover letter applying for an editorial position that started out, “Congratulations, you’ve won a million dollars!” And then it went on to say something like, “Now that I have your attention…” Um, no.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      So, if the interviewer was an attractive person of the same sex, would the applicant suddenly start speaking Spanish?

    2. bamcheeks*

      Years ago there was a minor British political scandal in whcih a public figure was alleged to have engaged in a threesome with “a trilingual bisexual” and it was very, what DO you people think trilingual means.

    3. Orv*

      Big, “no, I don’t have any pornographic material! I don’t even own a pornograph!” energy.

  50. New Yorker*

    I’m in NYC and once received a cover letter & resume where the candidate had designed the documents to have a background like the NYC subway — colored lines and the subway line letters spelled their first name, iirc. The cover letter continued the subway theme with all sorts of train/subway puns. It was actually well designed and the cover letter was well written but it wasn’t right for the position to which they were applying. If it hadn’t been for advertising or marketing or something I might have put them in the ‘yes’ pile, but I this was for a project manager role.

    Also received a cover letter for a PT visitor service position at a museum where the person was wrote things along the lines of how much they hated people but were good at faking it, and how pretentious the contemporary art world is. They aren’t wrong about the latter but I couldn’t tell if it was a joke/some sort of art performance (ha), or if they thought the brutal honesty would be a positive. They did not get an interview.

    1. New Yorker*

      Oops, that should read “If it had been for advertising or marketing…” not hadn’t.

  51. Lynnerd*

    A memorably bovine cover letter for a copy writer position indicated that the applicant was “like a cow” and, since cows are “very creative,” often invents words like “fuggy guggy.”

    The final paragraph assured us that if we did not choose them, that would be fine because “cows are forgiving that way.”

    1. Rainy*

      I can’t decide if that’s someone intentionally biffing applications for unemployment insurance purposes or someone who wants to make sure that their fursona will be welcome at any job they take.

          1. allathian*

            That did it, now I’m literally laughing out loud at my desk! Fortunately I’m remote today.

  52. Veryanon*

    My favorite: A resume I received from someone who listed, under professional experience, that she was the President of the Allen Iverson Fan Club. Yes, her last name was Iverson. I was tempted to call her for an interview just based on that fact alone; I would have loved to meet Allen Iverson (this was back in the early 2000’s when he was A HUGE DEAL in Philly).
    Grossest: When I worked in Corporate HR for a well-known convenience store based in the Philly area, I received a resume printed on a *used* sandwich wrapper from one of our stores. Complete with grease spots and smelling of rancid food. I give the person points for creativity, but for the love of all that’s holy, I wish they would have used a clean, unused wrapper.

    1. I don't work in this van*

      I had a resume that had someone’s fansite(s) for a mid-tier, mid-90s heartthrob listed (this was 2008). It was kinda relevant because they were applying for an internship at an arts & entertainment website, but I for sure wondered if they included it everywhere they applied.

  53. Hannah Lee*

    It wasn’t any one thing, on the application, but,

    once had an application for an industrial equipment manufacturing job which required a very specific technical skill. The person from their application it appeared this person had none of those skills, nothing anywhere close to them.

    But they went into GREAT detail in their cover letter and multi-page resume about their extensive (multi-degree, multiple institutions) education in metaphysics and divinity … no program, degree, certificate seeming to follow logically from the last, and listed almost zero work experience.

    1. Mrspotatohead*

      it’s shocking the number of people who will apply for postings with specific technical requirements because they always thought it would be fun to do whatever. I’m like, I know you’ve seen my job on TV and it looks fun, but there are actual regulations in place here

      1. Pippa K*

        We sometimes get applications for tenure-track positions requiring a PhD in political science from someone who is a lawyer (with a JD but not a PhD). Their cover letter usually says something like “I’m very knowledgeable about politics because I’ve always been interested in it” and “a JD is a doctoral degree.” No.

      2. bamcheeks*

        I think it comes down to the “if you have 80% of the essential criteria” advice, and some people not realising that some criteria are more essential than others. People don’t get that there may not be a massive difference between theee years experience and five years experience, but there really is a big difference between being a lawyer and not being one.

