You spent hours digging into your work history and crafting the perfect resume. Your references are prepared to share glowing reports of your work ethic and attention to detail. But you have applied to several job openings, and your phone is not ringing. What gives?
Absent cover letter
Take the initiative and include a cover letter even if the ad does not specify that you should send one. Find out the hiring manager’s name through LinkedIn and address them personally in the letter. Keep your letter short and to the point, hitting the highlights of your qualifications and include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
You want your resume to be as easy as possible to read. Make sure to send it in a format that anyone can open, read, and pass along to others in the company. The best method is to save your resume as a PDF, renaming the file with your name (ex: JohnSmithResume.pdf) and sending it as an attachment.
Choose a clean layout with bullet points highlighting your role and accomplishments. Note: If you are pursuing a creative role, use your best judgment in this area. But for most jobs, err on the side of caution and good taste. Let your accomplishments be the focal point of your resume.
A resume that is riddled with errors shows overconfidence and carelessness. Remember that spell-check does not always catch duplicate or substitute words. Have someone else proofread it or read it aloud to yourself before hitting “send.” Be sure to spell-check your cover letter and email as well.
Your resume should present a clear snapshot of your career, so look for anything that muddies the picture. For example, your resume is not the place to show off your command of the language. Choose words that best communicate what you have done and remove any acronyms, adjectives, and unnecessary words that slow down processing.
While you do not want unexplained gaps in your work history, your resume should not tell the story of your life either. Limit the length to one or two pages at the most, and only list relevant work experience and the results of what you have accomplished. Leave out extracurricular activities that simply add more noise. A succinct resume will show that you can focus on what matters.
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