I’m thinking back to the thousands of resumés I have seen over the years about several that doomed the applicant from the time it was received. The impression one makes with a resumé is critical. Standing out in a crowd can be difficult. Fundamentally, the resumé should be well structured, organized, and easy to read. Beyond that, one thing that kills the applicant’s chances of employment is a typo, or several of them. We have seen many examples of resumé typos; it is hard to imagine how many applicants fail to proof their work. It can be difficult to proof one’s own work to eliminate typos, but getting someone, or several someones, to review a resumé seems fundamental. Typos say “my work ethic is weak” or “I am sloppy.” In our world, where we don’t want to give critics (our clients) the opportunity to complain about typos and, therefore, spend considerable time proof reading and re-reading reports and important letters, a resumé typo sends a message that the applicant is not a good addition to the proofreading team, and maybe, not the team at all if the typos or errors are numerous, regardless of the position. Another error is misaddressing the recipient of the cover letter (or email). “Dear Ms. Pigott” is probably about as far as Melissa will read. In today’s world where researching a potential employer is relatively easy, not comprehending that she is not “Ms.”, but rather “Dr.” does not bode well for the applicant. And, one more seemingly minor item – “cute” email addresses. We’ve seen “witty” email address that were inappropriate, to us, like “email@example.com” or, “firstname.lastname@example.org”. (Actual addresses not used to protect the guilty – these are approximations.) The message from these applicants is clear to us – “I’m unprofessional I and don’t care what you think about me.” These may be pet peeves, but, applicants beware. Little details get noticed.
One’s resumé (or in the case of someone like me, one’s curriculum vita) should be a concise overview of one’s professional career and accomplishments. However, due to the fact that things other than mere words can convey important information about a person, attention to detail when preparing one’s resumé is essential. For example, a resumé that contains multiple typographical errors conveys to the prospective employer that the person sending the resumé in fulfillment of requirements for applying for a job is sloppy, careless, and unconcerned with the impression he/she is making on the prospective employer. Why, might I ask, would anyone who is trying to impress a potential employer regarding his/her ability to perform all of the necessary tasks of the job waste time sending a poorly written resumé? What is the purpose of doing so, other than wasting everyone’s time? In addition to a carefully prepared resumé, the cover letter that accompanies it must be worded appropriately, with sufficient elements to capture the attention of the prospective employer, keeping in mind that one’s resumé is being reviewed along with numerous others sent by people who are competing for the same desired job. Furthermore, David is correct. If I am ever sent a resumé with a cover letter that begins, “Dear Ms. Pigott,” I read no further because I haven’t been “Ms. Pigott” since July 8, 1984. I also agree with David about cute email addresses. If a job applicant wants to be cute about his/her email address, we need proceed no further. (I suggest having 2 email addresses, a “cute” one for personal use and another bland one for professional use, if someone insists on email addresses containing things a prospective employer might perceive negatively.) Overall, the important point to remember is that one’s resumé is an important part of the job search process, and to be effective, it must be well prepared, error free, and worded in a way to capture a prospective employer’s attention.