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Dear prospective employee, - Hawk's Eyrie
It's all about releasing your inner sociopath
merhawk
merhawk
Dear prospective employee,
As I have a few open positions I have recs out to fill, I've been starting to go through piles of resumes. A few (general) suggestions to those prospective employees.

A) When it is stated "cover letter required", a hiring manager really means "a cover letter is required". This is not just to make you jump through hoops. A cover letter helps show numerous things. Firstly, one can mention relevant interests or experiences that relate directly to the type of job one is applying for, but which should not (for various reasons) be placed on the resume itself. It also shows that one knows how to follow directions. While I do not want to hire a drone, I am NOT hiring someone to just do what they want to do. They need to know how to follow directions. Finally, it is a chance to show off your writing and grammar skills. I know that not all people are very well versed in these matters; however, it is a chance to wow me with your erudition. As I work at a library company, being literate and well-written is always a bonus.

B) Job codes, like cover letters, are not things that are put in ads just for the hiring manager to see themselves in print. We receive a lot of resumes. If you don't put on the job code, it won't be read.

C) Personalize each resume and cover letter for each job. It doesn't have to be personalized much; however, one should make the effort of at least making sure the objective is, for example, relevant to the type of job you are looking to be hired into. Additionally, the objective of "Finding work" or "Looking to gain better understanding of self", while honest, is not an acceptable response.

D) Unless you have 10+ years of experience, you do not need to have multiple pages for your resumes. One page will suffice. Resumes are not an expression of self, but an expression of keywords and experience to attract potential employers to bring you in for an interview. Attempting to force employers to read five page resumes for someone who has only four years of menial office job experience will not get one in for an interview. It will get ones resume sent to the "no" pile.

E) While during an interview I will attempt to draw out of you what your hobbies and interests are, to get a fuller understanding of you, I do NOT care what they are on your resume, unless they are directly related to the job that you are applying for. For example, I have written "copy-edited for friends" on cover letters that are applying for editing jobs. I have not put that one for jobs that do not involve writing. Nor shall I do so.

F) Presentation is key. Let me repeat that - PRESENTATION IS KEY. I prefer all resumes to be sent to me in .pdf format, as that will ensure that any formatting that has been done, will remain exactly as one wished it to look like. However, I realize that not everyone has access to full adobe or uses Macs (where one can automatically create a .pdf file). I also realize that not everyone has access to MS Word or some other wordprocessing program. However, one should take advantage of whatever text tools they have, and create a clear, legible, and ONE PAGE resume to be sent to the prospective employer. We do not want to see:

o 16 pt font cover letters, with good portions of the cover letter either bolded, underlined, or both.
o Cool looking fonts, in 20 pt font, in the resume. Latitude is given to non-nationals obviously not used to US traditional resumes. There is, however, a limit to latitude and it shall not be extended to those who send me resumes in 20 pt, with Cursive fonts, take up three pages, and have not bothered to format it other than to use a "cool-looking" font.
o A "resume" that's 6 lines long, and obviously cut and pasted from another job email you had sent out previously.

G) Note that there's always a good chance robots are reading this for keywords. Keyword the hell out of this. It is better to have too many keywords, than too little.

H) Unless you are green or do not have a college degree, I do not care what High School you went to, what your GPA was, or what year you graduated. Remove it.

I) Repeat after me: "References are available upon request". References should not mar up your beautiful 1 page resume. They go on a separate page, with an explanation of who they are (friend, ex-coworker, ex-supervisor, etc) and they are not given to the prospective employer until asked.

Just follow these basic rules, and you too can have a legible looking resume that won't make a hiring manager glance at it, cringe, throw it in the rejection pile, and then use it for humor fodder while talking with colleagues.

ETA: To clarify, these are rules for US resumes. Resumes might be put together differently in your part of the world.

