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Mar 2, 2011, 3:41pm   #1
Tuesdays Child's Avatar
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Some Resume Tips and Blunders:

One of the responsibilities that I have at my current Job in a small business is the “HR” department. In that capacity I thought to write down some of the mistakes that I see that quickly tell me if a candidate is worth an interview or not. Anyone in the field with suggestions and comments should feel free to please contribute.

Your resume:


While not conclusive either way, the resume is your first impression you put forward to your prospective employer. It certainly doesn’t tell the whole positive story but it does tell the reader a lot about you and as it’s a prepared document you should make the best impression with it that you can. Spend a few extra minutes making sure it's done correctly and avoid some of the issues I have listed below.

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 that’s 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 doesn’t need to know that. (I promise I have had that).

2) Spelling Mistakes: Know what those red squiggly lines represent in Microsoft word? That’s happens you spell something wrong. Nowadays, there is no excuse to submit a resume that has any spelling mistakes at all and all it accomplishes is to tell your employer that either you don’t pay much attention to detail or you don’t care all that much.

3) Be Like Santa…(Make a list and) Check it Twice: Read your resume. Then read it again. After that give it to your friend to read it for you and see how someone else who doesn’t know what to expect sees your resume. Sometimes you mean something and because you expect your writing to say something you don’t pick up on mistakes that others might. You would be surprised at how many silly mistakes can be avoided that way. I once received a resume from a woman who claimed she worked for the Broad of Ed. (spell check would not have noticed the error as broad is a word) She wasn’t for the job but I wanted to help her anyway because the resume was otherwise OK and when I pointed out her error she emailed back that I was an A-Hole and she wouldn’t want to work for me anyway. Oh well...

4) Make sure you know the meaning of words you are using: If you use words that are big and sound fancy make sure you look them up first otherwise you will end up just looking foolish. One applicant wrote that he was a Barrister (an English attorney) and then proceeded to enumerate his responsibilities as said barrister. Served coffee, made drinks etc. (He meant Barista). Is this a cardinal sin? Of course not. It just looks silly.

5) Objective: This is a personal thing I have. Common resume thinking as evidenced by resume templates is to write an objective into your resume. Something like “Seeking Growth in an Organization that will blah blah blah… The resume objective says where you want to go and what your goals in employment are. As an employer I am not really sure why I would want to know that. Lets be frank. I am not looking to hire because I am a philanthropist. I put my ad in Monster.com that you responded to because I am looking to build my business and to pay my rent. What I want to know is what you can do for me and why I should hire you over anyone else. In a stack of resumes why are you the best fit for this job? I personally feel that you are better served in getting the attention of the prospective employer by writing a brief summary of your skills and how you feel you can benefit the organization you want to be hired by.

6) Cover Letter: A cover letter is nice but not required. If you do use one I suggest that you write what I listed above in point 5 into your cover letter. List briefly your skills, why you could make a difference in the company and why you would like an opportunity to meet with the HR person to better explain what you can bring to the table if hired. Add your contact info and that’s about it.

7) Communicate, communicate, communicate: After you send your email with your resume, make sure you check your email account to see if you have been contacted. One of my biggest pet peeves is when an applicant emails a resume and then doesn’t bother following up. It’s unprofessional on the professional level and simply rude on the personal level.

8) Finally if you get an interview set up: Be there (show up) and do so on time. If for whatever reason you can't, let them know you are running late. It’s a common courtesy and one that you would expect be accorded you. Imagine if you scheduled the interview and showed up only to find the interviewer didn’t show. You wouldn’t be happy. They have carved out a portion of their busy day for you. Respect that.

I am sure I will have some more things to add but this is a starting point.
Mar 2, 2011, 3:46pm   #2
juneping's Avatar
couch potato-ing
thanks!! very helpful!!
the examples were too funny lol...
Mar 2, 2011, 4:42pm   #3
Tuesdays Child's Avatar
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Originally Posted by juneping
thanks!! very helpful!!
the examples were too funny lol...
You cant make some of that stuff up.

