I think people have forgotten how to take direction. It sounds harsh, but I’m amazed how infantile directions have become on products; and don’t forget about the horrific warnings that are listed for those who use the product improperly.
But people don’t take direction well. The ad (requesting resumes) states that I need specific information. But often I got a simple “cut and paste” application. They want me to want their information instead of the other way around. And they’ll wonder why they didn’t get the position.
What else could people do better with submitting resumes? Here are 7 that pop into my mind quite quickly after reviewing over 50 applicants (in less than a week).
1. Misspellings. No excuse. Period. Especially since word processing programs practically jump out and slap your wrist when you type them.
2. Don’t make me do the work. I received one resume who didn’t give me much information. He said “go to my linkedin account and you’ll be able to find anything else you’re looking for”. So, they want me to work for them? Doubt it.
3. Answer questions. When I quickly review the materials submitted, often glaring questions come to mind. Like why are you applying for a job in NC if you live in California? And why is there 2 years where you seemingly did nothing? Or why do you think you are the most amazing person ever? Give me answers not raise questions!
4. The letter is everything. If I spent 15 minutes with each of the applicant’s materials, it would take about 12.5 hours to review them. I don’t have that much time. So I need to weed them down. I found myself reading all their letters and only skimming the resume. The letter is key for getting my attention — and supplying the material required (as listed in the ad). Bullet points would have been fine!
5. Use social media. Several supplied everything that I requested and they list their linkedin account. This is a great way to take your material and make it come alive. Well, if you’re active and using it properly. It also said you like to network.
6. Avoid superlatives (best, amazing). Give lots of reasons for me to come up with the superlatives. If you start with a bragging style, it’s hard to say that you’re humble and able to work with a team.
7. Don’t use obscure references. Go through your resume and cover letter — be sure that it’s written with the job in mind. And keep in mind that the employer is looking for proof that you can do the job and benefit the company. It’s fine to list obscure and unrelated experiences or references, but don’t draw attention to them if they have no reason to make you better for the job. Best summer camp counselor for the last 2 summers? Probably shouldn’t be in your cover letter (as one applicant did).
Remember, the best job is out there for you. Make sure you don’t settle for any job — the interview process is the time for you to ask questions to make sure you’ll love the job (as much as it’s for the employer to check on you!). Good luck!