Common mistakes in the Job Search
As a Certified Resume Writer, I invite prospective clients
to send me their resumes for a free critique. Here are the
most common mistakes I see on their resume, or after I talk
to them about why their current resume isn't working for them.
1. Sending a resume without a cover letter. Every resume must
be accompanied by a cover letter. The cover letter tells the
employer who you are, and what you have to offer. It shows
off your excellent writing skills, and encourages them to
read your resume.
2. Vague, generic resumes that have no clear job objective.
Asking someone in H.R. to find a position that suits you,
means you have no clear direction in life. They don't want
that responsibility and no one should have that kind of authority
over your career. If you're looking for a foot in the door,
say what it is (an entry-level position as an Associate Producer
or Writer in the newsroom). That way your resume will at least
make it to the decision maker rather than the round file.
3. Including your work email address or phone number. Even
if your boss knows you're looking and says it's okay, you're
warning future employers that you conduct your job search
on someone else's time. This is not okay.
4. Email addresses that give too much information. Soccermom@biz.net
or an email address that indicates your age allows someone
to discriminate against you before they even meet you. Choose
a professional email address.
5. Sending out tapes using company labels. Yes, working at
a high profile station is impressive, but stealing company
office labels is not. If you want to use the company logo,
lift it from the website and print your own on your home computer.
6. Job-hunting at your current place of employment. Your phone
calls, email, and internet surfing are usually monitored activities.
And writing your resume on a company computer and saving it
to disk is not free from inspection either. When you send
your resume as an attached document, the first thing future
employers do is check the document Properties. If the software
it was created on is licensed to your employer, then you've
just lost the job.
7. Listing too much experience. Over 25 years' experience
will make you look old and expensive. Instead say "over 15"
and drop those earlier gigs from Scottsbluff in the 70s. List
awards, accomplishments, and memberships from the last 10
8. Improper use of formatting. Think you know Microsoft Word
inside and out? Turn on the formatting button (paragraph symbol
on your tool bar). Are you setting tabs and bullets properly
or are you spacing all over the place?
9. Misspelled words and improper verb tenses. If you're trying
to sell yourself as a journalist, your resume needs to be
easy to understand, error-free, and with correct grammar.
10. Not following up with a thank you note. Always thank the
interviewer for their time and follow up with a thank you
note, even if you're not selected for the position. Courtesy
For a free critique of your resume, email a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week: Questions from the mailbag.