The Worst Résumé Ever

A generic resume, not the subject of this post.

As I write this I’m looking at the worst resume we’ve received in the 17 years Pointwise has been in business.

There are 35 (thirty five!) misspellings and grammar errors on this single page document. There are three misspellings in the objective statement alone.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. (OK. I laughed. I laughed a lot.) But I do think it’s time to share some resume tips.

Learn to spell.

If you submit a resume or cover letter with spelling and grammar errors you are saying to your potential employer that you really don’t care. You don’t care about us because you’re too lazy to write something that remotely demonstrates competence. You don’t care about yourself because you don’t mind being thought of as a doofus. And in this particular case you don’t care about the profession because you even misspelled “engineer.”

Learn to write.

Beyond correct spelling, write in a way that compels me to want to learn more about you. Your cover letter should entice me to open your resume. Your resume should leave me wanting to call you. And your interview should make me want to offer you a job right now.

Like it or not, you’re going to be writing a lot in your engineering career. You’ll write proposals and progress reports, emails and messages, technical papers and project summaries. And you’ll be judged on every single document you produce. Can you persuade someone to fund your research? Can you assure someone that your project will be finished on time? Can you make someone feel good about collaborating with you?

Learn to communicate.

Part of being a good writer is knowing your audience. Put yourself in our shoes and you’ll see why these practical tips will help us.

  • Using your sexykitten42 email address might send the wrong message. Get one like firstname.lastname and use it instead. This might not help us but it will eliminate a lot of eye rolling and head shaking.
  • It’s probably better if you name your resume document Lastname-Resume.pdf instead of Resume8.pdf. Not only does it make it easier for us to organize all the resumes we receive, but we don’t wonder as much about your previous seven versions.
  • Use your full name on all correspondence. Believe it or not, more than one “John” might apply for this position.

Recent Job Hunting News

An article in the Wall Street Journal describes how several companies have gotten away from the resume altogether in favor of a candidate’s online presence. I’m not ready to give up on resumes but maintaining an online site with examples of your work is a great idea.

An article in Machine Design points out how off-the-wall interview questions (how do you save yourself if you’re shrunk and tossed into a blender?) don’t always reveal how a candidate will perform on a day to day basis. But sometimes a candidate’s answer yields insight into their thought process.

Show us you can do better.

If you can submit a resume with fewer than thirty-five errors we’d like to see it. Actually, we’d love to see your resume only if it has zero errors. We have several openings including engineering internships and permanent positions on both our Technical Support and Product Development teams. You can see all the details at

P.S. Let’s not restart the debate over whether you should use the accented or unaccented version of the word resume.

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1 Response to The Worst Résumé Ever

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