I had an instructor in college years ago say that a resume longer than two pages was unprofessional and would be ignored. Most 21 year old students didn’t have enough experiences to fill one page so that wasn’t really a problem for most of us.
There were other rules, too, like margin sizes, typeface styles, appropriate business grammar and so on. Much of that has changed with the new technologies, social networking and the way in which we apply for jobs. But one small fundamental has not. This critical element is so powerful, so essential that not tending to it can have a staggering impact on a job search. This one old trick, if used with rigidity and regularity when drafting a resume will certainly increase its odds of not getting tossed into the reject pile.
Ready for this tip, this must-do pearl of wisdom?
Use your spell checker.
Yes, that’s it. That is the weird old tip.
I read dozens of resumes each week and have for over fifteen years. Most seasoned recruiters will tell you that the typos in resumes are a primary reason the resume is not routed. Recruiters and hiring managers are easily off-put by sloppy resumes. A person who won’t take the time to do something as elementary as push a spell-check key may not be mindful of details on the job.
Your resume is you. It is your representative. It speaks for you. Every word should be scrutinized. Every piece of punctuation should be reviewed. After you’ve completed your draft, run spell-check a few times, pass the resume to others to review. Seek out their comments. You cannot edit or review a resume enough.
Sometimes the most minor thing can make the biggest difference in getting your resume to the next step.
“Ah, Go Bing Yourself…”
I’ll wait. Go to www.bing.com and search for own name. Now do the same at Google.com. Try your name and job title together. Check out your images on Google.
Surprised at what you found? Almost everybody has some searchable information available with just a few clicks. First impressions are everything. Honestly ask yourself what people would think of you if all they had were these data points?
Recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers frequently use this information to “learn” about candidates. They will search using your email address, too. Employers will know a lot about us long before we ever hear from them – if we ever hear from them.
With the resume in the death-rattle stage of its existence, the online profile and other information have become the basis for making next-step recruiting decisions. A person with generous praise in a Linkedin profile as well as a few self-written blog postings related to some aspect of their career may well get plucked from the digital swirl and asked to interview over someone whose online life is only represented by book recommendations and a simple chronological profile on a job social network.
So, to improve your odds of getting the call or email or response regarding a job opportunity, control what you can online. At a minimum review your Linkedin profile every few months and keep it current (do not overdo the recommendation piece… too many can be perceived as desperate or hiding something…) Be sure you have a photo on Linkedin. A good quality image works best. Reply to questions people post on Linkedin or ask your own. Keeps you visible. Make sure that the keywords relevant to your career are in your profile and position summaries.
More importantly, if you can write clearly, make an effort to respond to blog postings in your career niche or write a couple guest blogs. Set up a WordPress blog of your own – about you — and make sure your resume is available for download. Review relevant work related books on Amazon.com. Post photos on Instagram — helps tell a bit about who you are versus “what” you are work-wise. Join Meetup.com and find a career or business group near you that shares your interests. Tweet a bit. Make sure your actual resume is current on The Ladders or Monster.com or any career site you use. Recruiters will still ask for and review them, but usually after they’ve already found you. All of this will add to your online image and helps you control the initial impressions about you.
Keeping your online brand fresh is not that hard. Just takes a little effort and the results can be quite positive. Neglecting your online presence can be equally detrimental.