3 red flags on George Santos's résumé

3 red flags on George Santos's résumé
Rep. George Santos has been caught in a maze of lies and has become something of a national punchline.John Locher/AP Photo
  • Rep. George Santos is a high-profile example of why making stuff up on your résumé is a bad idea.
  • Insider talked to Hannah Mason, a professional résumé writer, about the red flags she spotted.

George Santos, the Long Island congressman who's under fire after admitting to lying about his education, work history, and family background, is a high-profile example of why making stuff up on your résumé is a terrible idea.

Not only has the Republican legislator been caught in a maze of lies and become something of a national punchline, but he's also being pushed to resign.

The question, of course, is how did this Queens-born fabulist make it as far as he did with his fabricated biography? Did gatekeepers miss any obvious red flags?

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With a copy of his résumé obtained by The New York Times, Insider caught up with Hannah Mason, a professional résumé writer and former recruiter, to get her thoughts on the résumé's problems — from the basic mechanics of the writing to the content itself. Spoiler alert: Mason said there were many red flags, but we've narrowed it down to her top three.

Inconsistent capitalization and messy formatting

For starters, Mason said, the capitalization is haphazard. Some words, including "database Account management," are randomly capitalized, for example, while the first bullet point on the second page is not capitalized. Incidentally, that's also poor formatting: A new page shouldn't start with a solitary bullet.


"My first-ever job was as a bank teller and my boss told me I needed to look at lots and lots of money so that I'd be able to instantly spot when something's not right," she said. "I felt that way looking at this résumé."

Not only is the capitalization sloppy and the formatting slapdash, it doesn't match up with the applicant's purported caliber, Mason said. "For someone who's at the VP level and who's worked for Goldman Sachs, I would expect a much higher level of polish," she said. "This is not the kind of résumé you'd see from someone in a senior, influential role."


At a basic level, a résumé is a marketing document that communicates what candidates have done in their career and how their experience could be applied to a new role. Put simply: "The hiring manager should be able to understand it," Mason said.

But Santos's résumé is riddled with jargon and nonsensical phrases. For instance, what does "Multiple current pipelines Marketing strategies Creating loyalty programs enhance partnerships." even mean?

"It seems like he doesn't know what he's trying to communicate, and he's just putting together words he thinks will sound good," she said.


No context, clarity, or cohesion

Santos lists some 18 skills on his résumé, but his experience section neglects to explain how he's used these skills on the job, said Mason.

"It's totally unclear what he was actually responsible for in each of his positions because the descriptions are far too vague and brief," she said.

Moreover, the achievements he lists — "3X sales growth within 6 months," for example — do not include enough context. "I want to know how he grew sales," Mason said. "There's not a lot of meat."

Santos writes in his summary that he's "fluent in three languages," but doesn't list them. "If I were doing an interview with George, I'd have a lot of questions for him," she said.