Everyday Career Advice: Are You Sure Your Resume is Perfect?
Every time you speak with someone during your job search the conversation you’re having is an interview. Every email you send is an interview. Every phone call, every introduction and every handshake, these are all interviews. This is important.
I can’t say how many introductory emails I’ve received that are written so poorly or are so full of errors that I can’t help but form an impression of the sender. The impression is not a good one. Considering that spell check is built into to almost every email program or browser, typographical and spelling errors are tough to reconcile. It’s simply attention to detail, which is a very important attribute for any of the jobs on my desk. Someone who hasn’t taken the seconds required to make sure that they have spelled my name correctly (it’s in my email address!), correct basic grammatical errors or at least include punctuation is someone who is not taking this very seriously.
This is not a complaint. From a pure efficiency standpoint, a poorly written email means that I don’t have to continue reading. It saves time to find out so early. It sounds harsh but the question I have to ask is: Will this candidate’s emails to my hiring manager clients be this bad? If they are, it will hurt an already competitive, statistically difficult process and the chances to earn a commission will decrease. As a rule, it isn’t good for me to do anything that will worsen the odds of making a placement. I have to do my best to strive for perfection every time. I don’t show my clients candidates they might hire, I show my clients candidates they will pay to hire. Notice the distinction; it sets the bar pretty high. The fees are not cheap and the value proposition has to be clear. I am not only competing with every other headhunter out there, but also all of the walk-ins, referrals, internals and other “no-fee” candidates. If I want to earn a living I have to be better than all of them. Keep in mind, you might be competing with me, or, if not me, certainly everyone else. Are you ready?
The same is true for resumes. We spent the entire last chapter discussing the formatting and content of a good resume. The fact that there should not be any misspelled words or typographical errors in your resume is implied. It’s not good to spend a lot of time creating a resume only to put it out there with errors.
I value my contact lists similarly. I don’t want to waste valuable time doing research to find good potential contacts only to send them poorly written email. Do you think they are going to give any more leeway than I would when it comes to errors?
How do I avoid this? I write, read, re-write, edit, review and then send. I make notes for calls ahead of time. I make an effort to get to the point quickly, to write crisp and concise emails. I respect the time of the people I’m contacting and I do my best not to make mistakes. The effort required to make sure is smaller than the effort required to do all the preparation work in the first place, and definitely less than what is required to go back and fix an error after the fact.
That’s it, lecture over.
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