Throughout the year, working with various groups, I am involved in advertising, interviewing and recruiting new paid staff for various roles. This is always a difficult task, and one that I take very seriously. When it comes to receiving the initial applications people send in, there are some things which I love to see, and others that simply bug me.
It may be advisable when sending in your cover letter and resume for a job, to not immediately annoy the person responsible for hiring you.
Here is part one – my list of things not to do, when emailing in your job application. This may be different from what you hear from a recruitment company, who specialises in collecting resumes and putting more names on their books. This is written from me as an employer – the person directly responsible for hiring you.
Things I hate seeing:
1. A very basic resume. When I see a resume which is one page long, and has made little of no effort to custom fit to the role, and no cover letter attached, I get mad. This tells me nothing about you and why you are interested in this job. I immediately class these as time wasters, and they will never get an interview.
2. No cover letter. When I advertise a job position I always request that interested parties email me their resume and address the criteria listed in the job description. There is no point sending me your resume without a cover letter which specifically lists all the criteria I am after for the person in that role, and commenting why you can meet each one of those points. Again, these ones go in the bin.
3. Cover letter embedded into the email. While I do appreciate receiving a cover letter, it always annoys me when it is embedded into the email, and not attached as a separate file. Why? Because the embedded ones show me that you have not taken time to sit down and really think through the criteria I have asked for, but have simply written a quick note into the space provided on the job advertisement website. These cover letters are usually short and never fully address the listed criteria. Also having an embedded cover letter is annoying for me, because I am always busy, and now you have just given me more work to do. Because many people will apply for the jobs I advertise I grab the resumes and cover letters I receive on email, and then save them in a folder, until I have time I review them. Receiving a cover letter which is not an attachment, means that I have to select and copy your letter, open and create and new word document, and then save it with your name on it, before I can store it in my folder. You have made things difficult for me by wasting my time, before we have ever met.
4. Generic file names. When I receive the many job application emails I need to quickly save them to a folder, for later review. So what makes my life easier is a resume labelled clearly with your name and the word ‘resume’ on it. And then if you send a separate cover letter I need your name and the words ‘cover letter’ in the file name. What annoys me is when I get a file named ‘my resume’ or ‘cover letter.’ Everyone’s resume is named ‘resume’ on their own computer. Before you email it to a potential employer, rename it, so that it can be easily filed.
5. Ludicrous Objectives. It is traditional at the top of a resume to put some sort of life objective, which shows your aim in life, or passion for the position. I’m okay with this. I don’t think it’s overly necessary, but I don’t mind it either. What annoys me here is ludicrous statements about your aims and passions which are clearly more sucking up than showing me why you want the job. Things like ‘picking up garbage is my passion’ will not convince me that I should recruit you as my janitor.
6. Irrelevant information. Don’t tell me what I don’t need to hear. When you are applying for a management position, don’t tell me what a fast typing speed you have. I don’t care, because the job doesn’t demand it. If you were applying for an admin or PA position, then that information would be useful. But being able to type fast is not required for a management position. Edit your resume for the position you are applying for.
I hate to be negative here. But this is coming from someone who hires people directly for job positions, and is also very busy all the time. The last thing you want to do is irritate the people responsible for hiring you, before you have even met.
Look out for my list of things I love when receiving job applications.