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Worst job application fails

Writing job or college applications can be tricky for young people who have little experience in professional environments. It’s hard to know how to make a good resume and even harder to know what exactly a manager is looking for in a candidate. However, it’s generally a good idea to avoid listing any skills or experience that aren’t relevant to the position…

4 top tips for a successful resume or job application:

1) Have an older, trustworthy friend or relative do a full edit of your resume to make sure you haven’t misspelled any words or used odd phraseology.

2) If you’re not sure how to model your resume, take a look at our resume template and resources. Similarly, look at the resumes online of professionals in your career that are a few steps ahead of you. Copy what makes their resume successful and then make it your own.

3) Think maturely and use creativity wisely. If you think something would be funny on your resume or letter of interest, think about whether or not it would genuinely illustrate to your employer that you are equipped for the position.

4) Err on the side of being straightforward and dry when it comes to your resume. The time for your personality to come out is during the interview – or better yet – after you’ve been hired.


The following should NOT be listed as “special skills”:

(Yes, these are REAL examples used on actual job applications.)


“Advanced knowledge of the internet.”

Common everyday activities like tying your shoe, scrambling an egg and checking your email are skills, yes, special, no.


“My Myspace name is ‘Tom’.”

how to make a good resume


“Can hold 17 eggs in one hand.”

All this tells an employer is that you’ve got bad judgement and weird pastimes.


“I was Time’s Person of the Year.”

Clever. But the joke isn’t worth risking the job opportunity. There’s a small chance the employer will find it funny and a much bigger chance that it will reflect a lack of professionalism.


“Windows 7 was my idea.”

how to make a good resume


“Can whistle to a high standard.”

Sure… if the seven dwarfs are hiring.



And the resumes with the following go STRAIGHT to the trash:


“I have grate communication and atention to details”.

how to make a good resume


“I once got a resume that had been photocopied crooked, and then the top line said: I am seeking a job at Jugo Juice Stitches. Crossed out. In pencil.”

how to make a good resume


“Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If yes, please explain” Answer: “Yes. Arson. But he deserved it, will discuss in interview.”

how to make a good resume


(And don’t even think about listing “cougars” as an interest unless you happen to volunteer at the zoo!)

how to make a good resume





Photo 1. based on FAIL stamp, by Hans Gerwitz, CC-by-SA2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!