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While preparing to leave my office management job, I handled the hiring process for replacing me. We received about 30 resumes. A good portion of them made me want to cry. People didn’t follow the specific directions I had written in the email, such as not sending a cover letter as requested. On the resumes, layouts were misaligned and inconsistent. I saw more spelling errors and typos than I make in a year. A few people didn’t even introduce themselves in the initial email, merely attaching their resume instead.

During college, I spent a good deal of time working with our campus career center to prepare resumes and cover letters, attending job fairs, and learning about various career paths I may or may not want to take. I know what a resume should look like, and I’ve spent a solid chunk of my time revising mine throughout the years. Sending a resume where you clearly spent less than five minutes throwing random job history onto a page? Not going to get you a job. Here are some tips for submitting an application to a job:

1. Follow all instructions listed on the job posting – All. All of them. Every last one. If they want you to dance in a circle before sending in your application, do it. Here’s why – those instructions are often geared to see if you read thoroughly and can follow directions. When you don’t send me a cover letter after I ask you to, I assume that you either a) cannot read, or b) did not read my entire posting and therefore are not that interested in the job.

2. Have an introduction in your email – Your email application is likely the first introduction these people have to you. Do you really think a preset signature is going to make you stand out of a group of dozens, possibly hundreds of other resumes? Good luck with that.

3. Have a professional voicemail message and email address – This one is pretty obvious. If your email address is buttcrack@aol.com, you’re telling me that you’re too immature for my company. Along the same lines, if your voicemail doesn’t introduce yourself or politely ask me to leave a message, that’s not a good sign.

4. OH MY GOD, PROOFREAD – Seriously. Why is it so difficult to spend a minute rereading your resume and cover letter to make sure that you don’t have any typos or misalignment? This is a reflection of you! When you send me a resume filled with typos, you’re telling me that you’re careless.

5. Tailor your response to the job posting – This one is really important and will make you stand out from your competition who ignores this crucial step of the application process. Many times, your skills will not perfectly align with the job posting, but you can point out the areas where you do fit the job requirements. Talk how you are a great fit for this position based on your skill set and experience.

6. Fix your damn layout – Maybe I’m being harsh here, but there is no reason that you can’t have an aligned, clean resume. No, really. None. If your resume is misaligned, I’m not going to look on it very positively, period, because it shows that you didn’t take the small amount of time necessary to adjust it. And unless you have publications to list, keep it to a page. I’ve played with margins, font size, and white space, but my resume has always been one page.

7. Send documents in a common format with a standard font type – I had one candidate try to send me her information via WordPerfect files. Few computers can open WordPerfect documents and I don’t have the time to download adapters to figure out how to open them. I suggest using Microsoft Word document files (not 2007 document files) or PDF files. You may also be tempted to make your resume stand out by using a funky font style – don’t. Many companies use software with only basic fonts, so they won’t be able to read your resume. Use a standard serif font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana and make your qualifications stand out on their own.

Or you could just write this.

By the way, we did hire somebody – she had a lovely resume, a strong introduction/cover letter, and a very pleasant demeanor. I think she’ll be a great addition to the company.

Do you have any application submission tips?

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Boyfriend was aiming to get a job, but just found out that they’re no longer hiring, so he’s back to square one. I was discussing options with the amazing Kates and she had some helpful advice:

Me: I’m not sure what he’s going to do for work now. He doesn’t love dealing with people.

Kate: He should become an obituary writer. He wont have to deal with people (well he will, but they are dead). And he can write!

Hate people? It’s okay, they’re dead!

Maybe that shouldn’t be his tagline.

Long weekend! Thank you, Memorial Day. Err…and the soldiers. You know, the reason we have Memorial Day. Thank you, soldiers!

Activities I’m doing:

  • Watching movies and TV – I’ve fully embraced this as my relaxation hobby, and now that fellow-movie-aficionado boyfriend has moved home, we’ve been watching movies and shows pretty frequently. It’s been quite enjoyable – not to mention, I’m finally starting to get through some of the shows on my must-watch list.
  • Biking – Now that my bike, Shelby, is home and I have a biking partner, we can finally get out. We haven’t done much yet, but hopefully we’ll start picking it up soon. We did bike eight miles (round trip) down to a park a couple of weeks ago. It was great, but there should be a law that parks have to be built on hills so that when you leave, you’re going downhill all the way.

