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Apr 21, 2011, 7:43pm   #31
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sil
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Originally Posted by lorihmatthews
Sadly, this happened to me. I had someone listed as a reference and she died suddenly and I wasn't aware. I was mortified when the hiring manager said she was unable to reach her via cellphone. I finally called my contact's home phone number and her husband informed me that she had died suddenly from a brain tumor that had gone undiagnosed.
Yes, that is indeed sad.

However, just to clarify, so I don't sound like a cold hearted beeyotch.
My candidates had listed these people as "deceased" on their reference list. Um, why would anyone list a known dead person as a reference?
Apr 21, 2011, 8:16pm   #32
Tuesdays Child's Avatar
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Originally Posted by sil
Yes, that is indeed sad.

However, just to clarify, so I don't sound like a cold hearted beeyotch.
My candidates had listed these people as "deceased" on their reference list. Um, why would anyone list a known dead person as a reference?
If someone intentionally lists a deceased person as a reference do you really even need to interview them to know what you need to know about them? I mean that is passed faux pas. That just plain stooopid.
Apr 21, 2011, 8:19pm   #33
V
Traveler
^^^ you got me.

If someone died like Lori's situation, I would not find it odd nor would I think she's trying to pull a fast one. If someone is your reference, many times you wouldn't be keeping up with their lives.

Guess if I interviewed a person & liked them & all their references are deceased, I ask for someone whose not. It is strange, but maybe they have their reason? If you find out why, please let us know. lol
Apr 22, 2011, 12:19pm   #34
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wind sylph
Maybe they had a written letter of recommendation from the deceased reference?
Apr 22, 2011, 12:39pm   #35
K
Member
Originally Posted by thepoppet
Maybe they had a written letter of recommendation from the deceased reference?
Oh, that would actually make sense! But I agree that the "(Reference) (Deceased)" thing does look mighty weird at first glance. A note should probably be included to clarify things if there's a legitimate reason for including a deceased person as a reference.

By the by, I'm not sure of people missed the question that I asked previously; I hope I can get some advice, if possible. I'll post it again, for reference.

Quote:
Would our lovely "HR" representatives care to help me with a question that I've always wondered about? Concerning writing cover letters, specifically the "how I can make a difference at your company" part - I think because I'm a young/entry-level person with relatively little experience, I've always been stumped as to how to respond to that "prompt" in a sincere way without being, well, generic.

Beyond saying, "I'm smart, and have the scores/grades to prove it; you'll have to train me, but I learn fast, and, um, I'm sure I'll make a difference!" - what is HR looking for? Because honestly, as much as I'd like to "make a difference", being entry-level, I rather doubt I'll be able to turn your bottom line around in a month's time. And if I could do that, then I probably wouldn't be applying to entry-level jobs in the first place.
Thanks!
Apr 22, 2011, 12:51pm   #36
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wind sylph
Originally Posted by Kleio
By the by, I'm not sure of people missed the question that I asked previously; I hope I can get some advice, if possible. I'll post it again, for reference.

Thanks!
Hmmm... I'm going to let someone else answer that more specifically because I don't write general cover letters that are formulaic like that. I know in some industries, there are certain formulas for the cover letter. For others though, it's just an introduction to your resume. And for others, it is a chance for you to shine because the company is looking more at your cover letter than your resume. This is true particularly if you're a generalist (rather than applying for a very specific job with a very specific set of skills). For others still, it's a chance to elaborate what's on your resume to show how it fits with the position for which you are applying.

If you're entry level, then I would suggest showing a knowledge and enthusiasm for the company. i.e.: your potential for growing in the company... how you look forward to learning more about specific aspects of their industry. So you clearly need to research the company first. But I would keep the cover letter short, since, as you say, you are applying for entry level positions. But again, it matters what type of jobs/industry you are applying to.

