Since moving into a supervisory capacity a few years ago, it has been my privilege to select the members of my team through the hiring process. I have seen a few hundred resumes during this time as positions have come open. I’ve sorted and considered candidates, looking at various criteria, not just for the job itself, but little things that can say a lot about a person and if the individual will fit in as a member of the team.
Employers aren’t just looking at the time line. Every visible bit of data is speaking for you. Make certain it speaks well of you.
- The first impression you make is with the subject line of your email. Proof this and each and every other word and phrase you send. Don’t let a simple mistake such as using “you” in place of “your” get you cut from the herd. And especially watch out for words that can lose a letter and still mean something, albeit not at all what you intended.
Number one example: “Public” vs. “Pubic.
Spellchecker won’t catch that one.
- Write a Business-style LETTER, or in these modern times, EMAIL. You can use your email body as the letter, but make the style look and sound professional – not a casual note like so many emails are these days, business or personal. Many of the employers out there still remember business class in high school where we learned how to type a proper business letter (on an electric typewriter, no less – not a computer), and I prefer to see an introductory email express a modicum of professionalism. Start with “Dear Ms. So-and-So” or “To Whom It May Concern.” “Hi, my name is…” doesn’t sit right with me. “Hi” is something you say to people you know on a personal basis. Instead, write “Good morning” or “Allow me to introduce myself” and put on a display your respect for the employer and for yourself.
- Because resumes are emailed or submitted on-line, the file name is visible and you’d better believe the employer is evaluating your character by how you name your file. “Bestestresume” may remind you which one to send, but it looks incredibly silly when the employer goes to open it up. And if these resumes are filed in another location, your name is lost until they open the file. Make your resume easy to locate. “SMITH_Mary_Resume_2015” is a wonderful example of letting your file name speak for you.
- Another item that’s important when applying for any position is following the instructions. Send the resume to the address specified. Send all applicable documentation. Make sure you meet all of the requirements or have equivocal experience. Contact only the person specified. If you don’t follow the instructions, you will either be dismissed or your information will be lost and never seen by the person responsible for hiring.
- Be brief. You have a lot to share and you want to look your best. Don’t bore the reader of your resume. The outline of your experience should highlight the skills requested for the position to which you applied, so it’s a good idea to remove any irrelevant information.
One thing I look for at the end of the resume is a little bit about non-work activities that may relate to the position, such as charity work, or that may highlight a skill set required for the position. If you are a musician, for instance, the employer will know that you have a sense of punctuality and the ability to use your brain on multiple levels. Musicians often possess critical skills for making judgement calls, using logic, and providing creative ideas.
Put forth your best impression!