Your resume is not just a listing of your professional experience; it is your brain on paper. A great resume, and I don't mean just the contents of it, can open a door even if you don't exactly have the exact skills that the company is looking for. A sloppy resume will slam that same door shut -- even if your experience is exactly aligned with the available position.
Resumes and cover letters are the first line of attack for a company to thin out the crowd. If you overlook a mistake, use poor grammar, don't sell yourself enough or sell yourself too much, you can say hello to the reject pile.
An interviewer can't afford to overlook stupid mistakes on a resume or cover letter. If the hire turns out to have been a bad one, out comes the personnel file, out comes the offending resume, out goes the person who disregarded the obvious problems this hire presented on paper. Long story short: The hiring person can get royally screwed.
Conversely, if a candidate "looked good on paper," and she turns out to be Nightmare Nancy, the person who recommended the hire can point to the strong resume and great presentation and say, "Who could tell from this that this woman was an ax murderer?"
These days, people are whipping off multiple resumes on home computers, each one specifically tailored to the job they seek. Unfortunately, this leads to sloppy resumes on lousy paper with bad presentation and stupid slip-ups.
Whether you have one version of your resume or one thousand, each and every one needs to be proofread by a really good copy-editor or, better still, a professional resume writing service.
Get that resume into shape my friends:
➢ A resume shouldn't be a last-minute proposition. When you slam one together over the weekend, you are bound to make mistakes. And when there is a mistake in your resume, D-O-N-E. More than once, I sent out a resume that said "right" instead of "write." I didn't even realize it until -- much to my humiliation -- some prospective employer pointed it out. Ooops. Early on, my friend M tried to do the multiple resume thing, but it backfired when she sent out a series of them with the following error: "extensive hard-on experience" instead of "hands-on." Freudian slippage happens. But don't let it happen to you, sunshine.
➢ There are lots of resume writers and websites, punch in resume writer on your favorite search engine to find one. Like finding a shrink, though, you might have to work to get a good one, and like a bad shrink, a misguided resume writer can do more harm than good.
➢ Once a year, get your professional writer to give every version of your resume a tune up. I suggest you mark this "to-do" in your calendar on April 16th -- right after you've sent in your income tax and have fresh perspective on just how much you are not making. PS: Resume writers are a tax deduction!
➢ Don't fold your resume. That's like putting on a hot little black cocktail number and throwing a sweatshirt over it. Go out, get a cool little folder with two pockets, put your resume in one side, put your cover letter in the other, and attach a business card with a nifty paperclip. Also, ensure you always have a copy of it in your blackberry and iPhone or whatever device you use if someone needs it digitally. You will look like a pronto pro!
Write me with any good resume stories at Jocelyn@SiderRoad.com