        1. Albatross*

          I was applying for engineering jobs recently and had a vast number of job-hunting sites go “This job is in your field and you meet all but one of the criteria! You should apply!” Except the one I was missing was the Professional Engineer license. In my field, this is the one that lets you, say, sign off that a bridge design works and the bridge will not fall down while people are driving over it. A job that needs a PE license will accept no substitutes.

          1. Quill*

            Working in STEM it’s mostly relatives and tailored job ads for me. Job sites have emailed me literally anything that matches a single, technical enough word, relatives don’t know what I do, and recruiters do not care.

            The number of times I’ve been asked if I want a job as an electrical engineer… Folks, I herd germs for a living.

  54. AA*

    I wrote a limerick as part of a cover letter for a job application…at a nuclear reactor. Oh, college.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      To be fair, if the hiring manager had been Homer Simpson, this would have been totally fine.

    2. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      There once was a man from Nantucket,
      Who stored uranium in a leaky bucket.
      I’ll perform work better,
      Please accept my cover letter,
      Not throw it in the trash and say F*%$ it.

    3. Junior Assistant Peon*

      Were you applying to the nuclear power plant in Limerick, PA? They should have hired you!

    4. LabManagerGuy*

      I work in a field adjacent to the nuclear industry, and I can promise you that I know more than one manager in the industry who would be favorably disposed to a resume with a limerick (assuming it scanned properly), especially from a college student. That said, I’m gonna go with not recommending that tactic to any summer students I help mentor…

  55. CantMakeThisUp*

    It’s not exactly the weirdest but we recently received a 36-page resume….for an editor position!

    1. HugeTractsofLand*

      Oh dear. Although, I guess it’s convenient that an editor’s resume is basically a built in hiring project!

    2. LabManagerGuy*

      “My editing philosophy is most strongly informed by my love of James Michener and Marcel Proust…”

  56. H3llifIknow*

    I have mentioned this on other questions before, but the weirdest thing I saw on a resume that I have received more than once from this woman…was that it was MY resume. Still makes me angry and laugh at the same time, and it’s been almost 10 years! I finally blocked her on LinkedIn so not sure where/if she’s getting any new information to add on there! She may have to start using her OWN WORK EXPERIENCE! The Humanity!

    1. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

      Oh my goodness. Maybe she was going off the studies showing that hiring managers like to hire people who remind them of themselves?
      This one really amuses me.

    2. BellaStella*

      Wow. So, why don’t you write back to her and explain this is nonsense? Or better post it on a comment on her LinkedIn to stop stalking you or something? I would call her up and ask her to stop or get served with a cease and desist maybe? not sure it is that severe but wtf.

      1. H3llifIknow*

        Well, when it comes to me, I simply tell HR to put her on our Do Not Hire list. And because our field is relatively integrated in this community, people always ask, “so and so sent us a resume and she sounds awesome, do you know her” and basically the word is out. No need for me to confront her–my revenge or whatever you want to call it is all behind the scenes, no ugliness or accusations need be involved. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

    3. bamcheeks*

      This might explain the “two identical resumes with different names” phenomenon above…

    4. Llama face!*

      But…but…if she was you wouldn’t she already have your job and not need to apply for one?
      Also, I feel like there could be a joke here involving wanting to work for yourself.

      Jokes aside, that’s actually weird and a bit concerning. Glad you were able to block her and she didn’t pop back up again like a whack-a-mole.

      1. H3llifIknow*

        So, we worked in the same office. I was a Llama Analyst and she was a Llama Editor, let’s say. That work was dissolved, but because she edited my and other’s work she knew the words to use in our field. My resume was up so she literally downloaded it, changed the dates, name, etc… of course, as I’m much older (although weirdly we went to the same college, so that stayed in, diff year tho) and didn’t use my older, irrelevant jobs, but used the same bullets under work experience, etc.. But the format, font size, and type, everything was the same, otherwise. My field is super hot right now, and she wanted to get out of Llama editing, so as to your question about “if she was you…” Yes, she DID get several jobs in our field, w/ my resume, but none lasted longer than a year because she didn’t KNOW the job, just the jargon. By now, it’s possible she’s finally gotten some skills, etc… and maybe knows her shit… I haven’t had her resume cross my desk in oh… 8 years or so now although friends in the field know to put her on their do not hire lists!

    5. I don't work in this van*

      This happened to someone I used to work with! One of our clients was like “heyyyyy, we just got this resume and it sounds a lot like you?” and it was absolutely a copy of my colleague’s resume.

