Friday, June 15, 2007

Resume Pet Peeves

With the popularity and ease of use provided by online recruiting sites like CareerBuilder and Monster, recruiters at large companies can be left feeling as though they see thousands of resumes each day. Here are a few of my personal pet peeves when reading resumes and cover letters:
  • Generic cover letters. Many job seekers will write something to the extent, "I am responding to the position posted..." leaving me thinking, "WHICH POSITION!"
  • Cover letters that acknowledge a lack of qualifications and provide a concession. Never, never say anything that may lead a recruiter to believe you are not qualified for the position. The point of a resume is to sell your qualifications.
  • An implied sense of expectancy. Statements like, "I look forward to hearing from you to schedule an interview" just rub me the wrong way. It is the job of the recruiter, after all, to determine if you are worthy of an interview.
  • Very, very long resumes. You have probably heard to keep your resume to one page. Please do not submit seven pages of projects, publications, and past work experience. All that can be provided, if requested.
  • Resumes without pertinent information. I understand a desire to maintain some sense of privacy, but there is certain information a recruiter needs to set up an interview. Yes, I have received resumes without a name. No, those candidates did not make it past my initial screening.
  • Resumes with too many methods of contact lead to information overload when resumes are parsed by database software. You only need to include the best way for a recruiter to contact you. A phone number with an answering machine and email is usually sufficient.
  • Contact information provided for past employers and references. I will generally not contact references, including past employers, until I have first spoken with you. This information can further confuse a resume database attempting to extract pertinent information automatically.
  • "References available upon request" I view this as an entirely unnecessary disclaimer, and therefore, one that irks me. References should always be provided when requested by a potential employer, no need to state that up front.
Fix some of these grievances in your resume and cover letter and you may just make a recruiter very happy - it's the first step to getting a call back for an interview.

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