Hiring managers and HR reps have most likely gone through tens of thousands of applications over the course of their careers. And when they've seen that many applications, some applicants are sure to stand out for trying to spice things up, even if those things are super cringey.
And when Reddit user u/liquor_for_breakfast asked, "HR people and hirers of Reddit, what's the cringiest thing you've come across on someone's résumé who was trying to 'stand out?,'" hiring managers had tons to say!
So here are 25 super-cringe things people actually put on their résumé:
1. "I was going through a stack of résumés of people who applied for the job of a hotel manager. I worked at the headquarters of a large hotel chain and had the mundane job of sorting résumés that looked nice. Literally just that. I was not to judge the content. So, one lady had put a headshot of her baby on her résumé."
2. "I used to be in charge of hiring interns. I can't tell you how many résumés I saw that said, 'Achievements: TIME Person of the Year 2006.'"
3. "A 17-year-old boy had applied for a janitor job we had. Under special skills, he wrote, 'Can rap the rap verse from Barenaked Ladies' "One Week."' It was weird, but everything else looked OK on his résumé, so I set up an interview for him. When my manager asked him to do the rap, he blushed and said it was a lie to make his résumé stand out."
4. "Someone sent in their wristbands from every concert they went to that summer. They included a letter about how they needed to make money in time for the next festival season, and they included their planned schedule. Basically, they were saying that they only wanted to work for a couple of months before quitting."
"They thought their knowledge of music would impress us."
5. "Someone who had submitted an application somehow got my phone number and called repeatedly. I only screened the applications; I didn't do the actual hiring. The guy was trying to stand out by attempting to develop a rapport with me, but he would keep me on the phone for like 20 minutes talking himself up and asking me all kinds of weird questions."
6. "I was screening for a CFO for a major UK brewing company. One guy had no financial experience whatsoever, and the only job he had ever had was six months cleaning test tubes in a lab. He tried to explain the gaping holes in his work history as being classified by MI5."
"He got my name and phone number from the rejection letter and would ring me daily for weeks asking when his interview was, and when I would politely explain he had no financial experience for the role, he would rant on about how he was a fast learner."
7. "While going through applications for a retail store, I came across one written in flawless cursive. The applicant was male, so not going to lie; this was sort of surprising. His answers to questions and availability were just what we needed, so I called to offer him an interview. He had no idea what I was talking about. His mom had picked up, filled out, and submitted the application without his knowledge."
8. "My boss has a story about receiving a résumé written as a narrative from the point of view of someone in a castle watching the storming of the Bastille. The applicant would describe a scene and say how that was somehow representative of some standard office job skills."
"'Fiery projectiles fly overhead. I take note of this using my keen observation skills and Microsoft Word proficiency.'
I don't know. It was a data entry job. They didn't get hired."
9. "The résumé was on scented paper and included a bunch of pictures of her doing yoga on it."
10. "I once received a résumé that had a YouTube link at the bottom with no note. I opened it, and it was a video of her drunkenly reviewing a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode."
"No explanation. She was not qualified and thus didn't get the job, but I sooo wanted to interview her."
11. "A guy who applied to be a security officer at the casino I work at put on his résumé that he was prom king in high school."
12. "My uncle was on the recruitment panel for his law firm. One day, he received a pretty strong application. The applicant looked great, and they fully intended to ask her to interview until a lie in her application came to light. One of her achievements that the applicant listed was that she had been the head girl at her school. It didn't really make much difference to her application, but it stood out because, by sheer chance, it was a local school that my aunt taught at."
"'Hey, guess what,' my uncle asked when he got home that night. 'You'll never guess who has applied to us. It's [whoever], one of your head girls.'
'I don't think so,' replied my aunt, 'We don't have head girls.'"
13. "I hire staff for a music teacher. One guy was going through the various styles of music he played, and he included 'fuck music.' During the interview, I realized he was referring to funk music."
"Only one error on the résumé, and that was it. We did hire him. Great staff member."
14. "This lady brought in her résumé where she listed pet sitter as her previous experience, which isn't that odd, but then she included a bulleted list of all the names of the pets she sat for."
15. "It wasn't a résumé, but instead an essay they wrote. The first sentence was 'I don't like writing typical résumés — I think they're a waste of time and full of lies, but whatever.'"
16. "Our standard application had several checkboxes for illegal drug use. Taking an 'honesty will get me the job' approach, the applicant provided a separate list of various hallucinogens, tranquilizers, and amphetamines that were not listed on our form."
"He aced the checkboxes as well."
17. "An adult sent our recruiters a résumé that had glitter scattered in the envelope."
18. "I was going over a résumé and under the skill sets, for a bank teller position mind you, they listed 'Able to lift 50 lbs, can drive a manual transmission, and can operate a chainsaw.'"
"As if any of those skills would have any use at a bank."
19. "A guy in his mid-20s walked into my startup. His former experience was three months at a gas station and one year as a Twitch Minecraft streamer. It was clear that he was counting on somebody not knowing what Twitch was because his application listed things like 'social media outreach, video game marketing, and teaching people how to play games.'"
"Also, responsibilities included 'Interacting with fans and those curious about the games and how to play them.' I believe he also listed that he was a Mod on his Minecraft server.
When I more or less said, 'No, thanks,' on the spot, he said, 'My dad is...' as a way to try and impress me. I kind of shrugged and asked who that was. His dad owned three gas stations in the area (including the one he worked at for three months).
He had listed some coding experience, and at the time, I was in school for comp sci and tried to strike up a conversation about coding. He bragged about making 'very cool games,' but couldn't remember what language they were written in, and wasn't able to show me any screenshots/GitHub/etc."