May 27, 2005

How not to write a resume

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping

Searching through the blog search engine at I came across a blog entry from an Human Resources recruiter who received a resume from a person who had schizophrenia.

On this web site ( - many people have schizophrenia, so its not a big deal - but out in the rest of the world, I wouldn't recommend you include such personal medical information in your resume (just as you wouldn't put that you had cancer on your resume).

Also - don't include any information about drug addictions in the past, nor anything about your hepatitis C. ... focus on your skills for the job. If you have gaps of a few years on your resume, you might explain it with "family difficulties" and leave it at that. Answer the questions they ask, but don't provide extra information that may be used against you. Focus on the positives. In job interviews HR people are primarily looking for reasons to screen you out of the job process - so, without lying, try to avoid giving those reasons to them.

To quote the blog entry (titled "The Resume of all Resumes"):

"It starts off like a typical resume, education yaada yaada. Then it goes on to explain that they took the bar exam twice and did not pass. Ok no biggie. This personal also has a BA in English, but no certifiate (hmmm you think, yeah I did too.) Then it gets really good.

The person has experience in food service working at Burger King (I think we all have had some sorta fast food job at one point in life) however they are no longer there due to drug addiction (since abandoned) <~ yes this comment really appears after this in this manner. And food service is impossible because acquired Hepatitus C.

They then go on to explain a 17 year absence from the work force due to a recent (yep they specified recent) recovery from schizophrenia.


This resume makes all Human Resource workers everywhere shudder. This Darlin's is no way to write a resume"

Source: Kaylynn's Reality - Resume of all resumes


Well, at least the job applicant was bravely up front and honest. I hope s/he lands a job with an open-minded employer who values those qualities over the typical BS the world finds so charming. Most businesses would hire robots instead of humans if they could. Humans aren't perfect. They may get pregnant, earn a D- grade, catch a flu, have depression, cancer, arthritis or schizophrenia. Humans are human. And thankfully so, because life is not about being the perfect puppet.

Posted by: Laurie Buenafe at May 27, 2005 08:43 AM

I understand how important it can be to put one's best foot forward when trying to land a dream job or dream date. But remember, the hiring process goes both ways. The job applicant can screen out employers who "shudder" at the thought of schizophrenia. I think the applicant deserves more credit. It takes real courage to be open about a condition so stigmatized. Such a disclosure is a lot more healthier than denial and fear. And as most readers here know, years of coping with schizophrenia is the graduate school of hard knocks. It ought to be listed under "Education", right up there with that business degree from Yale. Perhaps this applicant is overqualified in life experience, and underappreciated by a society hung up on the superficial.

Posted by: Laurie Buenafe at May 27, 2005 09:49 AM


I admire the honesty of the person, and that honesty should also (in an ideal world) be appreciated by the Human Resources (HR) person. Unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world - and if this HR person is typical (which I believe she is) of most HR people - then I think that a person would do best to not provide too much information.

Employers are looking for people who are both good at what they do, can reliably do the job, and are sick a minimum number of days - and in this way the company can produce good products or provide good services to customers at a relatively low and competitive cost.

If someone says that they have schizohprenia in a job interview - I suspect most HR people would wonder if all these aspects of job performance would be as good as a person who doesn't. There may be some truth to this, so its not an entirely unrealistic opinion - but of course every person is different and has unique skills and abilities.

But - until society's views change to a more accepting view towards brain disorders, and treatments get better, my opinion is that a person with schizophrenia is better off not telling their empoloyer during an interview - unless the job is directly related to dealing with brain disorders.

Posted by: Sz Administrator at May 27, 2005 06:08 PM

True, a person with schizophrenia probably has a much better chance of getting hired if her or his condition is not mentioned. But is this beneficial long-term? Should the employer be aware of any conditions that might affect job performance? Should the employee feel like schizophrenia is some shameful secret? Ignorance is a worse disease than schizophrenia. And nothing will change until more light is shed, more voices speak out, and more daily misconceptions are challenged.

The decision to tell or not tell is personal and professional. Different circumstances call for different actions. But when fear is behind an action (including the act of silence), usually it does more harm than good.

Life is short. No one should feel ashamed for being who they are. Speaking the truth is empowering. Though some may wrinkle their noses at it, others may feel a door has opened inside upon hearing it. Likewise, they open a door for you. It's contagious. As fear is contagious, so is understanding. It's certainly not without risk and rejection. But understanding has greater rewards.

Posted by: Laurie Buenafe at May 29, 2005 01:26 PM

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