I used to have a folder of all the bizarre resumes I would get. One of my favorites was where an applicant listed that his ideal job was one where the employees "wouldn't be zombies". (what more could you ask for?)

Some strange stuff.
Mar 2, 2011, 8:02pm   #4
PrincessD's Avatar
Hello!!
Thank you so much for putting this all together for us! I'm graduating this year and these are some very helpful tips =)
Mar 2, 2011, 9:57pm   #5
Laurie8504's Avatar
chocolate...where?
great thread idea, thanks! I think there are also some great tips and examples at this website:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/564/01/
It's also great for APA/MLA formatting, business letters, etc.
Mar 3, 2011, 8:50am   #6
Tuesdays Child's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Laurie8504
great thread idea, thanks! I think there are also some great tips and examples at this website:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/564/01/
It's also great for APA/MLA formatting, business letters, etc.
Good Site. I see they have Objective as what I have detailed above that should be used instead of objective since most people insert what they want personally long term as opposed to what their objective in applying for the particular job is.

Quote:
Objective

The objective should be short and concise, but it must also be user-centered. User-centered objectives are tailored to the specific organization and position. User-centered objectives state the organization's name and the specific position title, and they briefly outline how the applicant will help the organization achieve its goals:

Objective: Help ABC Aerospace achieve its mission of designing tomorrow's technology today by joining the Navigation Software Development Team as a programmer.

Creating a user-centered objective is important because you don't want to sound like you're using the organization selfishly to further your own career:

Objective: Expand my skills in programming in the software development field

Notice how the second objective does not mention the specific organization or job, and it does not discuss how the applicant plans to help the company.
Mar 3, 2011, 8:58am   #7
Tuesdays Child's Avatar
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Resume Addendum 1

Tailoring your Job for the specific Listing:

When submitting your resume take the time and tailor it to the company you are submitting to. I dont mean to lie and insert information that is not true. I mean if its generic or worse, if you originally had it listed as a nursing job and you decided that sales is what you are looking for make sure that you write in the Target Company Field (A section of the resume that Monster has) or it's equivalent that you are looking for a Sales Job (and you are responding to a sales job listing). Its quite the turn off for the employer to see your target job as a Computer Programmer when they listed the position as Inventory Specialist or something to that effect.
Mar 3, 2011, 10:50am   #8
thepoppet's Avatar
wind sylph
These tips are very good. I rework resumes for a lot of people because I know what a resume is supposed to look like and what differentiates the good ones from the bad ones. And this knowledge has meant that ALL my friends come to me to revamp their resumes. I was shocked when seeing how bad some of them were. Just really... wow!

1. I have to wholeheartedly agree with the email ID. This is the first thing I tell my friends: create a new email ID with just your name. Anything else is unprofessional and does not reflect well on you.

2. Objective: Agree again! The other thing you can do, particularly if you've worked in the same industry, is to use that space to spell out specific goals you've reached for the companies you've worked for. It can be specific numbers/finances if you're in sales, percentages of growth, etc. It really depends on your resume and work history, but if you have measurable accomplishments, that is a great place to highlight them.

But don't write some random generic objective. Nobody cares and you're taking up resume real estate and their time.

3. Cover letter: use positive and direct language! If you know you're good at something and have the results to prove it, state it! Don't use passive language and don't make it sound like they're doing you a favor by considering you. Don't be an obnoxious jerk, but you wouldn't believe how much passive sentence structure makes you sound weak and unsure.

4. Follow up everything! Follow up a resume! If you're sending to a recruiter, ask to meet for coffee. Follow up an interview with a thank you.
Mar 3, 2011, 5:06pm   #9
Tuesdays Child's Avatar
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Here is another something that I just reminded myself of. It was actually prompted by another individual sending me their resume to help tweak.

