Truth be told: there is no perfect resume. Voilà. I said it. It does not exist. Employers look at different aspects of your resume. Their attention is focused on different factors, depending on the job offer or even their mood!
However, there are common mistakes that put your application at risk. The resume screening is the fastest step in the selection process. When a recruiter opens your resume a second or two are enough to disqualify you.
Before sending an application, complete this checklist. It may seem obvious to you, but you would be surprised how common these mistakes are.
1) Read all the application guidelines specified on the job posting. Always a send resume and cover letter.
2) Put your name and contact info
Yes, it is obvious but you would be shocked to see how often it is being forgotten! They need to be on both your resume and the cover letter.
- First and last Name
- Email address
- VALID phone number
- LinkedIn: only if you are an active user
- CREDIBLE contact info
Also, your phone greetings have to be professional and concise. Once, Sujay, a fellow recruiter (a man in his 50s) called a candidate to schedule an interview for an executive position. The candidate greetings said “Hey you, leave a message only if you’re hot and sexy”. Sujay did not identify as hot and sexy… Guess what, this candidate lost an opportunity.
My tip: Record your voicemail in a quiet room, check your messages at least once a day when job hunting and make sure that your mailbox never gets full!
3) Name your files
Name your resume and cover letter with logic. Get rid of useless information such as the year. ex: Maria Mihami_Cover Letter
My tip: Avoid sending word documents. PDFs are perceived as more professional.
4) Stay consistent
Even if you are not a graphic designer, a clean format is mandatory. Make sure that the font and text sizes are consistent. Use a similar format on your resume and cover letter and a little bit of colour.
My tip: Feature your name and contact info on all pages not only on the 1st page.
5) Spelling mistakes
Take time to proofread your resume several times before submitting it. Typos are not acceptable as they prove a lack of attention to details.
2 pages. No more, no less. This the most common length for resumes.
1 page for cover letter is great. 2 can be accepted. 3 pages will not be read.
The first half of your resume is what matters the most. It needs your name, contact information, highlights of qualifications, and current activity.
We will review the resume in more details another time. For now, go back to your resume and cover letters and go through this check list!