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Susan Geary CCW is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of 1st RateResumes.
Visit her website at or email her at this link.

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. 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 years.

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 is paramount.

For a free critique of your resume, email a copy to
Next week: Questions from the mailbag.