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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, 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?


You might be aware that today is my last day in my current role. I’ve been here for 1 1/2 years of bittersweet work, but I am incredibly excited to be joining the team at my new place of employment where I’ll be a Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. It will definitely be a challenging role, especially since I feel a bit rusty, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do together to build awareness for the organization. Anyway, since it’s my last day here, I wanted to spend today’s Truth Thursday contemplating some lessons I’ve learned about work and life.

1. Never sacrifice your own well-being for a job for any reason – Being one who’s never had a lot of money, I’ve been well-accustomed to working multiple jobs to make ends meet. In school, for instance, I once worked three jobs while going to school full time. After school, I also had periods where I worked multiple jobs, and more recently, had days where I went straight from one job to another. Working like this can earn you more money, but I found it significantly diminished my happiness. Nothing, not even money, is a worthwhile enough reason to work yourself to death.

2. Maintain a strong work-life balance – You will hear me proclaim this a lot. I am a huge proponent of work-life balance. While I enjoy working and would work even if I didn’t need to, work-life balance is incredibly important to me as well. I find that it’s a refreshing way to enjoy more of life and still stay connected to my work, which helps me enjoy both aspects of life more thoroughly. And while I want to enjoy my career and the work that I do, it’s unrealistic to expect that my career will give me absolute happiness. Only having a life outside of work can balance out the two sufficiently.

3. Never stop trying to find a career you enjoy – Will I ever find a career that I love? Maybe, maybe not. But I do think it’s realistic to expect that I can find a career I enjoy – even if that means that I try out a few career paths before I settle into one. I haven’t become a veterinarian, an actor, a pastor, an event planner, or a PR gal, but I have taken pieces of each of those roles that I enjoy and try to incorporate those aspects into my work. It is never worthwhile to be stuck in a job that you hate or that makes you feel bad about yourself. It is worth dedicating time and effort into finding a fulfilling job you enjoy.

4. Seize smart opportunities whenever they come your way – Obviously I’m not telling you to make bad decisions, but don’t pass up exciting opportunities just because they seem a little risky. I purposely do not have a solid plan for the next five years because I don’t want to feel stuck on my own set path. I would much rather be open to anything that comes my way, and then I can decide from there if it’s a worthwhile opportunity at that time.

5. Keep your work comrades close – We spend 1/3 of our working years with our coworkers, but many of us know almost nothing about them. Studies have shown that people who have good relationships with their coworkers enjoy work more and work in a more positive environment. I myself have garnered some great relationships thanks to my work at various companies, and many times, these coworkers helped me survive. Try to build close connections with worthwhile comrades and then keep them around if you do leave the company. You won’t be sorry.

What have you learned in regards to work and life?

I decided to steal the lovely Kate’s theme from last week and do this week on rituals. Well, I was going to, and then it kind of snowballed into routines, which is quite similar, right? …right? Well, I suppose this is my routines/rituals post, then.

1. My morning routine – When I get ready for the day, I have the same routine. I might not do the routine immediately if it’s a day off, but if I leave the house, chances are that I’ll be getting ready at some point. If it’s a work day, I do it immediately, so let’s presume it’s a work day: After I turn off my alarm, the first thing I do is love on the kitty (kitty likes to wake up at 6 a.m., but she doesn’t get love until 6:45 a.m. when I wake up). Then I get dressed, go to the bathroom, and feed kitty in random order. Then the real routine starts. I – in this order – brush my hair, brush my teeth, wash my face, pop my birth control pill, get rid of remaining eye makeup that has decorated my undereyes overnight, put on face lotion, put on deodorant, spray perfume, put on makeup, and put on jewelry. Even my makeup has its own order, although this is more for long-lasting hold: Foundation, eye primer (if used), blush, highlighting shadow, eyeshadows, eyeliner, loose powder, mascara, chapstick, lipstick. It’s a routine.

I haven't tried that yet.

2. My get-into-work routine – I have another morning routine – when I get to work, I have a fairly consistent routine. I’m always always the first person in, so I unlock the door, turn on the light, and lock the door behind me (policy). I put my stuff down, take off my coat, turn on my computer, and take my lunch into the back. I put my lunch away, start brewing coffee, and prep my cup with cream. I come back out to my desk, get settled in, and at some point go get my coffee. Occasionally I’ll run out of time at home, so I’ll bring breakfast in. It’s a fairly basic routine that I imagine most people do.

3. Eat food one at a time – Again, I’ve heard of many people eating this way. When I eat a main meal with a few different foods on my plate, I tend to eat one food at a time. As in I’ll eat broccolibroccolbroccoli chickenchickenchickenchicken rice chicken ricericericericerice. I don’t do it intentionally. It’s probably part of the reason that I finish my food so quickly. I also don’t usually think about my food while I’m eating it, which is something I should probably work on. Also, I don’t always eat in this order. I think I’ll get better about eating more intentionally.

I would mix my food, but this would happen and I wouldn't be able to eat at all.

4. My exercise routine – Granted, I haven’t been able to go to the gym for pretty much three months (speech sucked up all of my free time so I froze my account), but I get to start going again! I’m thinking Wednesday. And when I get there, I will warm up for five minutes with a walk/jog on the treadmill, then stretch, then do weight lifting starting with arms, then abs, then legs, then do a cardio. I’m also hoping to up my cardio workouts so that I’ll really exhausting myself. It shouldn’t be too hard – I went for a (at least) 10 mile bike ride with my boyfriend yesterday and I was incredibly exhausted. Out of shape!

5. Listen to a new song or CD again and again until I get sick of it – I don’t listen to the radio. When I’m in the car, I’m always playing music, but I use my iPod, or when that dies, I suffer with a CD that I’m not really into. When I discover new music, therefore, I tend to go a little crazy on it. As in, I listen to a song or favorite new songs on a new CD over and over and over again. Until I get sick of it. In fact, I reach a point when I know that I’m going to get sick of the song soon so I probably should stop listening to it, but I still don’t. I’m just not in the mood to listen to anything else.

I've always loved this picture.

I was going to add the ritual of going to Perkins for french toast with my boyfriend when I visit him, but we actually didn’t do this last weekend. Financial constraints are slowly making that one disappear. *tear*

What are your rituals?

I can’t lie – I LOVED my outfit today! Today was a fairly typical day (although a very interesting phone call took place 🙂 ) at the office, so there wasn’t any special reason to dress up (we dress in business casual with the exception of Fridays, which is jeans day). It was also quite cold out, but I decided to say screw it! I’m dressing up a bit anyway! I did go for my older but warmer knit tights to keep myself warm, though.

Forgive the staircase in the background.

Dressy Open Cardigan Wrap, Maurices (often available in larger sizes in stores – online doesn’t restock)
Blue short-sleeve shirt, Banana Republic (no longer available) – somewhat similar
Skirt, honestly cannot remember – similar
Knit tights, Walmart (no longer available) – similar
Black boots, thrifted – similar
Flapper necklace and Jazz Berry bracelet, Lia Sophia

And the light issues.

I really love the cap sleeves on the cardigan.

I could NOT get a good picture of the necklace when I wasn't wearing it.

Oh, and fresh air makes the kitties go craaaazy.

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