Exams have been survived, the stage has been crossed, degrees have been awarded, and now it’s time to get the career you’ve dreamed about. In case you didn’t get any resume tips during your Anarchist Literature or Condensed Matter Physics courses, our head of HR has put together a list of helpful do’s and don’ts when applying for a job.
Read on to get a leg up on the competition (aka your former classmates).
- CUSTOMIZE: Each and every resume you send should be tailored to suit that position, highlighting your skills that best support you as a candidate. According to a study by TheLadders (2012), recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at a resume. That’s not long, so be sure to read the job advertisement as well as whatever other information you can find out about the company and their culture. Utilize that information to make key points that will stand out.
- QUANTIFY: Use quantifying information whenever possible. For example, rather than, “Responsible for supervising undergraduate students”, try “Responsible for supervising three undergraduate production students that have since gone on to graduate school.” Noting range, frequency, and scale of information can be extremely helpful when evaluating potential candidates versus broad statements.
- PERSONALIZE: Create a truly original cover letter. Be careful not to make the letter too long, but be sure to add in your personality and what makes you stand out. Focus on the job advertisement and use examples of your past work to demonstrate your potential abilities. Showcase your personality along with your abilities.
- SOCIALIZE: Be sure your social profiles are appropriate and professional. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Make sure those sites don’t have information that would detract or deter a potential employer from hiring you. When utilized properly, an online presence can really help you network and find a new position, so take some time and really focus on your professional appearance on what’s often referred to as your “social resume”.
- EDIT: Have a third party review and edit your resume. Grammar and spelling are simple mistakes that can harm your chances of landing an interview. Having a third party review your information, or even reading the resume aloud yourself, may shed light on areas that could be improved.
- RECORD (FILE): Do your best to have examples of your work with context. The best way to achieve that without having to scramble at the last minute is to maintain a file, an online presence, etc. where you can continuously update your examples as you have exceptional achievements in real time. This holds true for any position you may hold. Even though you may love your job, keeping good records of your work will be helpful if the need arises, especially, unexpectedly.
- SPECIFY: Whenever possible, email your resume to a specific individual, rather than sending it to the generic title “hiring manager.” This may take a little elbow grease, but researching who to contact and getting their information can help you stand out.
- Forget to read the job advertisement. Applying for a position such as a “Post Producer” is not the same as working the Post Office. Being qualified is a requirement.
- Have your mom contact the recruiter or hiring manager. If a candidate can’t apply for the job on their own, how can they work on their own?
- Include slang or text speak in any of your communications. You aren’t texting your resume… hopefully.
- Use the same cover letter you recently created to apply to another company and forget to change the company’s name.
- Talk about yourself in the third person as in –,“Mary is excellent at…”
- Forget to include dates of employment on your resume
- Email prior to submitting your resume and ask for more information about the job to see if you should take the time to apply. Seriously, don’t do that.
- Email prior to submitting your resume to ask what the pay is for the job to see if you should take the time to apply.
- Save your resume as: ResumeVersion4. This just leads to the question, “How many versions are out there?” Instead, save the file with the company’s name included.
- Write that you are not sure what you want to do now that you’ve completed college and are open to anything. If you don’t know what you want to do, how will anyone else?