30 Hiring Managers Share Some Words Of Advice About Your Resume And Cover Letter When Applying To A Job

Found on AskReddit.

1. Make sure formatting is consistent.

If you use inconsistent spacing, indenting, bulleting, typefaces, font sizes, bolding or italics, it’s a major red flag. I know it seems trivial, but your resume is supposed to be an example of the best work you can accomplish and all of those formatting things (in addition to spelling and grammar) are easy to catch and fix. If it’s sloppy, it looks like you didn’t put much time into your resume and it will make me question how you’ll perform once you actually work at the organization.

Some people have legitimate reasons for lack of experience or gaps in history – there is NO reason for a poorly developed resume.

2. There should never be a screen shot in your job application.

I can’t even count the number of times I have received a resume that is a screen shot from an iPhone of a picture they took of their resume.

You can see their battery power, Wi-Fi signal, everything.

For fucks sake, don’t ever do that.

I usually have an “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore” reaction.

3. A good rule to always follow.

When I was a nightshift security guard one of the day shift employees forgot her resume on the security desk. I got three words for ya:


4. Including a photo is weird.

Don’t add your photo to your resume. I go through 1000’s of resumes and you’d be surprised how many people do this. For some reason, I find it a bit disturbing and odd EDIT: The consensus seems to be this is in fact odd in North America but can be considered normal etiquette in some Asian nations.

5. Start off by simply caring?

When I was a training manager, I once received a “resume” on a paper napkin. Nope.
I want to add that, on another resume, I could clearly tell that the person had used a Microsoft Word template. Yep, you guessed it, the person’s name was “Your Name Here.”

6. They need to see proof of your skills.

My one that I see a lot in IT is just vague knowledge of lots of different subjects, i.e.:

I have lots of programming experience in Java, Excel, HTML, PHP, Photoshop, OneNote, and my w.p.m. is 120.

If you can’t even quantify how you used these skills, how can you expect me to give you a job.

7. A future employer doesn’t care about your religion.

Don’t put your fucking religion on a resume. The people that think this is a good idea are obviously an instant no hire.

8. PDFs are essential.

Please ATTACH as a PDF. I absolutely hate people who copy and paste their resume into the email. Not only does it make you look lazy, but the formatting gets botched on most occasions, and I just get too frustrated to even continue reading.

9. Make your resume easy to find.

If you’re emailing — ‘Firstname Lastname Resume’ should be the name of the file. I can’t quickly look you up if it’s called Resume2014.doc (never do .doc as discussed).

10. Make sure nothing incriminating is lurking on your social media pages.

Lock down your Facebook privacy settings. This is good advice for life in general but definitely important when looking for work. I was the general manager at my last job and I had to go through resumes and set up interviews. The first thing I’d do was look up each person’s Facebook. Changing your name isn’t enough. I’d search your email address and phone number and I found every single person. If they go through your pictures and see a bong or anything else against their company standards, you will not be considered.

11. And make sure your email doesn’t show up on weird places on the Internet either.

Using the same email that links to your porn habits and online dating history where you describe how kinky you are is not a good idea.

12. A lot of jobs in a short period of time is a red flag.

Hi! I am an HR Hiring Rep here…the main red flags are multiple jobs with less than a year. Also… Take your middle school off… Seriously I don’t care about that.

13. Potential employers don’t want to see that they’re just another recipient in a mass email.

Don’t send your resume to me, and a bunch of other companies at the same time in the same email. Bonus points if I see our competitor’s on there. I’m not stupid – I know people are going to send resumes to several companies, but a mass “hire me plz” email just makes the sender look like they don’t give a shit.

14. An easy way to get your resume tossed immediately.

Being demanding in your cover letter is never a good thing.

15. Try to at least appear sane?

I’m in the field of recruitment, so I see things everyday. I could list them off all day long. One example, from today in fact… do not put that your dream job is to be “Ming the Merciless.” I’m afraid I’m all out of fictional super villains. Although in all honesty, I did have a good laugh about it.