Maybe others who have more experience with this type of formulaic cover letter writing can offer more input? Because like I said, I don't write these kinds of cover letters and I haven't applied to anything entry level in years.
Apr 22, 2011, 1:26pm   #37
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I would focus on willingness more than anything and let them know that your work ethic is one that will help them reach their goals whatever that may be. I can help you with the actual letter but not until late next week. Feel free to email it to me. Pm for my email address if you are interested.
Apr 22, 2011, 1:59pm   #38
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Really good examples. Since your resume is your first impression to your potential employer, I think any advice to perfect it is worth considering. I have an example where sometimes less is more on a resume.

I helped one of my friends review his resume for an engineering research position. He is highly qualified, has a masters and a PhD in his field, has given many talks at conferences, and is the author of several journal articles. In all, he has all the qualifications he needs to interest an employer. All of his impressive achievements are listed in his resume reverse chronologically and at the very end of this list is reference to a summer job he had as a Subway sandwich maker.

I thought he would be better served by not mentioning that. Why dilute his top-notch qualification with something that happened so long ago (more than a decade ago) in a field that is totally unrelated to what he is in now. If he wants to bring up his experience in team work and customer service at the interview, that's fine, but I thought anyone reading it who did not know him would find it distracting and quite off topic.

Sometimes less is more.
Apr 22, 2011, 2:16pm   #39
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wind sylph
Originally Posted by CelticLuv
Thanks for the info!
I currently have an Objective on my resume (I work in the IT field) and I'm rethinking that now.
If you have a measurable accomplishment/achievement, I'd highlight that rather than have an objective. For instance, if you, say, seamlessly upgraded the technology for a major company/institution/client in record time and under budget, I would separate that out and highlight it. But however you do it, it should fit in with the overall logic of your resume.

Originally Posted by prettysquare
I helped one of my friends review his resume for an engineering research position. He is highly qualified, has a masters and a PhD in his field, has given many talks at conferences, and is the author of several journal articles. In all, he has all the qualifications he needs to interest an employer. All of his impressive achievements are listed in his resume reverse chronologically and at the very end of this list is reference to a summer job he had as a Subway sandwich maker.
Yes, this brings up a good point.. make sure the work experience on your resume is related to the job you're applying to. However, if your resume would look spotty (with gaps in your employment history) without it, then adjust accordingly. In this example, the potential candidate's work and education experience dovetailed with the jobs he was applying to. However, that's not always the case, particularly if you are applying to different types of positions and have various work/education experiences. In those cases, it's a good idea to have the relevant work experience highlighted. In this case, you may have more than one resume and you would choose the one appropriate for the job.
Apr 22, 2011, 2:25pm   #40
V
Traveler
If I was in the market to hire someone out of college, knowing my business & telling me about what's going on in the industry would go a long way. Neither of these are very readily available, shows that you had to do a little digging.

See poppet's post #36.
Apr 22, 2011, 2:50pm   #41
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^^Agreed. In my example, my friend is more than sufficiently qualified without having to bring up an old and irrelevant summer job. If you're new out of school, those unrelated experiences could indicate that you're not a slacker, you're out there trying to keep yourself employed while you look for your perfect job.

My pet peeve would be people who treat their resumes like a historical document that truthfully records all the jobs they have ever had. As said above^, it's always good to highlight relevant experience. The point is to make yourself look good right? Not to detail every single job you're ever had.

On a funny note, I've once seen a resume with a particularly hard to pronounce name. The applicant had kindly put a pronunciation guide under her name in small font. Pretty unusual move, but I appreciated it. I mean she had a difficult first AND last name. It's not like I could have even escaped a difficult first name by just asking for Ms."Smith".
May 31, 2011, 9:45pm   #42
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chocolate...where?
Just found this article and thought I'd share. It sums up the basics pretty well, but also has a few things (specifically relating to the design) that were new to me!

http://www.newson6.com/story/1466075...-college-guide
Quote:
Make your resume shine


By Lauren Joffe
From The Real College Guide

Making your resume stand out from the pack can be a daunting task, especially in a digital age in which employers can quickly review resumes online. Within seconds, you can be ruled in ... or out. So to make an impression, how can you be sure your resume makes the cut? We break down some key tips in terms of content, design and format that will make your resume sparkle and, hey, maybe even get you an interview. (And, no, scented pink paper a la Elle Woods is not recommended.)

