Monday, May 16, 2011

Turning Tides: Resume Reading

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl found herself, last week in an odd position. She found herself being the person on the resume receiving and reading side of things. As you well know, your MatchGirl was unemployed for a year and a half, during the height of the recession, and sent out hundreds and thousands of resumes herself.

So. after having posted the position, only to one place, I sat back and waited for the resumes to roll in. And roll in they did. Hundreds. Seriously. Hundreds.

Now, you might think that if you received hundreds of resumes that you would not take the time to read them all - to look through all those cover letters and open all those MS Word attachments. But I did. I did because it's the right thing to do. I did because you never know who you will fin in the 60th or in the 150th resume. Just because someone is fast on the submit button doesn't mean they're the right fit for the job, after all.

Here are some tips, though, dear ones, for those of you still unemployed. For there were some major fails in the piles and piles of resumes and cover letters that I received.

°Formatting still matters. I don't care what the other websites say. You never know who will be reading your resume and you need to lay it out nicely, and to have the information be relevant. I promise. It's important.

°If there is a salary advertised in the post, don't send a cover letter with a salary requirement that's higher than the cap. Seriously. I cannot tell you how many cover letters I read through with salary requirements not only a bit about the advertised high end, but $10 to $15K higher. Gentle readers, you are all a lot smarter than the average bear, so this is probably a "duh" to you, but in this day and age, with the economy as it is, there is no way that you can do this. I promise there is someone who will require a salary within the advertised amount who can do the job just as well, if not better. Also, since they are less conceited, they'll probably be a lot more fun to work with.

°Use proper grammar and salutations in your cover letter, and when the person's name is listed in the job posting, address it to them! One second of research will get you so much further than copying and pasting your rote cover letter - dress it up, even just a little bit, if you want to get your foot in the door!

°Include an email address. Maybe another "duh", but we received several resumes with no email addresses included. If you want to work with/for me, why are you making my life harder?

I think that I read these cover letters and resumes with a softer eye than my colleague may have. Because unemployment, though over a year ago, was really just a minute ago in the grand scheme of my life. And I know how very frustrating it is to apply for job after job after job. And how demoralizing it is not not hear back. So I wanted to take my time and judge these cover letters and resumes with the eye of hiring the right person and reading between the lines to find them.

We start interviews this week and I'm excited and nervous to see how they go. At the end, there is only one position and we can only hire one person for it. And then I'll be the one to give the good news ... and the bad.

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