  57. Percysowner*

    Many years ago my boss received an application from a woman who stated that that her previous job was as an assistant to President Jimmy Carter. She explained left that job because her mother became ill and on her deathbed forced her daughter to swear she would live forever in Akron, Ohio. My boss noted that there was no way she would hire someone without checking a reference and there was no way she could call the White House and ask to speak to the President regarding a reference check. I can’t imagine the reference was true, but the application did stand out.

    1. bamcheeks*

      I feel like if you were the president’s ex-assistant, the least he could do is hook you up with a job directly.

    2. ThatGirl*

      I mean, I’m sure the White House has HR like anyone else who could verify an employment claim, but that’s still pretty strange.

    3. BikeWalkBarb*

      Years ago when I worked in higher ed one of our executive assistants had been part of the secretarial team staffing Air Force One during Clinton’s administration. She was an absolute whiz at travel planning–thought of everything down to whether or not transit service would be running at the time my flight would arrive and I always got a tidy folder with everything hole punched and held in place in the chronological sequence I might need it in.

    4. Irish Teacher.*

      We have a former president in Ireland who later went on to become Professor of Children, Law and Religion at a Scottish university. I assume it wasn’t exactly a normal job application process, but it amuses me to think of her writing “former experience: President of Ireland.”

  58. Mrspotatohead*

    I was helping my supervisor go through some resumes for a position that I was going to help manage, let’s say teapot sorter. Plenty of resumes came in, standard mix of qualified and not, and low to high quality resumes. but the one I really remember is the one that really focused on his novel – I can’t recall the details but it was at least one page of his two page resume was about this novel he wrote, entirely unrelated to teapot sorting. It read almost like it was ad copy. But at the very bottom there was just one line under the teapot sorting header stating “please contact me about my experience with teapot sorting”. My dude, you contacted me. What did you think this was?

  59. Forty Feet*

    We had a candidate recently that had an Activities section at the bottom of his resume. The only thing in it was that he runs 4 miles in 28 minutes several times a week to stay in shape.

  60. Former Young Lady*

    I saw a candidate boast about her commitment to “equity, inclusion, and diversion.”

    Another talked about running an online business “while caring for a child with special health needs that has now fully launched.” Not sure if it was the child or the business that launched.

      1. Tangerina Warbleworth*

        …. and now I’m picturing a woman with a big, plastic catapult in primary colors putting a toddler into the cup part right outside of a big office building and yelling “HEY EVERYBODY!! WATCH THIS!!” before launching happily squealing baby into the air….

        Too many late nights with Monty Python, man.

        1. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

          I have as friend with a teen with very special health needs, and I’m kinda picturing her catapulting him….

    1. N C Kiddle*

      Clearly the child launched and is now living independently, hence why the candidate is available to apply for jobs

  61. E*

    An applicant who was about 45 (based on high school grad date) and listed every award received in elementary school. Nothing for middle or high school, just elementary and started with perfect attendance in kindergarten.

      1. Wolf*

        Yeah, there’s no way he went through kindergarten without getting all kinds of viruses (like all kids that age do), so perfect attendance is a bit worrying.

  62. bookbug71*

    I worked at an alternative newspaper and we once had someone apply for a job whose resume was an artsy collage with a poem listing their skills.

    I know we were an alternative paper, but really?

  63. anon today*

    CW for assault.

    When I worked in social services and we were hiring, we got a cover letter from someone who described in graphic detail being assaulted by a client of our service population while volunteering, and the extensive trauma therapy she was undergoing to move past this horrible event. She also linked an opinion piece she published in a local publication again describing the incident and her healing process. Besides about 2 months of volunteering at the organization where this incident happened, she had no relevant work experience in our field. We had several candidates who were more qualified so we didn’t interview her. I hope she’s doing okay, wherever she is.

  64. PP*

    I once received a 7 page resume. It included at the very end the gentleman’s mile time for running on a treadmill. Which (in my opinion) was embarrassingly slow.

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      Completely inappropriate for a resume. But there’s no such thing as a bad mile time.

  65. NotARealManager*

    From two different resumes:
    “The first thing to say is that I’m nobody special.” – In the summary section.

    “Too many to list. Seriously. 10+ years.” -In the skills section.