This is me. Only with less hills and more panting.

  • Going to the gym – Along with biking, boyfriend and I have been going to the gym more frequently. I used to have a decent gym routine set up, but it completely fell apart once I got crazy busy over the winter and I haven’t been able to get back into it yet. Now that boyfriend is coming with, I have incentive to get my butt over there and lift some weights.
  • Decluttering – We’re preparing to host a garage sale at my house, and since boyfriend and I are preparing to move in together soon, we’re looking at our stuff and seeing what we can get rid of. It’s a bit of a process to dig through all of our stuff, but we should get through it over the weekend.

What I’m watching:

  • Arrested Development – Boyfriend and I saw Bridesmaids last weekend (which was decent and worth a theater viewing), where we saw previews for two upcoming movies starring Jason Bateman. That led us to a brief discussion about Jason Bateman’s humorous qualities, which led us to decide that we should watch AD next since I’ve never seen it and boyfriend liked it. Long story short, we’re about to start streaming AD on Netflix.
  • Criminal Minds – Yep. I’m still watching it. Last available season, though.
  • Tron: Legacy – I was kind of curious about this movie when it came out, and boyfriend wanted to see it, so he got Tron in last week so that I could see it. We got Tron: Legacy  in on Wednesday.

Onto this one.

  • Leverage – Turns out season 3 is on Netflix, so I can finally finish watching the later episodes that I missed (and thus, start watching season 4).

What I’m reading:

  • Influence: How women’s soaring economic power will transform our world for the better – This is an interesting topic to me, especially with the ever-prevalent wage gap between genders. Dychtwald talks a bit about how women have been able to prosper in developing countries with just a little sustenance, but she also talks about how women in first-world countries have learned to become highly successful from little as well. I haven’t been able to get into it yet because I suck at reading nonfiction, but it’s the one I’ve started.

On page 4.

  • Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere – This is the one book from the library that I may not get around to before they’re due, but it’s probably the one I should get around to. It’s written by bloggers, which is fantastic, and discusses dieting, body image, and acceptance. Definitely apropos for me.
  • New Day Revolution – I actually wanted to read another book of this author’s, but this was the one my library had on hand. It looks like a fairly interesting book – it discusses how to make small changes in your daily routine that make a big difference. I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s any good.
  • The Succulent Book of Succulence – I’m pseudo reading this. To be fair, I’ve been pseudo reading this book for years. It’s not that it’s a bad book, I just always find myself doing something else. Like most nonfiction, I’m having difficulty staying caught up in the book. Hopefully I’ll pick it up again soon.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • My new job! – I cannot express how excited I am about my upcoming new job! I really admire this organization and their mission. I’m a little nervous about my role as Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator because it’ll be quite a bit challenging, but I’m very excited to see what I can do. I need to be challenged. It’s how I thrive.
  • Garage sale – As I mentioned above, my house is participating in our city’s community-wide garage sale next weekend. We had to drop $20 to participate, but considering that a regular garage sale ad in the local paper is $45 and we get TONS of traffic, it’s definitely worth it. We just have to work our booties off to get it prepared.
  • Getting my new computer – I’ve been hoping to get a new laptop for a while – I’ve had mine for a few years, so it’s got a slow processor and the fan was dying. We’ve solved the fan issue, but it was time, so I finally dropped $700 on a new computer. It’s a Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 and it sounds fabulous. That’s definitely the most money that I’ve spent on any purchase lately, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Hello, new lovely!

  • Shopping with my friend – One of my dear friends is moving to Washington, D.C. in the next few months for a job, so I’m trying to steal as much time with her as I can. She hasn’t been fully introduced to the Mall of America (she’s a native Texan), so we’re going to browse around there and nom on Noodles and Co.’s Wisconsin Mac ‘n Cheese. Yum.

What are your current happenings?

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