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Top 10 Don'ts for Resumes and Cover Letters

March 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 88

I look at resumes all day long. In my experience I have looked at technical, sales, finance, marketing, operations, new graduate and non degree resumes. No matter what field or what a candidate is applying for I see the same common mistakes almost daily. Below are a few that I must talk about and can't be ignored any longer.

1. Don't misspell the Company Name or put the wrong company name on the cover letter. - Cover letters are great. They explain why you are applying for the job and why you are the best fit. Cover letters also give you, the applicant an opportunity to explain bumps in your career history. BUT as an applicant please check the company name listed on your cover letter. Daily, I see cover letters written to the wrong company or with the company name misspelled. Please check your cover letter before submitting. This is the first impression that we have of you so make it a good one.

2. Don't submit a Task Resume - Resumes that tell me the tasks of your recent or last job versus what you accomplished. Many resumes state, "Responsible for.... "Or a laundry list of position responsibilities. While that helps me to understand what you were hired to do at your last job, it doesn't tell what you accomplished or what you could do if we hired you at our company. For example: You may have stated, "Responsible for the sale of XYZ product." Instead you can say, "Grew sales of XYZ product by X amount in a 10 month period" or "Top 25% in sales for XYZ product in fourth quarter 2010". Maybe you don't feel like you accomplished much at your last job. Believe me you did. Everyone does!

3. Don't send the Same Resume for every job - Sending a resume that does not tell me that you fit the job you are applying too. Applicants have a tendency to send the same resume to every job they apply for. That strategy works if the jobs you are applying for are identical and require the same basic qualifications, but they don't. Before you submit your resume, review the job description and basic qualifications. Make sure that your resume shows how you fit that role. Use keywords that are in the job description, in your resume to exemplify your fit for the job.

4. Don't apply with a Summary Note - How do I explain this one? Well, there are candidates who are submitting a summary of their history, like a letter instead of a resume. It's like a tease so that the recruiter will call you to learn more. I've seen this more and more often. While I do agree that it can be a great idea if you send it to a networking contact via email, it's not the best idea when you send it through the online application system. Most recruiters are inundated with thousands of resumes they need to review. They just don't have the time to ponder the possibility of a candidate having the potential of being a great fit. Now I don't disagree with the summary letter, but I believe that this type of introduction is best suited in a networking email, or as an introduction via LinkedIn.

5. Don't submit with Spelling Mistakes - Spell check, Re-read and have someone else read your resume so that it is clear of all spelling errors and mistakes. I cannot emphasize this enough.

6. Don't lie on your resume - If there is doubt when we read your resume, more than likely you will not be called

7. Don't submit a Long Resume - I don't really see the need for a 4, 5 or 6 page resume. Remember the resume is the intro to you. You want to put the most pertinent information about you and how you fit the role you are applying for on that resume. You don't want to tell me every single thing you have done. Recruiters just want the top line information. I would suggest no more than 2 pages for a resume.

8. Don't submit a Long Cover letter - Your cover letter should not be a page long. It should only be about to a third of a page. We don't mind that you are prolific; we just don't need all the fluff. If you write a really long cover letter, more times than most, it will not be read unless something in your resume requires the recruiter to do so.

9. Don't submit highly formatted resumes - Most job applications are online. Therefore you must cut and paste, or download your resume into the applicant tracking system that company provides. Unfortunately, most applicant tracking systems removed formatting that you have created for your resume and when we as recruiters receive it - it is a jumble. When you create you resume, ensure that you create one in TEXT format and one with minimal formatting. Minimal formatted would mean a resume without underlines, italics, and graphics. Use the TEXT or minimal format version of your resume when you apply online.

10. Don't forget to check for Syntax error. If you are in doubt about how to say it or if you're writing skills are not so great, ask for help in writing your resume. Again, this is your first impression to the potential employer so you want to make it good. Some may say that is lying but it's not. You are just getting help in formatting the verbiage in your resume. You are not lying about your experience, or what you have accomplished.

Experience Recruiter and Job Search resource. Recruiter with a need to share tips about how to search for a job. I have been employed and unemployed (of recent) so I know how it is out there in the trenches. I want to share my tips and tricks for success.

Source: EzineArticles
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