Resume Tip No. 1: Content Counts
Without a doubt, the best way to stand out from the pack is to have quality experience that relates directly to the job for which you are applying. However, upon entering a new industry or trying to land that first internship, keeping your content high-quality and well-written is crucial to showing off your skills.

Prioritize work experience. Says John-Michael Stephens, a junior at New York University: "Depending on what kind of place I am applying to, I switch the order of my experience to showcase any experience that is most valuable to a potential employer. For descriptions, I make sure they are more catered toward the company I am applying for. For example, if I am applying for an advertising job, I tailored my internship descriptions to really highlight the ad experience I had at previous internships, even if they weren't specifically advertising companies I had worked for."

Tailor your resume to fit the job. Advertising is not marketing. Accounting is not finance. Marine biology research is not environmental research. With this in mind, realize that your resume needs to best highlight your capabilities and skills -- which will certainly be different from job to job. Says Eugene Secunda, professor and adviser at New York University: "I strongly recommend showing exactly how you fit in to the company's needs. Do research in advance to make sure your points are in line with that of the company. Don't send out a generalized message -- you need to tailor everything to a particular company. Why are you the solution to their problem?"

Use strong words. With limited room and a short amount of time to convey a message, strong word choice can make or break your resume. Stay away from unnecessary adjectives, as they are ultimately considered "fluff." Instead, focus on using strong verbs and meaningful nouns. Engage the reader by making descriptive bullets short and to the point -- but most of all, make sure every word serves a purpose:

Verb suggestions: Engage, create, promote, manage, develop, utilize
Verb no-no's: Do, make, work, use

Be discriminative about what to include. For students with substantial experience, your summer job at the coffee shop doesn't need showcasing. For those without a ton to brag about, there are certain ways to spin descriptions about volunteer work or school clubs that highlight important qualities (such as leadership, dedication, passion, etc.).

Says Lindsay Smith, senior at New York University: "When I started college and made my first professional resume, I included awards I received and clubs I had led during high school. That was acceptable because I had just graduated and had little experience. But over time, I gradually began dropping details from high school and replacing them with internships and jobs I had been involved with more recently."

Resume Tip No. 2: Looks Count Too!
Forget the typical resumes you see featured on Monster or Google as prime examples of correct format. When push comes to shove, your resume needs to be different from run-of-the mill examples, particularly when it comes to key design tools, such as typeface, font color and alignment. You don't have to be a graphic designer to make a well-crafted document. With a couple of tweaks here and there, your Word doc can easily look professionally made. I took a resume-building class in college, and this is what I learned:

Typeface. Beware of Times New Roman. This dry font should be saved for in-class papers and put in your rearview when it comes to designing. Stay away from serifs -- the fonts used in traditional publications, like The New York Times. Those little marks that detail each letter can make readability more difficult, forcing employers to strain their eyes in order to read. Instead, choose a sans-serif font (e.g., Arial or Verdana). They are Web-appropriate and easy to read.

The typeface you choose should also be conducive to your industry. If you are in the market for a finance internship or job, stick with something more formal, such as Arial or Helvetica. However, if you are interested in pursuing an advertising career or something requiring more creativity, experiment with fonts like Orator, Apple Chancery or Euphemia. Your resume can and will stand out with a simple change in font style. It's also a great way to subtly show your personality.

Font color.
Sure, black is always the go-to color, but if you're crafting a more creative resume, a little punch of color in just the right places can go a long way. Keep in mind that we are not suggesting a multicolored rainbow of a resume. Try adding an easy-to-print color, such as green or purple, to your name and various position titles, staying away from gray and yellow. Your name will pop, and color will quickly highlight your past experience in an easy-to-skim fashion. If you do opt for color, stay consistent throughout the document -- otherwise, your resume could appear sloppy.

