I have quite a bit of experience reading resumes- I chose 24 guides for Community Building Community, I helped choose 15 freshmen for Compass Partners, I’m in the process of hiring an Office Assistant with my sister…oh, and I work in a recruiting department.
So what advice do I have?
- Don’t worry about applying to more than one job in a company, but don’t apply to too many (I get wary around 4/5)
- Always read the instructions. Then re-read them. Then re-read them again. We’ve tossed applications for the Office Assistant position because they failed to write a paragraph on why they’re perfect for the job (which we specifically asked for).
- Don’t mass-email your resume. We actually had someone put multiple recipients in the “To” line. This should be incredibly obvious, but apparently it’s not.
- Never say that your resume is available once you are offered an interview. I don’t know any recruiter who has time for those kinds of games.
- Tow the line between a cover letter that is too brief and too long. Three to four paragraphs is Goldilocks-approved.
- “Optional” does not mean “optional.” It means “Do it or risk looking like you don’t care enough to spend time on your application.”
- Do not email from an address that is has explicit or implicit sexual undertones. Again, an obvious. No “Sexy [or Sexi],” “4You,” etc. The “first name, last name” formula still works pretty darn well.
- Volunteering is voluntary. Raising your own child does not qualify as a volunteer project.
- Use punctuation. Period. And PrOpEr CaPitAlization. And well speling and gramar.
- The standard format of a resume still works. No need to get fancy or “creative.” Bullet points > numbers.
- Creativity is encouraged but don’t cross the line into inappropriate.
- Personalize your application- a simple Google search can often tell you who to address your cover letter to.
- Whenever possible, link to your LinkedIn profile and/or Twitter account. This demonstrates initiative and thoroughness, as well as experience with social media. If your Twitter name includes the word “stud” or “babe” or “sexy,” maybe don’t include it. Better yet, maybe delete it.
- Google yourself periodically. Even better, set up a Google alert for your name so that you see all new posts about you.
- Make your Facebook profile private. Hide any inappropriate posts/pictures/profiles, etc. Companies DO check this. If there are inappropriate postings about you out there, ask for them to be taken down. If they can’t be, begin building an online presence to push the bad results further down in searches (i.e. start a blog, a Twitter account, post on forums related to your interestes, etc).
P.S. My sister and I are cracking up as I write this post (with her assistance!). Oh, the memories.
What advice do you have for individuals applying to jobs?