Resume Tips that Separate the Winners from the Losers
1. Use a Professional Email Address
An unprofessional sounding email address will sink your ship before it even sets sail. I can't tell you how many great looking resumes have turned into inter-office jokes because the candidate listed something like "girl2hot4u@yahoo" as their primary email address. With Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and so many others offering free email addresses, there is no reason you can't use a simple, professional sounding address. (Think "Your_Name@Provider.com".) As an added bonus, some of these providers allow you to forward your incoming mail to your regular email box for free; this way you won't be stuck checking multiple email accounts each day.
2. Quantity does not equal Quality
You have 10 jobs listed on your resume, but each has largely the same duties - Server at Applebee's, Server at Olive Garden, Server at Koeck's. The fact is, after you've listed that you "provided excellent customer service for customers" at one job, no one wants to read about how you did the same at all of your other jobs. If you're out there reading this and thinking "but that's what I did, I have to keep saying it," then I'm talking directly to you. (others can move on.)
If your resume is like this, consider instead summarizing your skills in a single section of your resume, then listing your accomplishments at each workplace. There are accomplishments at each. Figure out what they are. Maybe it's "Regularly trusted with closing the restaurant," or "Served as go-to person for billing dispute resolution."
3. Redundant Redundancy is Redundant
4. Most Job Openings Are Not Advertised
It's expensive to advertise a job opening. It's expensive to interview people. It's expensive to hire an unknown. For these reasons and more, the simple fact is that most job openings are not advertised. This is particularly true with support staff type openings (receptionist, secretary, paralegal, assistant, account representative) - in a job where personality is everything, personality tends to win the day.
When these types of jobs become available, most employers fill them by first asking their trusted friends and associates if they know of anyone looking for work. A recommendation at this stage is pure gold - it assures an employer that you have impressed at least one other person, and it helps them to minimize their downside risk. A personal recommendation goes a LONG way.
Let's say you don't have an "in" like this - that's OK. To get these jobs, you need to become a person, not just a piece of paper. The first thing you can do is apply unsolicited. When you encounter a company you'd like to work for, send a letter expressing your interest. Tell them how you noticed them, why you want to work for them, and what you can do for them. Include your resume if appropriate.
5. Get Off Of The Internet
Many employers now have online application mechanisms, and most job seekers have come to use those exclusively. What a great way to get lost in the crowd, to get lumped in with everyone else. A sure-fire way to go unnoticed.
A great way to grab a prospective employer's attention is to send your resume the old fashioned way, on resume paper, via USPS First Class mail. There are a number of potential benefits and nearly zero drawbacks. Instead of going directly into a database, you are guaranteed to have your resume handled by an actual person. Employers know that it's easy as pie to apply to job after job after job online, and will appreciate that you're taking the time to apply via regular mail. Finally, as mentioned in point #4, most job openings are not advertised. Sending a printed copy of your resume allows you to express a more general interest, and it will get youre resume put into a file for future opportunities
Of course, if you're concerned about bucking the trend, use the "other" way too - go ahead and apply using the cumbersome online application - but be sure to send your resume on a dead tree, too.
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