I love to teach the SGR course Hiring the Right People. I am fascinated by the topic and thoroughly enjoy helping participants interview within the boundaries of the law. Sadly, many applicants never make it past resume and/or application submission. Why? Because they do not meticulously scrutinize their resumes, applications, cover letters, etc., prior to submission. Here are some tips for applicants. These tips will also help those who review resumes and applications:
- Watch spelling and grammar errors – Nothing says, “I do not care if I get this job or not” like a spelling or grammatical error. In local government, a misspelled word or grammatical error can be highly detrimental. If you cannot properly execute a resume, how do you expect me to think you can properly execute a business document?
- Copy and paste sparingly – Copying and pasting or using the same cover letter for all applications is a mistake. This practice communicates, “I just need a job. Any job.” This may be challenging since some organizations hide their identity until they cull the first round of candidates. In that case, use statements like, “It sounds like you are searching for an accomplished professional with a passion for customer service.” Restating back what you hear the employer saying communicates, “I thoroughly read the job posting.”
- Provide only what is requested – If the job posting asks for a cover letter and resume, then send a cover letter and resume. Do not attach certifications, photographs, etc. You may think you are helping your cause; but in reality, you are setting your application up for a one-way ticket to the discard pile. If you can’t follow instructions before you work for me, there’s no chance you will work for me.
- Evaluate your email address – While Sogoodlooking@myemail.com may cause your friends to say, “Love your email address,” most employers will say, “Not interested!” This is especially true if you are applying for a professional position. If available, choose an email address that includes your name, or initials, and is as simple as possible. Long emails can fall victim to clerical error.
- Watch your subject line and signature – Do not use subject lines in email submissions like, “Call me!!!!” or “You don’t need to look any further!” If you are willing to be so casual with someone you don’t know, I cringe when thinking about how you will address clients I do know. Use the same rule of thumb when closing an email or cover letter. Do not incorporate symbols, emoticons, favorite quotes, etc. If you get the job, you can customize email within the framework of company policy.
We could spend hours on this topic, but that gets the conversation started. We welcome your insights and questions.
President of Online Learning, Strategic Government Resources
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