    1. ferrina*

      For the second one-
      I can tell that content curation and message crafting are not in their skills. Hope that wasn’t necessary for the job.

  66. Just Me*

    Had an application for an entry level accountant in the public accounting firm I work for where the guy stated he “devised” individual and corporate tax returns. Pretty sure he was looking for a different way to say preparing, but the IRS really looks askew at people thinking stuff up on tax returns. (Which is how we all thought of devising.)

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Similarly, you may need to be creative in researching and creating procedures to handle abstruse accounting issues correctly.
      Do NOT describe it as “creative accounting.”

  67. Elle*

    A resume we received featured a quote from a Phil Collin’s song in large font at the top, just under the persons name.

    1. BellaStella*

      All I can think of a I jut heard this song yesterday is:
      Now everybody keeps on telling me how to be
      And everybody tells me do what they say
      Oh I’ll help myself it’s up to me and no-one else
      But till I’m ready, just keep out of my way

    2. Luanne Platter*

      “you can wipe off that grin
      i know where ya been
      and it’s all been a pack of lies” …?

  68. Sometimes hiring*

    They had a very long, like 3/4 of a page, list of skills at the top of their resume. Included on that list were their archery skills, fire breathing skills and knife throwing skills. This was a faculty position at an R1 academic library.

    1. Anonymous Librarian*

      I work in an academic library also, and there is always at least one completely unqualified candidate for every job who I’m tempted to interview just so I can meet them. The off-the-wall candidates are a nice contrast to the ones who seem to think that working in an academic library is all about worshipping the books and cultivating a scholarly air. (But both groups are vastly outnumbered by the well-qualified applicants that make me wish I could hire them all!)

    2. HigherEdExpat*

      Honestly having worked in academia (though far from an R1) and knowing a statistically unlikely number of librarians, if this person was otherwise well qualified (and hadn’t listed it at the top of the resume) this isn’t a bad set of skills. XD

    3. Sarah Fowler Wolfe*

      This person should apply for positions at universities with collegiate circuses!

  69. SwimmingInPopcorn*

    In college, I screened applications for the movie theater I worked at. To be fair, it was mostly high school and college age kids with little to no work experience. But my favorite was the guy who included a “special skills” section on his resume that just said “Swimming”

  70. CC*

    I work in engineering. As a philosophy, I try very hard to be understanding of poor resume formatting/unusual choices – building a good resume is orthogonal to a lot of the job skills I’m looking for, and when that combines with things like different international resume standards, sometimes a candidate that would be good for the job has a bad resume.

    That said, there is one that I remember very well. I was looking for an electrical engineer, and under hardware skills the candidate put “Playstation” – I didn’t think anything of this at first (Playstation hires electrical engineers after all), but the next line was “Nintendo DS”, followed by “XBox”. The candidate put seemingly every electronic device they had ever used as a skill. The resume was 8 pages long, with very little details on actual job duties and hard experience. Strangely, they weren’t entry level, they had several years in the workforce.

  71. McGoaters*

    Not so much outlandish, but more about not being relevant to the position, in the least.

    Reviewing resumes for an IT/Cybersecurity position and received one from a former military pararescue/parajumper type. These folks are like the ultimate athletes, for sure. Whole resume was filled with references to awards, medals, field medical knowledge, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE). Not a single bullet or position mentioned anything about computers or even basic IT skills.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      Oof. They needed better career advice for sure.

      Also you could translate those skills into versions semi good for an IT role – “works well under deadlines and pressure”, “able to focus in all situations”, “quick to learn new skills as demonstrated by…” basically. Especially if its a customer facing IT role where you have to deal with people yelling. Still doesn’t mean they know anything about computers tho…

    2. Katherine*

      Noone will be able to social engineer (via torture) the admin passwords out of him at least!

      1. I Have RBF*

        LOL. I had a roomie one time who had been a Navy Seal and had been through SERE. He was very mellow. IIRC he worked in engineering.

  72. desk platypus*

    A friend was on a hiring committee and had to share one of the best and worst resumes they ever got. It was about 20 pages for a non-religious general sales position. There was a massive section detailing his faith and desire to evangelize everywhere that included a picture of Jesus. Other listed qualities detailed how he doesn’t do drugs and is a great father.

  73. Coffee Please* <