04 March, 2008

Tips for Resume Writing

My job is in the market for a new sales rep. I have had the pleasure of reading the 4,000 resumes that poured into our office after placing the ad.

At first, I was pissed that I had to take the first crack at weeding through them. But then, about 20 resumes in, I had a revelation.

Reading resumes is fun. Lots of fun.

So here are my tips for resume writing, after having read 4,000. Enjoy.

1. Apply to appropriate jobs. If a company requests 3-5 years of experience, they do not want someone who has been selling for 30 years. We probably can't afford you. We also don't want someone fresh out of high school. We probably can't afford to take the time to train you from scratch.

FOR EXAMPLE: We want a sales person. 3-5 years of experience opening doors and cold calling. If you are a 19 year old who has been a PEANUT PICKER for the past 5 years, you probably need to look elsewhere. Come. On.

2. Work on your wording. Look, we have all fluffed up our jobs. We all know that "Two years of face to face customer service in the food services industry" means you were a server at TGI Friday's. That's fine, no prob, you get points for putting forth effort. But if you are going to put forth the effort, at least make sure to sound intelligent.

FOR EXAMPLE: "Keeping people alive while having fun" as a description for a river guide only serves to make me laugh, put your resume aside and move on. And later, blog about it.

3. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread. Come on, now. You may not be good at grammar or spelling, but these days, most word processors have spell and grammar checks built in, no? And if you don't have access to this, have someone smart look at it. Common sense!

FOR EXAMPLE: You want to "join" a company, not "joint" a company.

4. Highlight the skills you have that the company is actually looking for. You may very well have many, many skills. But you just can't turn in an 18-page resume. So keep it to one page and put the most applicable skills on this version of your resume.

FOR EXAMPLE: A sales job is most likely looking for a "people person." Someone who can get on the phone, talk to people easily, and, well.....sell. A sales job is probably NOT looking for someone whose only highlighted skill is being "an accurate and rapid keyboarder."

5. If you are in the market for a new job, know that hiring managers know how to look you up on Myspace and Facebook. No explanation needed.

FOR EXAMPLE: Having the headline "The baddest bitch and the worst hurricane" does not look professional. Especially if your name is Katrina.

6. Be willing to actually accept a job you apply for.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you live in Niceville, Florida and will not relocate, do not apply for a job in North Georgia.

7. Know who will be reading your resume.

FOR EXAMPLE: If a girl's name is clearly listed as the "Send To" person, do not address your letter to "Dear Sirs." No matter how good your resume is, that will only make me throw it away, because you are old fashioned and a womanizer.

8. Don't be stupid. This one goes quite well with number three.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you graduated high school in 1997 and college in 2002, you are probably now around the age of 29. So I know when you say that you worked for Ameriprise Financial from 1904 to 1906, you are probably stupid and did not proofread.

9. Have some common sense. And be prepared to answer questions that will arise.

FOR EXAMPLE: If there is a substantial gap in between jobs with no explanation (raising children, medical issue, caring for elderly parents, etc.), I KNOW YOU WERE IN PRISON.

This has been a public service announcement.


Fianna said...

I, too, am on the resume reading mission. I also have to be all dressy today because we have our first round of interviews. Weeee... I hate that portion of my job.

I love your tips, because they are so true! I am going to smile a bit bigger today when I read the 351st resume from a law school student when the ad said grad, and from those in environmental work when my firm clubs baby seals.

Good times.

Sauntering Soul said...

At my last law firm we received a resume that was kind of interesting. She included as part of her job history that she had been a "temptress" on that show where they put couples on an island and tried to tempt them to be unfaithful to their significant others. Shockingly, she didn't get the job.