I’m going to assume you’ve read the first part of this blog post. (Hey, I’m going to also assume you’ve read all the previous posts. And while I’m living my hallucination, I’ll also assume you’re recommending this blog to all your friends and that you will eventually make comments in the provided fields. A guy can dream, right?)
This is a continuation of the obvious, but useful resume elements and interview skills culled from scores of experts in the job search field.
- Don’t make mistakes. Typos will not be tolerated. Don’t use text-message lingo or abbreviations. The hiring manager may in fact be ROTFLMAO…but that won’t help me get the job. BTW: this involves more than just using Spell Checker, which can miss what we in the writing world call "homonyms," which are not songs sung in a gay church! Rule of thumb: It's just plane smart too get it write the first time, or yule never get another chance. (Note: All the words in that previous sentence are spelled correctly, but what a horrible impression I'd make!)
- Pay attention to what’s in Cyber Space. While I may not remember that weekend in South Padre, those picture of me in the grass skirt (commando!) will never be forgotten once they’re posted on my Facebook page. Twitter is fun, but telling the world that I am an “anarchist in training” could hinder my employment chances. The video of my “natural” pool parties on YouTube? Not helpful. (I sometimes wonder if this Blog will come back and bite me on the
ass...oops, no profanity! I'm a communications professional.)
- Check for dangerous “code words.” Hardcore and savvy recruiter can scan a resume to learn a wealth of information about me just from my descriptions in the document. And it may be information I did not intend them to know, so I must look carefully to determine if I’m sending “coded” messages about myself. EXAMPLES: I might think of myself as a “free spirit” while they interpret it as an inability to follow the rules. In their mind, I’m not actually “highly organized and detail-oriented,” I’m inflexible. And while I think I’m “willing to take direction,” they would see that as requiring micro-management.
Side note: Perhaps in today’s climate, I shouldn’t just stop with the obvious. If I’m really serious (and I am!), I might even consider changing my name. EXAMPLES: If my name is something like Homer, who's the first person that springs to mind? Poindexter might sound a bit geeky and Gwendolyn could be seen as pretentious. Gertrude sounds old. Bruce might brand me as…less than masculine. (God forbid!) If my name is Derrick or LaToya, some redneck might think I’m Black.
Any name with a religious connotation should be avoided: Bernie, Esther or Mohammed. Don’t even think of using a name like Raul, JaSing or Ahmed. In fact, if I’m applying for any management position, it might be best to avoid all female names! (Unless I want to get paid less for the same job!)
- Never, never, ever lie! (That includes “artistic license,” hyperbole or exaggeration.) Whether I’m applying for a position as a cashier or a CEO, my resume and interview should be presented with absolute veracity. I don’t have to mention that I can’t make change without the aid of a calculator, but I dare not boast of my advanced calculus abilities. The fact that I opted for a GED is not important, but if I include that I have a MBA from Harvard (with the corresponding online counterfeit diploma), I can get into serious trouble. (Jail time is not a great tradeoff for the tedium of unemployment.)
- Don’t try to be cute or clever. Business is…well, serious business. I'm trying to get hired, not elected "Class Clown." EXAMPLE: One cover letter closed with the sentence "Let's meet so you can 'ohh' and 'ahh' over my amazing personality in addition to my skills and experience." It’s best to learn this important lesson in my job search now…before I’m hired: funny and amusing have no place in corporate America!
Excellent counsel, to be sure. Obvious? Perhaps.
But wait, there's more! (Did that sound like an infomercial?) In our next post, we’ll look at some of the expert insight on the not-so-obvious elements of our presentation.