Make it easy to read:

The de facto standard for word processing programs is Microsoft Word. Most businesses, large and small use it. Please dont send me a resume that is done in Corel Wordperfect or some other word processing program so that my 2003 Office cannot open it without downloading another program. I am just not gonna take the time because 1) I am unfamiliar with it and maybe it contains a virus. 2) There are 300 resumes that are done in word that dont make me take that extra step to read it, so why should I bother.
Mar 3, 2011, 5:18pm   #10
thepoppet's Avatar
wind sylph
Originally Posted by Tuesdays Child
Here is another something that I just reminded myself of. It was actually prompted by another individual sending me their resume to help tweak.

Make it easy to read:

The de facto standard for word processing programs is Microsoft Word. Most businesses, large and small use it. Please dont send me a resume that is done in Corel Wordperfect or some other word processing program so that my 2003 Office cannot open it without downloading another program. I am just not gonna take the time because 1) I am unfamiliar with it and maybe it contains a virus. 2) There are 300 resumes that are done in word that dont make me take that extra step to read it, so why should I bother.
Yes! Along the same lines:
1. If you use OpenOffice, be sure to save it in Word format before sending.

2. If you use the latest versions of Word, be sure to save it DOWN a version (save it as a ".doc" file and NOT a ".docx" file) so that all versions of Word (including both Mac and PC) can open it.

Additionally, when I email out a cover letter and resume, I say in my email that it is saved in Word and should be easily opened in any word processing program, including Googledocs. I also mention that I have pasted my cover letter within the body of the email (and then follow it with the cover letter pasted after a few returns).

Basically, you want to spell out exactly what is attached and how it can be read. Including the cover letter copy in the body of the email (clearly separated) also lets them quickly get an idea of you without having to open anything (as long as your cover letter isn't very long).
Mar 3, 2011, 5:42pm   #11
juneping's Avatar
couch potato-ing
^^how about PDF?? everyone can view it.
Mar 3, 2011, 6:00pm   #12
thepoppet's Avatar
wind sylph
My opinion (and others may differ): Only if you HAVE to. Better to do it in Word because everyone usually already has that application open while they would have to open a new application to view your file. I'm on a Mac and I don't want to open a PDF file if I don't have to (because on Macs, unless you have the Firefox extension, the PDF file will launch the application rather than opening the file within your browser).

And why make it a PDF if you've already typed it in Word? You shouldn't have only one resume anyway unless you're only applying to one type of job. If you have a diverse work history and you are applying to several types of positions, you should have resumes that highlight the work history that fits with each position you're applying to. Keeping it in the word processing program makes it easier for you to make tweaks rather than having a bunch of frozen PDF files floating around that you can't edit (unless you have the full program).

Additionally, as someone who has read applications and made hiring decisions in the past, one of the things I really look for is that their Word document is formatted correctly if they put on their resume that they have Word skills. I don't mean to scare anyone by saying that, but in a job where you're working on files that others will have to edit and update later, really knowing Word matters. That means you know how to use style sheets, you know how to set your tabs (rather than hitting the space bar repeatedly to eyeball lining things up), you know to use the proper font rather than just hitting "bold" or "italic," etc.
Mar 3, 2011, 6:07pm   #13
thepoppet's Avatar
wind sylph
One thing I do want to add though: whether you save your resume in PDF or Word, just make sure all your documents are saved in the same format. Don't have a resume in PDF and then your cover letter in Word. It completely lacks efficiency for those who have to open and read the files. It can be annoying for those who are already really busy and reading many resumes.
Mar 3, 2011, 8:27pm   #14
Sarni's Avatar
it is what it is....
this info is great...thanks!

It's been a while since I have updated my resume or applied for jobs...I am very out of touch so I am finding these tips very helpful.

Thanks again!
Mar 3, 2011, 8:46pm   #15
Kansashalo's Avatar
I <3 life
LOL @ the email address examples

Thanks for this info!
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