Letter sizing. Finding the perfect letter size is key when it comes to readability. While 12-point font is the standard, play around with slight variations. Your name should be the largest size on the resume. The second largest typeface should be your job titles and university only. Contact information, job descriptions and educational details should be approximately one font size smaller, as to create a clear hierarchy when it comes to reading over the document.

Resume Tip No. 3: Focus on Format
Content and design are crucial elements to a cohesive resume. However, it is also equally necessary to pay attention to format, as this can either highlight or detract from your perceived skill set.

For those with very little prior experience, it is suggested to put your educational information first. That means including your university, intended plan of study and GPA, particularly if it is above a 3.5. Students with a significant repertoire of experience should save educational information for last, given that it shows the least about who you are as a candidate. Provided you have at least two or three past experiences to write about (e.g., internships, relevant club participation, volunteer work), commonplace order goes as follows:

Name
Contact information
Objective (optional)
Experience with four to five descriptive bullet points each
Specific skills (are you proficient in any software that makes you stand out?)
Hobbies (only if relevant to the position for which you're applying)
Education

Although the rules have changed when it comes to the ideal length for a resume, we still recommend trying not to exceed one page. Hiring managers have limited time and resources, which means looking over several pages is not only overwhelming, but also a nuisance. Plus, if an employer prints a resume and loses the second page, you could be at a severe disadvantage. Fresh out of college, one page should suffice -- which means design, content and format are pivotal in making your resume shine.
May 31, 2011, 10:01pm   #43
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wind sylph
^^This is all great advice! Thanks for sharing!
Aug 23, 2011, 4:41pm   #44
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Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tuesdays Child
Some Resume Tips and Blunders:



1) Email Address: One of my biggest issues before I even open the resume is the email address that an applicant uses. It immediately tells a lot about the candidate. With all the options available to people as far as email addresses goes one should choose an email address with their name and thatís it. If your name is Sarah or John Smith your email address both that you mail your resume from and that is included on your resume as a contact should be to the effect of Sarah_Smith@(insert your email service here). Please, If your chat room name is sexy_two_shoes or Thick_Latino, your prospective employer doesnít need to know that. (I promise I have had that).

Case in point... I am looking for retail help to assist the large Russian Clientele that I have and I have put in an ad in Monster to that very effect. Forget about the fact that I wrote very clearly in TWO PLACES IN THE Listing that I want a Russian Reading and Writing (for blogs etc.) person, and all the email responses mentioned nothing about Russian, I got an email from the following person:

THERAPISTxxx@abc.com (with xxx and abc being fictitious).

I () assume that the intent was Therapist. But It can just as easily be read as The Rapist!
Aug 23, 2011, 5:06pm   #45
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Now a Mrs.
I am late to this thread but as an HR person going through countless resumes, I agree with submitting PDF, the email handle needs to be appropriate, always submit a cover letter with all resumes, AND to not follow up unless you made the first round of interviews.

I get constantly annoyed when people call me inquiring about their status. I get constantly annoyed when I check references and the contact info is outdated or the applicant didn't tell this person that they were going to be a reference.

The quickest way for your resume to get discarded is if your phone number is wrong and/or disconnected and I have to go to your secondary number. Or if your voicemail greeting is completely inappropriate, ie too casual, music, background noise, etc.

Due to the economy now, I have more than enough qualified candidates. Your well thought-out coverletter is what is going to set you apart from the rest. It should have character and make me want to reach out to you to set up an interview.

Also, remember the names of EVERYONE that interviews you and mention their names on your follow-up thank you letter.

AND I can't emphasize enough, do your research on the company. Not just their website, but actually google/facebook/etc the company and learn about their recent events/products/etc.

Oh...don't give me personal references as I won't even bother calling them. I want concrete professional references preferably people who directly supervised you.
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