Having worked in Human Resources for the past 18 years, I have had the opportunity to review literally thousands of different resumes and cover letters. My positions have always included a heavy amount of recruiting and interviewing, so while I won’t pretend to be an absolute authority on all things related to the resume, I feel that I am at least somewhat credible to provide some insight on this topic.
Additionally, I have frequently had friends and family ask me for advice on their resumes or to simply assist them with the creation of one. More than anything, I can certainly tell them what not to do… So, if you are in the process of seeking employment or brushing up your resume, feel free to take into consideration some of the following do’s and don’ts.
- Do your research on who you are sending your resume to. Having a cover letter addressed to the correct individual goes a long way. At the very minimum, do NOT assume that the individual to whom you are directing your information is a particular gender. Two of my greatest pet peeves are when I am addressed as Sir OR when someone has taken the time to get my name but then spell it incorrectly.
- Double check your work! I may be able to overlook the occasional grammatical or punctuation error, but I have little tolerance for misspellings in a day and age when spell check exists on computers.
- Do not have a copy of a copy of a copy of a resume and then handwrite something on the resume or cover letter. Whether it is a fair assumption or not, I will automatically think that this individual does not have the computer skills that I may need for our positions.
- Colors and photographs do not make that particular resume go to the top of the heap. In this case, less is more… Unless you are applying for a graphic designer position (and even then I would argue it is not necessary), please avoid using colors, lots of graphics, and ANY photos (especially of yourself) on the resume.
- You would be amazed to know how often I receive a cover letter indicating the wrong position and even the wrong company name. I certainly understand the need to modify an existing letter when you are sending multiple resumes, but leaving the last company’s name or position in the letter can totally cost you an opportunity to interview.
While I am sure the list could go on, this is hopefully a start in the right direction. I will spend more time in future blog articles discussing some additional points on the resume and interview process.