Monday, June 17, 2013

Resume Help

I’m currently suffering through a stack of resumes and have come up with some advice for job seekers.

  1. Follow the directions in the ad. If employers include directions in their help wanted ads, they’re more than likely testing your ability to read, comprehend, and follow said directions. For example, if they say email us your cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume as a word document, follow the directions. 
  2. Your cover letter is a tool that should be utilized to get your employers to open your resume. Use it to address qualifications and job duties listed in the ad, therefore showing your employer why you’re qualified. Each cover letter should be specific to the particular position you’re inquiring about. 
  3. Cover letters should also be addressed in a way that they do not look generic. If the ad instructs you to email your resume to “Mary,” do not begin your cover letter with “Dear Sir,” or “To Whom It May Concern.” If they do not list a name, then you can customize it in other areas, like by addressing the duties and qualifications specific to the ad (as mentioned in #3).
  4. Do not use acronyms or abbreviations  unrelated to the job you’re inquiring about. Applying for an office job and listing your series 7 news surveillance clearance doesn’t make you sound more qualified.  Nor will they care that you’re experienced in software that they don’t use or that you have your CDL (commercial driver’s license).  
  5. Your resume should focus on information pertinent to the position offered. If you list nine jobs in nine different fields across the board, the employer will understandably think you have no clue what you want to be when you grow up and that this job will just be another experiment to see if you like it.
  6. That brings me to a pet peeve. Be sure you understand what all the words on your resume mean. If you have a section titled “Relevant Experience,” you should understand that the word relevant means closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand. If the experience listed in this section is not suited for the job you’re applying for, please don’t list it. 
  7. When listing your job duties from your previous places of employment, please list what you actually did. Don’t just use keywords like “team player” and “multi-tasked.” Employers will want to know the type of work you actually performed. If you don’t know enough to talk about it, they won’t be interested in talking to you.
  8. Proofread your resume multiple times. Read it aloud. Read it to others. Have others read it to you. Just READ it. Make sure it makes sense and that nothing is misspelled and double check your use of commonly misused words like to/too/two, their/there, affect/effect, then/than, etc.  

The job market is still tough, and job seekers need every advantage they can get. Please be sure to add your own suggestions below and share this post with anyone interested in fine tuning their resume.


  1. Great advice, Amanda! People also need to think about their appearance when even approaching someone for an application or handing in a resume.
    I worked at a meat locker. We wore baseball hats to keep our hair in check, jeans, non skid boots, whatever shirt we wanted. Could get cold in the winter since we do have freezers, and the huge deep freezer locker was right next to where I worked. I didn't have to dress up for my job, but I was clean and presentable every day.
    The boss needed another butcher and this one guy walked to apply. He had on a dirty T Shirt, some cut off pants that were very stringy (they weren't jeans, I think something like sweat pants but not quite that material) and his T Shirt didn't even cover his belly. Really? You come to apply for a job at a place where our utmost concern is keeping the food SAFE while butchering it and you look like that? REALLY?
    He was probably a nice guy, and the boss even gave him an application, but he wasn't going to hire him based on his initial appearance.

    On the flip side of that, a lady walked in to apply for the wrapper position. She was dressed to the hilt. Hair perfectly done, just a hair shit of a power suit, heels. HEELS! In a meat locker? It's not a Fortune 500 company lady, it's the local meat locker where deer hunters and people bring cows/hogs to be butchered. A simply button down and some nice pants would have done. Sneakers would have worked, too!

    Take a moment and think about what the job is your applying for. Whether it's McDonald's or a Fortune 500, dress the part.

    Just a side note: I wasn't even really looking for a job at the locker when I got hired. I even had my 6 yr old with me when the boss hired me. I was in a clean T Shirt, jeans and sneakers. He needed a wrapper and I wanted a job that could work around my schedule. He said let's try it...and we did.

  2. Excellent points! Thank you, Faith!

  3. Excellent points! Thank you, Faith!