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Submitted by wendii on


It's time for audience participation!
In a couple of weeks (planned for 26 September) we're going to release a podcast called "This Resume Stinks". The resume in question is here, and we're going to tell you all the things that are wrong with it.
Take a look at it so that you're ready for the podcast and if you like, you can post your thoughts below. We'll review them on air and address your comments as best we can.
We're excited to hear your thoughts!

psamuel's picture
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I cannot repeat the first words that came out of my mouth when I saw this resume: it's hideous! At first glance I wanted to stop immediately and not even consider its content as it was literally a visual assault. Swallowing my disgust I'll push on ...

The picture block is unnecessary on two fronts. Firstly assuming it would have a picture of Wendii in a real world situation, that may lead to preconceived biases on the part of the person(s) reviewing the resume (and we all have those biases whether we like them or not) so including it may not be helpful. As it doesn't have a picture at all but rather is a big W then why is it there at all? I know what W looks like but perhaps Wendii is a big fan of each letter in the alphabet and this is W's turn for recognition. Can I expect 25 more resumes from Wendii, each highlighting another letter of the alphabet? :)

The title block is a complete waste of space. I already know your first and last name so there is no need to repeat it and there is absolutely no need to label it with First Name and Last Name. It's actually an insult to my intelligence to think I cannot understand details such as naming conventions, what constitutes a postal address, phone number and email address so the labels are worse than a waste of space.

The Skills title is wasteful - I know the ugly red bubbles are your skills so you don't need to tell me that. As for the skills themselves - big deal. That tells me very little about your level of competence at any of these skills - perhaps you're telling me that you know how to spell each of them. They're also very very diverse and cover very specific technologies from a multitude of areas so I'm left thinking that while you may have had exposure to all of them you cannot have developed a truly deep understanding of any of them. Best to leave them out entirely. On the understanding that you'd be applying to a specific role one would hope the job description would list required skills so the applicant would have some/most of those in any case.

The Work Experience title is wasteful - it's a resume so I expect, no I demand to see a work experience history. Telling me that is what is next is another insult to my intelligence. As for the experience sections themselves there is very little substance. Ignoring the wordy descriptions of each role there is almost nothing to tell me the size and scope of each role and responsibility and absolutely nothing at all indicating what was actually achieved. For example Wendii was responsible for the the migration of more than 1 million mailboxes to the cloud but what did she actually do to achieve that as a program manager.

The second experience section has either a tense or spelling problem. The past tense of the verb lead is led. The use of "lead" just annoys me. If there were none of the other glaring problems with the resume I'd probably be prepared to forgive this and put it down to a language issue (as an expatriate Australian in Canada I'm always tripping over myself for spelling and other idiosyncratic grammar issues so I can empathise). However by now I'm just angry with the resume and the person behind it so I'm looking for any reason to say no.

The career arc concerns me. Early on in Wendii's career she was leading (another "led" vs "lead" challenge :) a team of engineers (no idea how many so we'll assume at least 1) at Cisco. Then she moved into a Technical Evangelist role, followed by Program Management and finally Solutions Architecture. It's all over the place and says to me that she's not really sure what she wants to do next or what she believes she is truly good at.

As with the other title blocks, the Education title is wasteful. I know a University is an educational institution. Same with the Certifications title.

All in all this was a painful read. Congratulations, when it comes to resume stinkage you've nailed it!



Peter Samuel

jsolce's picture

At first glance, I was a bit taken aback by the purple and red, but there are some elements that I liked more as I went along.  The iconography is something I was tepid on at first, but liked more and more as I went through. 

So, from top to bottom:

