My company is growing (Yea!) and due to that so are my employee numbers. Being a desirable software company means sifting through a lot of resumes to find suitable candidates and I must say that I am shocked by what I am seeing! The complete lack of attention to detail and professionalism in that first impression is sure to guarantee that I hit 'delete' and end your opportunity. Since I am confident that there are candidates out there who are capable and interested in obtaining employment, I've compiled the following list of suggestions to keep you in my inbox and get you an interview request.
Read the job description
If I had a dollar for every telecommuting resume I've received for a position that clearly states "mandatory in-house 40-hours per week" or an entry level resume for a Director of Sales with "minimum 5 - 7 years experience in this field", I could have retired by now. And no, your experience implementing a Visual Basic photo gallery does NOT qualify you to write a custom, production-quality server in Node.js. Although I commend you for attempting to better yourself, you better present a strong value proposition if you don't clearly meet the 'requirements' of the job, you know, since they are called 'requirements'.
It's really about me
Ok, I know this one sounds narcissistic but it's true and that's where your value proposition comes in. I want to know why I should hire you and what value you bring to the company. Although I may be impressed by your past achievements, they are merely that, the past. I'm interested in the future and how you are going to contribute to the growth of my company moving forward so make sure that you are focused on ME right from the cover letter and career objective statement. One of my favorite resume objective statements was "I am seeking employment with your company because I am currently unemployed." Hmmmm, I suspect you will be living up to that statement for a while!
Typos and grammar matter big time
I assure you that your first impression will not go well if you do any of the following:
1. Misspell ANYTHING in your introductory letter and resume. One typo that entertains me to this day is the individual who claimed that they were a 'superior proof reader' only to spell it "proff reader". Yes, a true story!
2. If your cover letter is addressed to another person and references your desire to work for a company other than my own. Yes, another true story that occurs frequently!
3. Your introductory letter and resume include incomplete sentences, slang phrases or other content that would make your elementary school writing teacher cringe.
Seriously, do it now and see what I will see when I do exactly the same. Although I may have limited access to what I see on your social channels, I will see enough to give me a strong impression of who you are. If you don't want me to see the profile photo of you doing body shots off a stripper in Cancun, I suggest you replace it BEFORE submitting your resume.
A little initiative please
Congratulations! I'm calling you to schedule an interview! Wait. You aren't familiar with our company? You are asking me "What is the position I am interviewing for?" or "Can we do a phone interview because I don't want to drive the 20-minutes across the lake." Ouch. That interview request has just been withdrawn.
We're on the same team
You and I have mutually beneficial needs - I want to hire you and you want me to hire you. The important thing to remember is that I am evaluating the entire package that you are selling leading up to your interview and that includes your cover letter, resume, online presence and all email and telephone correspondence. Take the time to present yourself as the outstanding professional that you surely are and we'll be sitting face to face before you know it!
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.