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14 talons or Rake your talons?
Comments
kitarra From: kitarra Date: August 22nd, 2006 06:19 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I um... can't fit what I do into one page. There are resumes that simply cannot fit on one page. Though I agree it should be no more than two.
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 22nd, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
You're right - there are some resumes that simply can't fit onto one page. And it's generally obvious, when the resume is formatted correctly, what resumes those are.

Resumes for a "Document Delivery Assistant", however, SHOULD NOT BE TWO PAGES. I don't care how long they've worked - it's possible to drop the older employment if it's no longer relevant.
kitarra From: kitarra Date: August 22nd, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Sad as this is... honestly, most people are pretty darn sad when it comes to resumes.

I actually took a resume/interviewing class in college and I have never forgotten the things that professor use to say.

He was a sharp man.
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 23rd, 2006 04:38 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Resume writing should be a required high school class.

Just like PE.

I'm just sayin'.
(Deleted comment)
kitarra From: kitarra Date: August 22nd, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Yeah that I can't argue with. I mean there are things that should not go on your resume. Like non related jobs. Unless you are really green and trying to show the fact that you are reliable and employable.

Grad projects... some of them could be relevant to the job the person is applying for. But once a person has job experience that should go away...unless particularly relavant.

For me, I have to list:

Certifications, software platforms, hardware platforms and a whole bunch of other stuff that takes a hell of a lot of space but is terribly relevant.

I actually have three seperate resumes.

A real resume
A short resume
And a professional resume

The last is essentially a list of projects and clients I have worked on and technologies I have had experience implimenting. The last one usually goes to prospective clients who just want to see what I have done.

It gets really complex.
texas_tiger From: texas_tiger Date: August 22nd, 2006 11:30 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
The one problem I always have with my resume is the keywords. No one ever gave me a list of what words HR people look for. So I'm probably deficient there. Oh, well.
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 22nd, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Keywords are hard. If you know what people generally look for in your industry, try to use those words in your resume. Other than that - there's not much you can do. If they're looking for the keyword for an obscure type of process, and you know it but don't have it in your resume, that's one that it would have been odd to have in there in the first place.

However, if you have space to put that obscure type of process in a skills section - do it! It doesn't hurt to have it there, most of the time.
(Deleted comment)
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 23rd, 2006 04:41 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I don't know how it works in large companies, but I know that I skim the resumes to see what jumps out at me. If something good jumps out, I read the resume more closely.

Considering I work for a library company, words like library, OCLC, RLIN, catalog, Dialog, and STN make sure I give a resume a much closer look.
From: cocoajava Date: August 22nd, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Another no-no. Don't print your resume on card stock. We aren't looking to prop it up on our desks with the pictures of the family. And it wreaks HAVOC with the copy machine if we want to share your talents with another staff member.

Yes, people do this.
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 22nd, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Oh, I believe you. Very little surprises me when it comes to bad resumes these days.
kitarra From: kitarra Date: August 22nd, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I knew someone that did that! He said it got his noticed. I said it got his trashed.

I printed mine on light blue paper with a soft pattern. I got more interviews that way... when I sent paper resumes that is.

Now a days its all electronic of course.
From: cocoajava Date: August 22nd, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Unless you are in the land of academia! Then we love paper. If you email it, we'll print it. We'd prefer a mailed letter, actually. Cause then we copy it 14 times for the entire selection committee to ponder... yep, academia is a mire of redundancy and paperwork, even these days.
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 23rd, 2006 04:42 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I print all my resumes out! I hate reading something like that on a screen, as I always want to mark them up with my notes.

It's also much easier to put paper resumes in various piles than when it's electronic bytes, too. *grin*
(Deleted comment)
merhawk From: merhawk Date: August 23rd, 2006 04:43 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I'm completely agreed on the country customs, as I thought I implied when I said that I gave slack to obvious foreign nationals.

I've clarifed it in my post.

I'm not going to dock someone for having their HS on the resume, for example, but if it's a large resume they could have put the space to better use.
14 talons or Rake your talons?