  • Heading
    • Name in too light of a typeface.  This causes it to fade into the background, especially with the colors nearby.  I’m probably going to remember the big purple W over the applicant name.
    • The purple W.  I could go either way on this, if you remove some of the other coloring.  It does make the resume stand out from some others when printed.  Consider what this will look like when printed B&W.
    • First name/last name is redundant, along with the labels on address/phone/email.  Collapse these and we’ll be headed to a single page.
    • I’m assuming that Wendii is choosing not to use her actual email for this exercise, but please, please, do not use your current employer’s email on your resume.  Also, for better or worse, don’t use a yahoo, aol, or Hotmail account.
  • Skills
    • Sometimes, this can be a useful section, if you have a desired set of skills that isn’t shown well in your experience.  But in general, show, don’t tell.  If we’re keeping this, ditch the button-design, and drop to the bottom of the resume.
    • What would work well here is to highlight the 2-3 skills that are pertinent.  For example, Java: Worked professionally in Java for 5 years, developing 2 brand new applications and maintaining a portfolio of 25.  Contributor to the Struts open source framework for 2 years.
  • Work Experience
    • I’m a fan of just calling it “Experience” but it isn’t a huge deal to me either way.
    • The dashes in the date format are confusing to me at first glance.  My preference is a full or abbreviated month “Sep-2019” or “September 2019”
    • Bolding and alignment quickly draw my eyes to the top level info, and create a clear delineation between jobs.
    • The amount of content in each role seems appropriate. 
    • I like the short narrative and bullet format.  I would remove the “major responsibilities” line to save some space.  There’s also a mix of responsibilities/achievements.  Where possible, focus on the latter.
  • Education
    • You have space here, so don’t worry about abbreviating things, unless you’re going to a second line.


mike_recruiter's picture

We have a saying in Texas that comes to mind when I see all the "sparkle" on this resume... "Useless as two buggies in a one horse town!"

The labeling of first name, last name, address, phone, and email are not necessary. Moreover, and with all due respect to #43, the big "Dubya" is pointless.

The acreage wasted on the left hand margin, the numbering instead of bullet points, and the MASSIVE "SKILLS" section were all terrible decisions.

The kiss of death on this resume was the focus on RESPONSIBILITIES rather than accomplishments.

The fact is, this resume would work because companies need people. However, when compared to a resume that focuses on accomplishments rather than color schemes and duties/responsibilities, this example is about as effective as pushing a wheelbarrow with rope handles!

Best Regards,

Michael G Cox

A Sales Recruiter

styler's picture
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I agree on numerous inefficiencies highlighted in previous comments, such as wasted space and lack of accomplishments over responsibilities being listed. When I really think about this resume and vetting it through our hiring system, I'm confident after reviewing this that one of our recruiters would at least put this candidate through a prescreen (keywords on her resume may be flagged through our search tools, for example). She would then have a chance, assuming she answered the questions well, to move on to our pretesting and then to an in-person interview, ultimately, leading to an offer. I bring up our process to highlight the fact that we don't use the resume as a heavily weighted criteria in deciding whether or not this candidate is the right fit for the role. I specifically, if interviewing, would base my decision on how well the candidate has demonstrated the skills I'm looking for.

psamuel's picture
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Granted there were some good points to the content in the resume. However if you take the MT guidance that the resume is there to help you get the interview, the sample resume should be viewed against the many other resumes that you as the recruiter or hiring manager would receive. When compared with the others, this resume may not encourage you to schedule an interview which is valuable time for the hiring manager. If it's the only resume you receive then maybe the resume itself is a reason to say no.

theclapp's picture

I agree with many of the points previously raised and won't repeat most of them.

  • The address lists a zip code but not a state.  I'd prefer to see one.
  • Don't use your work email on your resume!  And if you do, don't use (what I assume is) a group address!
  • The Skills section is eye-catching but inefficient.  It uses a lot of spaces to do not very much.  Online (or even in a PDF) those white-on-red blobs might be buttons, that you could click on for more information, but on paper (and in this PDF) they're just blobs.  They immediately leapt out at me, and not really in a good way.
  • The locations listed on the various experience blocks are inconsistent.  "United States" (in just "Burke", wherever that is); "USA"; or nowhere in particular.
  • Page 2 doesn't have a header or footer or identification of any kind (aside from style).  If this resume were printed out, and the pages got separated, there's no obvious way (again, aside from style, which I admit is pretty distinctive) to match them back up again.
  • Page 2 just repeats "Work Experience" at the top.  Adding "(continued)" might be good.
  • Maybe someone looking to hire an SAP expert would know what "ITSM / ITIL" was (or be willing to Google it), but I sure don't (and am not).
  • The internal structure of this resume is questionable, but might not matter, depending on if a human or a computer is reading it, and maybe not even then.  In MacOS Preview (the stock PDF reader), I did a "select all" and pasted it into Evernote, to try to check for spelling mistakes.  Happily, I didn't actually find any (not counting the previously-mentioned "lead" vs "led", etc), but how it pasted did make me wonder if a computer program would read it correctly.
    • "First name:" is above "Last name:", but the associated "Wendii" is half a page later.  By comparison, "Lord" is right next to "Last name:".  I don't know if the labels would help or hinder a program, but I would assume at least that having the data so far from the label would not help.
    • The "Address:", "Phone number:", and "Email address:" headers are all together, followed by the associated data.
    • The email address, as pasted, has a space in it before "": ...@manager-  (Extra spaces added for effect.)
    • The "skills" all pasted as white-on-white text; the associated red backgrounds were elsewhere.
    • The skills were all over the place.  "Office 365" was right after the email address, followed by "Cloud IaaS / PaaS", followed by "2013-06 - present".  And then, finally, "Wendii".  And so on.
    • The headers and titles for each job ("SAP Burke United States", "Cloud Solutions Architect", etc) were kind of all in a group, and a bit mixed up.  And certainly not clearly associated with their job responsibilities.
  • So all these issues and others like them, throughout the resume, might have made it difficult for a machine to understand.  (Or they might not.  I am not an expert in that sort of thing.)
rwwh's picture
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This is fun, because Wendy and Mark helped me a lot when I needed a review of my resume 11 years and a week ago....

