Resumania™: Why You Should Never Badmouth a Boss

By Robert Half on October 13, 2014 at 7:00am

National Boss’s Day, an annual holiday when employees show appreciation to their managers, is celebrated on October 16. How (or if) you thank your boss for his or her efforts and support is up to you. But here’s one clear-cut boss-related rule: Never complain about a current or former manager in your resume or cover letter.

Badmouthing employers will only lead hiring managers to question your professionalism and attitude. Instead of coming across as having a chip on your shoulder, use your application materials to highlight your ability to take direction and work well with others.

Consider these incredibly ill-advised, boss-bashing comments:

“OBJECTIVE: A new job. I am looking for work because the jerk manager I have now is giving me lots of trouble.”

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

“REASON FOR LEAVING: Tired of management being lazy and not doing their jobs.”

You can rest assured you won’t experience that problem here.

“REASON FOR LEAVING: Boss gave me high blood pressure.”

We didn’t know it was contagious.

“REASON FOR LEAVING: The horrible new incoming manager took an instant dislike to the fact that I knew how to handle things better.”

At least you’re not bitter.

COVER LETTER: “I actually like to work — when it’s in an environment where there aren’t a lot of irrelevant policies in place because some executive, who has too much overpaid time on his hands, feels the need to micromanage.”

Things went downhill after this applicant’s first five words.

COVER LETTER: “I can’t stay at a job where my boss isn’t as smart as me but acts like I’m the stupid one.”

Including this statement wasn’t a bright idea.

Have you seen any good resume or cover letter goofs? Send examples to [email protected].

Thanks for the Career Advice, Boss

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