How not to write a resume or request: 3 real (and cringeworthy) examples

Paulo Vargas
Helpful (and real-life) examples to illustrate some resume dos and don'ts; plus, see an example of a great resume, too

An earlier version of this story first appeared on Kalibrr. The story has been updated with additional examples. Visit this page for more on the ups and downs of navigating your career. 

Though the digital age has undoubtedly made parts of a job search easier, one thing you’ll learn over time is that though it’s easier to apply, signing up for job search sites is definitely not a guarantee that you’re going to nab the interview. Technology and the Internet can only do so much, especially if your resume leaves much to be desired.

In the Philippines, resumes were previously known as “biodata,” or at least they served a similar function. These were often used as temporary resumes for people with no work experience or who were yet to graduate from college. The term may feel obsolete, but many Filipinos are still putting in personal information on their resumes. Information like height, weight, and religion bleed over to comprehensive resumes, sharing the same page with your work experience, the skills you’ve built, training you’ve received. 

Though some Filipino employers still want the information, often what may be relevant to a certain local company could be irrelevant to others. These days, big companies like those in Business Process Outsourcing go through hundreds of resumes in a day. Realizing companies probably only look at the first page and stay looking at it for a few minutes, maybe this is the time to rethink what you’re really writing down. 

If you’re still under the impression that the longer the resume the better, check out just a few examples of the worst resumes in the Philippines.

#lahatna 

Before we even get to a resume, one way to get your foot in the door is through the email you send right along with it. A key tip here is to make sure you get the spelling of the recipient right, along with his designation. If you aren’t sure, check on social media – his LinkedIn or Facebook profile might have it, or it might be on the company website. 

This holds true even if you are making a request, not necessarily applying for a job. The image below is an email request sent to Move.ph director Zak Yuson, to sign a memorandum. Zak’s role as Move director is multi-faceted and challenging, but the designation written by the sender lists him as “Head, Sales and Marketing, CEO Director” of Rappler. 

Even if the recipient is nice about the error, it doesn’t bode well for the sender if he can’t these basic details right. This is especially critical if you’re emailing someone to inquire about job openings – and if that person might be your boss; in which case, you demonstrate a lack of understanding about the role. 

#kthxbye

How you package yourself is important – and that starts not with a resume or cover letter, but with the very first thing of yours a potential employer might see – in this case, a subject line. 

Here’s a screenshot of an inquiry email sent again to Rappler’s Zak Yuson. 

A good bet would be to put the name of the position in the subject line (“application for account manager”), as an employer who’s hiring might be on the lookout for a similar line. 

Special skills ≠ Relevant skills 

Photo via Kalibrr

Case in point: an expansion manager for a large insurance company goes through dozens of resumes a day. He was looking for potential insurance agents for their new site north of Metro Manila. In this resume shared with Kalibrr, the applicant tried to lengthen her resume to include a list of things she can cook.

We all love a good adobo and a well-cooked sinigang but knowing how to prepare them doesn’t really mean you’re going to be a good insurance agent.

Long resumes are frowned upon these days, especially if they are intentionally lengthened to make it seem like you’re experienced. You may think a 3-page resume is going to look impressive but if the last two pages are a list of 10 seminars, the names of your patients, and about 20 special skills, it’s just going to fly over the person’s head.

Simple is better, basic is ideal. Only put in the seminars, skills, and other information that you know will make an impact. Pin them down to a top 8, a top 5, or maybe even a top 3. 

The next two feature illustrative resumes recreated by Kalibrr. 

This request 

Photo via Kalibrr

80% of the Philippine population is Roman Catholic, so religion definitely plays a part in your society. Should that extend to your work? If you’re applying for a company that shares the same strong beliefs as you and it’s relevant to the work, in this case, go ahead and add that to your resume. But it’s not a good idea to do that across the board for all the companies you apply for.

Kalibrr recreated a resume of an applicant who stated her religious beliefs in the “job objective” section, gently demanding the company to recognize them and make certain adjustments (see above).

It’s perfectly reasonable that we would want to work without being discriminated for our beliefs and it’s our right. But putting that request out there even before you got the job isn’t necessary. Chances are, reasonable as the request may be, it’s going to raise a red flag to whoever’s reading it. The resume is a list of reasons why you’re qualified for a job, not a list of requests.

In defense of these resumes, many Filipinos grow up and think all of these are okay. It helps to do more research on what employers are actually looking for. 

The bio-resume

We saved the simplest resume for last. 

Though it’s been stated it over and over again – only put useful information on your resume – we can’t state it enough. 

The following resume is a recreated example of how many Filipinos write their resumes. Though we may be used to putting in height, weight, age, and other personal details, think about its relevance to the job you’re applying for.

It’s easy to just create one resume and send it out in batches. But if you really want this job, curate the content so that they know you’re the perfect candidate.

If you’d really want to get a call from a potential employer, create a proper resume. Click here to see what Kalibrr recommends and here to see some common resume writing mistakes

As a bonus for all, Kalibrr CEO Paul Rivera shares his resume as a template of what they should look like: simple and straight to the point.

Photo via Kalibrr

– Rappler.com

No matter what industry you’re in, your resume can make or break your chances of landing that dream job. To apply the lessons in this article, visit Kalibrr’s new jobs portal hosted on Rappler – jobs.rappler.com