Resume time again.

We're going through resumes at work right now. While I won't say anything specific about the resumes that I have seen in the last little while, I would like to share some general guidelines with you for preparing your resume and cover letters. I also wish that I could email some of these people individually and give them pointers...

  • One page. No, seriously. Apparently in the last couple months, someone sent out a memo to the world announcing that it's okay to have resumes that are over one page. This is not true if you are applying for an entry-level position. And no one wants to read through pages and pages of resume. I am definitely okay with references being on a separate page, but please try to keep all the rest to one page. (I know that there are exceptions to this if you have about 50 years of experience and you're applying to be the CEO of a major company.)
  • Keep it relevant. You need to send out a different resume to pretty much every job you apply for. Read the job requirements and tailor your resume accordingly. I honestly don't care about your horseback riding skills. Not one bit.
  • I don't care about your GPA either. I'm just saying. (That's personal though.)
  • I don't care what you did in high school.
  • Edit, edit, edit. And then give it to a friend to edit. This especially applies if your aplying for an editter position.
  • Save your sense of humor for the job interview. Leave it out of your resume. (Unless you're applying to be a comedian, then have at it.)
  • Save your interests and your hopes and dreams and your personal life philosophy for the interview. Or don't, because it actually helps the employer weed you out before you even get to the interview and waste his/her time.
  • If you're including on your resume that you were an AP on your mission, consider the fact that the people reading your resume may very well have loathed the majority of their APs. And that then they'll make fun of you before tossing your resume in the trash in honor of every one of those loathed APs.
  • Make sure you have the correct spelling for the name of the company you're applying to.
  • EMAIL ADDRESS. I've said this before, I'll say it again. Have a professional email address. And have an email address from a respectable company. I use gmail, and it works great. I won't mention any names, but some other email providers include ads at the bottom of your emails. Do you really want your email to your potential future employer to have an ad for weight loss at the bottom of it? I'm not kidding. This is a real example: "Burn fat. Finally, a diet plan that works." At the bottom of someone's cover letter. I wouldn't toss a resume out for something like that, but I would wonder why the person hasn't clued in that sometimes you need to be a little more professional.
There are lots of other pointers I could give you. I might even have to do another post on this, but this should get you by in the meantime.

13 comments:

C. said...

This was beautiful. Especially the bit about the APs.

erin said...

I love the people who have enough confidence to write things like that. I read and edited a cover letter for a friend, but I didn't read her resume; I'm pretty sure she didn't do any of those crazy things. At least I hope not...

Jon Boy said...

Also, if you're applying for a job that requires a lot of experience in programs like InDesign and Illustrator, you get bonus points if you can create a good-looking resume instead of using some sucky Word template.

The Divine Miss A said...

I absolutely agree with all of your bullet points. I love how well you managed to put everything. So many things I've been telling people for so long--especially the email address part. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

So really I agree with everything. Or mainly everything. Perhaps not as much about including GPA. But for me it goes back to changing your resume based on the job you're applying for. Because I'm a teacher, I do include my GPA on most resumes. This is mainly because most school districts usually want to know overall and major GPA for the subject matter I'm going to be teaching (English).

The Divine Miss A said...

Maybe I'm wrong, though.

stupidramblings said...

What about:

"We're all good [insert your religious faith here]s right, brother so-n-so? I fit in because we are the same religion...

abby said...

I disagree with the one page resume. I've been working for almost ten years in my career and I can't keep it to one page without making your squint. I've dropped my college TA jobs and most of my sucky temp jobs, but you still have to account for your time.

Being an AP on your mission really doesn't fly in the non Mormon world unless you can make it sould like it really was important in a non religious way.

Jon Boy said...

I also don't think that resumes always have to be kept to one page or that you can only exceed that limit if you have decades of experience.

But as Cicada said, this is an entry-level position. You should be able to fit five years or less of experience on one page, and if you've got more than that, you're probably overqualified and shouldn't be sending us your resume.

Audrey said...

Cicada, you are so right.

Regarding APs and missions on resumes, I second what Abby said. Most returned missionaries will end up working outside Utah at some point in their lives, and there comes a time when you have to reconsider the inclusion of the mission on your resume at all. Of course for the person who served it may have been the most important and influential 18 months or two years of your life, but most non-Mormons will not see it as such. Also, by the time you're old enough to have enough professional experience that you're struggling to fit the resume to one page, cut the mission out entirely so that you can keep information that is career-relevant.

Unless of course your mission is in some way career-relevant (again, like Abby said). Say, for instance, you're applying for a language-related job and an explanation of how you became fluent is necessary. Example: I'm a Spanish teacher so I have a section called "Foreign Residence" where I explain the locations I have lived abroad and for how long, and my level of fluency in the languages spoken in those places. It's not only that my potential employer would want to know that I am fluent enough in Spanish to teach it, but also that I have been immersed in the culture and not just visited Cancun on spring break or taken a Berlitz class or something.

I guess what I'm saying is that your resume is your chance to sell yourself in a 10-second page skim, so you should put the best possible spin on the information you have to offer. For my job, it's not so much the gospel teaching or community service I did as a missionary that were important, so I downplay those and focus on the linguistic and cultural aspects. At first it felt kind of dishonest to essentially leave out the meat of my mission, but it really isn't relevant to my job.

Amber said...

Well, this summer is 5 years home from the mish (sick and wrong) so it will disappear completely from my resume. The only reason I put it is so I don't look like I did nothing for 2 years. What do you suggest as far as that goes?

Cicada said...

About GPAs and 2-page resumes and mission experience. I think the biggest factor is simply relevance. So if GPA is relevant to the job you're applying for, then certainly include it. If you have enough relevant experience that takes you beyond one page, then include it (with caution). If your mission is relevant to your job (if you're applying to be a teacher, or if you're showing language skills, etc.), then by all means include it.

As for accounting for time... Again this is just totally personal, but when I'm looking over resumes, I don't go adding up the dates. It's enough to wade through all the information and make sure it's a fit. You're asking too much of me if you really want me to add up the dates and search for gaps in time. Unless there's something really obvious, then I won't even think about it. If there were something I was concerned about regarding time, but the rest of your resume shows you have the experience I'm looking for, then I'd just resolve my question in an interview with you. (Not that I'm the one in charge of hiring anyway. I just get to participate in the process, and I really enjoy it.)

girl with freckles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
girl with freckles said...

You know, I really don't think we've given enough attention to the horseback riding skills. At my job in Provo, that is the number one thing we look for. Also, you get bonus points if you have a big picture of your cat. On the subject of applications, why not take a look at this one for a graduate program in public health?

http://achaquejourmaphoto.blogspot.com/2008/05/hmm.html

Yes, real. I took it myself in stealth mode.