Saturday, January 28, 2012

Things that make me say NO

I am an HR practitioner.  Sounds like an introduction in a self-help group.  But I work every day with people, and stuff, and resumes, and questions.  The resume thing, it's a tricky, sticky wicket.

I am not a professional resume writer.  And I am usually pretty tolerant of styles and formats given that there are no ISO standards for resumes.  I give applicants the benefit - and latitude - when reviewing them but I have to say, there are some immediate turnoffs.

Let me share.

1. Odd, peculiar fonts.  Differing sizes.  Hard to read stuff.  Keep it clean.
2. An AOL email. Unless of course, you work for AOL.  Come on, it's 2012.  Get a GMail account.  It looks like you might still be using "keyword searches" on the internets.
3. The declaration that, "I am a perfect fit."  Don't say that.  If I don't know, you don't know.  It's my job to figure out the right fit. Don't tell me how to do my job.
4. Closing with, "I will follow up."  If you write that, you better follow up.  Don't write that because I don't have time to answer your inquiry. So take that out. But if you decide to keep it in, and you DON'T follow up, that's not good. I keep track.
5. Don't include a cover letter from another job.  And while on the topic, if you have a resume done professionally, make sure -REALLY MAKE SURE- that your cover letter is written as well as your resume.  Can't even begin to count the number of well done resumes with some of the worst cover letters in the history of time.  It makes you stand out.  And not in a good way.
6. Typos.  You just can't have them.  You have to spell names correctly.  You have to check word for word.  Had an applicant forget the L in public.  It made us laugh.
7. Despite receiving well-intentioned advice from so-called experts, DO NOT include pictures of you, your family, your mother, or your dog on the resume. DO NOT.  Really.  It isn't relevant and it looks awful.  I am embarrassed for you if you do this.  It speaks to your filter.
8. Don't include your spouse's name, your kids' names and ages, and your age.  I do not want to know how old you are.  I want to know if you can do the job.
9. Tell the Truth with a capital T.  Don't lie on your resume.  Can you believe that I have to write this?
10. My biggest pet peeve?  DEAR SIRS.   News flash.  Women hire too.  Lots of women.  I have never, for the record, seen a woman write DEAR SIRS.   So there.

Keep on keeping on.


Mary Jo said...

I, too, practice HR. We require an application as well as a resume, so that it is easy for us to compare histories (same format for all candidates), and so that we have a signed release to check applicant references. Some people leave parts of the application blank, writing, "See resume." If you are too lazy to fill out an application form, you are too lazy to work for us!

Unknown said...

I tend to say NO when I read blog posts that are so US centric that I get afraid. Some of the advice are really just for US. Some of them are handled the opposite in the rest of the world (where almost 6 billion people live). (oh and any mistakes in my comment might be because english is not my first language, like the majority of the population on this blue ball)

Deirdre Honner said...

Mary Jo - another great point! I get that too and it's an immediate NO.

Unknown, thanks for stopping by. Given that I was 1) born in the US 2) live in the US and 3) work in the US, I am really only qualified to write about US work-related stuff.

If you are applying for work at a US company, regardless of your primary /secondary language, your submission has to be right. It might nice for you to write a counter to this post - what in my post doesn't apply to the rest of the world?

Christian Almgren said...

HI, Unknown here. Don’t know why they did that. I signed in with Google account. Strange. But anyway. In some parts an application without photo is suspicious, what are they trying to hide, same thing if you withhold age.

Deirdre Honner said...

On some of our international applicants (for our faculty positions) I have seen pictures. What I am taking about here is for the general applicant population where it is not encouraged as some employers may use it to discriminate.

It's interesting from this that video resumes are starting to make an appearance here in the US. That might add a different level of complexity to hiring!

Thanks so much for your comments. It's nice to see a non-US perspective. Do you write a blog?

Christian Almgren said...

Thanks Deirdre, and I did not want to be rude ( I see my first comment was not so well worded).

I do blog, click on my name to get to it.


Trish said...
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