Legal, Recruitment & Hiring

Woman wins legal case against resume writing company over ‘unprofessional’, error-laden job application

Dominic Powell /

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has upheld a complaint against an online resume writing company after a woman claimed the company had not complied with Australian Consumer Law when it provided her with a job application featuring numerous errors.

In a decision handed down last week, it was revealed the woman enlisted the services of an online resume writing company to complete an application for a graduate lawyer position with a Commonwealth agency. Fairfax reports this agency was Australia’s Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Assured by the company that it had success in helping applicants receive similar positions, the woman paid the business $600 in three $200 instalments in early March for a professionally written resume, a statement addressing the selection criteria, and two cover letters.

The woman informed the company the applications for the position were open until March 30, and she had travel plans on March 29 that would require the documents to be completed before then.

However, the tribunal heard the documents were submitted to the woman late, and included numerous errors and “were not prepared to a professional standard”. The documents were emailed to the applicant at 1:20am on March 29, and included errors regarding her identity, employment history and referees.

Furthermore, the company did not send through a completed cover letter for the application until 8:13am that same day, which was 45 minutes before the applicant was due to commence her trip. This led to the applicant uploading the resume without reading or checking the document, meaning the errors in the document were submitted to the government agency.

Fairfax reports these errors included an incorrect name of the applicant appearing at the bottom of her application, an incorrect reference to ASIO as ‘ASIC’, and the response to the selection criteria being 400 words over the limit.

The director of the business acknowledged the company was late in providing the applicant’s documents, the resume “contained several errors” and the selection criteria exceeded the word limit. However, she argued the errors were “easily corrected”.

However, the tribunal sided with the job applicant and as a result, the business was required to pay the woman the sum of $450.00, plus her application fee of $62.70.

Employers “immediately turned off” by error-filled resumes

Speaking to SmartCompany, Martin Nally, director of hranywhere, says the number of resumes regularly submitted to employers with glaring mistakes is an “appalling situation”, saying he is immediately turned off resumes with mistakes in the first few pages.

“Statistics have found something like 95% of resumes with mistakes in the first page are immediately discarded,” Nally says.

While Nally says there’s now a “whole series” of services for writing online resumes available, he believes its detrimental to both employers and employees when applicants take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to resumes. He believes aspiring workers should make it seem like the application was “actually done by a person”.

In this particular case, Nally questions why the candidate didn’t have time to review the resume prior to it being sent, saying such a situation is a “long bow” in today’s digital age.

“You should never be putting your name to something you’re submitting unless you review it yourself. If you’re presenting all these criteria, you need to be pretty comfortable about them as they then become a guide map for employers to interview you against,” he says.

“If you’re outsourcing something like a resume it’s to break the back of it — you still need to do quality control.”

SmartCompany contacted the business but did not receive a response prior to publication.

* This article was updated at 2.30PM on August 17.

NOW READ: Sacked executive faces court over allegations a false CV scored her a high-paying SA public service job

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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