What is wrong?

  1. More than 1 page
  2. Picture and double name. No picture is needed, but certainly no pictogram. Duplication of the name unnecessary. All required contact details fit on one line.
  3. Work e-mail. Use a private (but professionally adequate) e-mail address. 
  4. Huge wasted skills space. If there are any skills relevant for the job, they should be shown in the form of education or accomplishments. This is how you select the relevant lines from the career management document. Skills are even seemingly randomly ordered, even if they were used it would take a lot of time to search through them.
  5. No section headings are needed.
  6. Readability of the experience: I need to go left right left up down up to read it, instead of the information flowing on the page. This wastes time of the recruiting manager and precious space on the sheet.
  7. Missing list of accomplishments. Responsibilities are the same whether you were excellent at the job or fired for inadequacy. Also not useful for the hiring manager to use as the basis of further questions. Some of the listed responsibilities actually could directly be turned into accomplishments, some of these require the addition of some numbers. There are even accomplishments hiding in the descriptions of the jobs. If your job has growth and delivery targets, show how you delivered on these.
  8. Very inconsistent. Probably learned somewhere not to repeat the same phrase, but ending up with "responsibilities" (partially in present/continuing tense and partially in past tense) in one job and "goals" (in present tense/imperative) in another leave a hiring manager guessing for the different intentions between these.
  9. Some missing articles and punctuation. The author is leaving out "a" or "the" in a few places, sometimes giving the impression to try and save space, in other places just showing weak grammar. At least one sentence that is hard to read because of a missing comma.
  10. Filler words and filler sentences. These could be left out to save reading time and space.
  11. Dangling words. Making sure that each accomplishments is on one line, and not spilling one word to the next line, this saves precious space.
  12. Abbr. I hope the hiring manager is more aware of the abbreviations than I am.
  13. Progression of the jobs leaves questions. There is no skill building, but more haphazard jumping. From "Cloud Program Manager" to "Solutions Architect" is neither a move that is up or sideways. It looks like a downgrade? And that is where this person is for 6 years? This may be a hook for many questions rather than a flaw.

Thirteen looks like an appropriate number of comments on this Friday the Thirteenth.

Very curious what else comes up in the cast!


wendii's picture
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts everyone!  We are reading them avidly as they come in!

Wendii and Mark.

theclapp's picture

I'm curious how many issues will be "ah, you found it!", vs "oh, we didn't think of that!", vs "actually we think that's okay / doesn't matter".  But I imagine I'll just have to wait for the podcast.  :)

wendii's picture
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Thanks everyone!  We are planning to record tomorrow, so you'll soon find out!


Best regards,

wendii's picture
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The first part of the cast is up:

In which Mark and I review your comments :-)



daleconner's picture


The first part of the cast is up: 8 ball pool resume-stinks-part-1

In which Mark and I review your comments :-)




Thank you I will give it a look

amitshrigoel's picture
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My resume has a summary at the top. Is that a good thing ? Is there a sample of a good resume 

rwwh's picture
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There is an example as a document accompanying the original resume cast, in the Hall-of-Fame:

There is no need for a summary. 

Jollymom's picture

I have learned a lot regarding a good resume. Thanks for the insights!