16. Or you could try turning the tables on potential employers.

You do realize that you can also do some snooping yourself. Company directories and websites are great for getting info. Once you have name and a face hit the search engine hard. Just as they use these tools against you, you can do the same to them. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s easier to feel empowered when they have all the dirt on you, make it a level playing field. :)

17. There’s no harm in asking for feedback.

Definitely ask how you did in the interview, and you don’t even have to wait until after you leave! You will likely be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer at the end, and after you ask your job related questions, slip in the question…”Would you have any advice for me on interviewing after this meeting?” That question got me my first job out of college actually.

18. A gratuitously long resume is immediately discarded.

I’m not impressed by your 40-page booklet attached to your application and all of your sorority information. I’m not here to read a book about your life, just give me an application with a 1-2 page resume about your qualifications.

19. Double-check the name of the file before you send it in.

If you include an attachment, do not include “final” or “updated” in the file name. Similarly, don’t include something industry- or role-specific, like “sales” or “marketing,” in the file name. All of this makes the reviewer too aware of your behind-the-scenes activity. Use separate folders to organize your versions, instead of relying on the file names. But, do include your own name in the file name.

20. Intuitions are crucial in this field.

If you think someone’s resume sounds too good to be true, you’re probably right.

21. Make your resume as easily accessible as possible.

Combine your Resume and Cover Letter into a single PDF. The fewer the attachments to open, the better. Also PDFs > word docs because you don’t see squiggly lines (grammar, spelling) on the PDFs.

22. And make sure to have a professional-sounding email.

Get a professional email address and move to Google email. Going through IT resumes and someone has AOL or Hotmail – trash. I am not even going to look at your resume if your email address is HotnSassy69@xxxxxxxx the strip club is two miles down the street.

23. Good to know there are still some sexist hiring managers out there!

If I see a degree in the humanities, or something like “women’s studies,” we trash them right quick. Those people have been nothing but trouble, and want to try to weasel out of all the actual work they can. Likewise, if I Google up a potential candidate and see a lot of “feminism” and throwing about “words” like “cismale” and “patriarchy” they simply don’t get the job.

24. Sometimes lying and brow-nosing is painfully transparent.

Don’t do this: “I’ve always wanted to work at (insert pitiful minimum wage job here) its just such a fantastic company.”

It makes you sound overly keen and dishonest. If you want to sound enthusiast simply say, “I will do everything I can to achieve the goals of the company and any targets that are set for me”
But only if it’s true! Don’t say your not lazy then turn out to be incredibly fucking lazy!

Sorry, I hate my job.

25. Don’t shy out on a cover letter, they sometimes make or break a hire.

I don’t do hiring, but I was asked to help find my replacement (I am moving up in the company). Cover letters REALLY make a difference. They can explain why you haven’t worked, ever or recently, and why you want to work at that job. I had to go through 250 resumes and cover letters helped so much. Also, it seemed very odd for people who switched jobs every 3 months with no explanation. And people who just listed the job but zero duties or anything also were passed over easily. I need to know what qualifies you for this place!

26. There’s actually no need to list your phone number.

Don’t list your phone number for any online job outlet. Just write that it’s available upon request. Else you’ll get shitty recruiters calling you during the morning, day and night.

27. If you used some sort of online resume template to make yours, make sure potential employers can’t easily glean this.

Resumes that have clearly been made in some resume maker website that are incomplete hurt me to read. They’ll be pretty normal and then they’ll have sections that weren’t needed that say, “Insert job title here.”

28. Figure out a way to make your resume easily digestible.

NO SPACING is a huge red flag! I know you’re trying to cram your entire life story into one page but please give it some breathing room and not a wall of text.

29. When in doubt, Times New Roman.

Just a little tip here if you use Times New Roman over any other generic font you will appear more formal and refined. This follows over any other subtle styling that makes you appear more professional will make you a stand out over those who use calibri.

30. Spending more time on your resume will pay off.

I’ve read that a creative resume can get you a job interview.

One person as an experiment compiled a standard resume filled with all the facts about their experience. If you looked at it, it looked like a regular resume made in Microsoft Word from a distance. He sent it to 15 different local companies that were hiring, and got back zero responses.

He then made a second resume, which contained a lot of pictures that illustrated his work life from school to his current job. The only standard writing with no pictures to illustrate it was in the center of the resume, with their name and contact information.

He sent that same creative resume out to the exact same 15 companies he sent his earlier resume to. Every single one of those companies contacted him to schedule an interview. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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