Friday, November 2, 2012

Bloopers, Resumes and Cover Letters

Hi, folks; it's time for another bloopers file! Here are six mistakes that (of course) you will never, ever make. Some additional thoughts:

Item 6 deals with choosing the correct gender-inflected honorific for a cover letter: is it Mr. or Ms? I'm so happy that the academic title "Dr." has done away with that issue! But if the first name is ambiguous, and you must pick how do you tell? One way: google that name--see if you can find some gender-related pronouns connected to the individual you'll be addressing. Or search around on LinkedIn or other social media.

Item 5 deals with diction. You want to avoid writing a formal letter or resume as if they were text messages. Likewise, you want to avoid slang and cliches. It's the same principle as avoiding misspellings and grammar gaffes. If you cannot impress a prospective employer when you are making your best effort, then how can that employer trust you to impress his or her customers?

Item 1 is about taking your time before hitting the "submit" button when you're applying online. Before you attach any computer documents to an online application, you might want to corral final draft materials in their own folder, and triple check that these are actually the "final draft" materials. 

Another thought: consider your reader with any attachment files' titles. It's a real pain to have to open a gazillion or more files that all have the same title: "resume." Unless you receive specific instructions, you will probably make a better impression by attaching your name to documents: <Smith, Resume> or some such.

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