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Applying for Jobs? October 14, 2011

Filed under: Employment — aprilgrant @ 7:59 pm

Being about 7 months pregnant and having to hire a temporary replacement for myself, I’m in a precarious position. I don’t want to hire someone so awesome that they don’t care that I come back, and I want to hire someone who’s decent enough to not leave them in a lurch – qualified.

Luckily, it doesn’t seem that I’m having the first problem at all. We did come across one woman who was completely awesome and she only wanted a temporary position, which works out great for me. However, she ended up declining to take the offer. I was somewhat saddened by it, because she really seemed to know quite a bit about my position and would be able to teach me some things – probably a lot of things.

But alas, we are back to the drawing board. I’ve realized that most of the resumes suck! Don’t get me wrong, some of them may be qualified, but they surround it with so much crap, I can’t really tell.  Here are some (hopefully) helpful hints:

  1. Your resume should not be the same for every position, it should vary based on the details that the company provides to you!  My place of employment is hiring for two staff positions. I received a cover letter and resume for both positions. They aren’t the same. The qualifications aren’t the same. To put it in one resume, you may be thinking that it saves you time, but from my prospective, it’s just lazy and shows me that you’re willing to short-cut. In general, I’m ok with short-cuts, but when your cover letter says “I’m applying for x and y” and didn’t take the time out to tell me why each of the positions are a good fit for you, I don’t really want to read the rest of the resume. It will be filled with “qualifications” that I don’t need for the position I’m trying to fill.
  2. If you’re applying for a job, don’t indent 1/3 through the page and make it multiple pages. Don’t try too hard to create a “lengthy” resume! We aren’t in high school anymore. There’s no resume length requirement of TWO or THREE pages. We care about quality, not quantity. Too much filler means that we stop reading it!
  3. If you highlight something in your cover letter, please back it up in your resume.  If you’re going to highlight the number of years you’ve been in the industry, show me growth! Don’t show me that you’ve managed to do the exact same thing for multiple people, in different places over that time. Most jobs will teach you all you need to know in the first year.  It’s up to you to expand and grow on the job. Length of time doesn’t matter (at least not to me).
  4. Limit repetition! If you went from Assistant I to Assistant II, don’t just copy everything from Assistant I to Assistant II and add to it. When you’re trying to show that you learn quickly, and grow on the job, you have to have learned something substantial to justify a new position and new entry. Otherwise, just combine in a Assistant I/Assistant II listing. Save space to talk about important and relevant information.
  5. Spell check, spell check, spell check! I know that this has been beaten into your head, but please note this difference – have a friend/family member/trusted colleague spell check! There are some things that the spell check function on the computer does not catch. One error that I caught was a misspelling for the word assess. The last ‘s’ was missing. It’s not that I don’t understand what you meant, nor that I think that you were lazy for not using spell check. What I do think is that you don’t pay attention to detail. Almost every position requires you to pay attention to detail in some aspect or another.
  6. If you’re applying for two positions at the same place, please submit twice. Not always same department reviews and the qualifications are NOT the same. See point 1. If you read each listing, they will highlight what’s important for each role.  You should do the same! Each resume should highlight what’s important for that position.
 I hope these tips help.  If you have any more tips (or think I’m somewhat off base), feel free to leave them below!
 
Push harder now!
April
 
UPDATE:
Little things DO count!  The resume is judged more than anything else. No, we don’t expect on-the-job perfection, but with almost infinite time, the ability to review by yourself and others, we expect cities to be capitalized, periods to be appropriately placed, semi-colons used effectively and properly and formatting to be consistent.
 
These tips were submitted by a friend:
 
Not an autobiography! Do not include anything personal. Facts only. 

Highlight positives! If you can show how you saved money, increased “whatever” in concrete numbers, even better.

Not a book or short story! Hiring members don’t have time to read lengthy resumes. I also like bullet style resumes.  I for sure think resumes should only be one page, and only contain 10 years of experience (unless job calls for more). (Me: I will stop reading if it seems like the person threw in the kitchen sink to seem more important).

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