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August 04, 2010


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I think that #5 applies very strongly when applying for a technical job where it's nearly impossible to have experience in every technology in the hiring company's platform. You'll need to explain how your expertise in technology X will translate to technology Y that they're using. I think that this would be true in sales as well; if you've sold cogs at Cogswell then you should be able to demostrate that you can sell sprockets at Spacely.

During my senior year of college I was in the very interesting position where I was collecting resumes for a company I had been interning with over the past 3 years while also narrowing down jobs myself. I'm sure resume norms very between fields (I'm technical) but I would also like to add:

-Keep your resume to a single page, generally people will barely glance at your resume, it is the gateway to an interview
-Formatting is often overlooked and this goes hand in hand with #3. On the opposite end of the spectrum, having a bunch of extra fluff and flourish will probably get you labeled as unprofessional as opposed to making you stand out.

I disagree with 6 being on the list as I don't think it leads to ruin. Maybe its just my experience in the technical field but I have landed plenty of jobs without a cover letter, so use your best judgment and knowledge of the company/field you're applying to.

I think the confusion with #5 and #6 is that they're double negative. I believe the list is saying not including a cover letter and not explaining how past experience translates are ways to ruin your resume.

Only a few of these are actual mistakes you can make on your resume. I, too, am not a fan of mission statements. I guess I'm just not a fan of saying things that should go without saying.

I interview dozens of people per year (and see more resumes than that) and agree with many of these. I want a resume to get me excited about meeting a person. Tell me why you would be a net positive for our company. Tell me why you're great to work with. Tell me why you're well rounded. Tell me how you can make our company money and not be a jerk at the same time. And never include a mission statement. I know you're looking for a job where you can grow and think and have interesting work. Everyone is. (sorry for the rant, but it's really annoying to me...).

Remember, these are 10 things that you shouldn't do. They are saying that not including a cover letter can lead to ruin. In other words, you should include a cover letter!

One way Yahoo and every other generic advice engine ruins their articles about lists:

1. Use one generic list of items as if it applies universally across all jobs/industries.

And usually these lists are geared towards jobs that are people skills jobs. Thats why this one has things like you need a cover letter, and why you have to spend so much time explaining how past experience applies, and why you have to explain how you can help the "client"

As the carpenter man above witnessed and posited, in the technical arenas, most people don't care about cover letters. In fact I have been involved in the hiring process at many different companies. I think I have gotten a few cover letters, but usually I just get the resume. In some of the companies I am sure HR just removed the cover letters before passing on the resumes to the managers (and HR doesn't do any real weeding of resumes before they get to the hiring managers in technical fields cause they have no idea how to assess qualifications or do any weeding unless its a simple rule like X years experience or must list this skill which doesn't have anything to do with the cover letter. HR sure isn't going to be weeding technical people based on how well they wrote a cover letter). My experience is that cover letters are a complete waste of time in a technical field.

And you don't have to explain how your past experience can help. If you worked on the same technology it can help. If not then if you did the same type of tasks/management/experience with different technology it can still translate to experiential knowledge and it can help. If not, someone else is more qualified.

I am sure that may not be true in other fields but then again, all we have here is the one ruinous list that apparently is the grand unification theory of resume errors across all industries.

Places like Yahoo that put out this kind of advice are the K-Mart of advice. It's generic as heck, of limited usefulness, and mostly just a whole lotta crap.

I totally agree with getting rid of the mission statement. I had one on my resume for some time (following the advice of my college's career services) but then read something about getting rid of it. They know why you are applying for the job! Plus it takes up tons of space that you can use to list more accomplishments or jobs.

Yep, my bosses said that Mission Statements actually get people ignored's writing that has no purpose to someone sifting through hundreds of pieces of paper.

hmmm... I'm in a technical field and have always sent a cover letter. The cover letter gives you a chance to elaborate further on how you are a good fit for the job in ways that you can not explain in a standard resume.

My resume is also 2 pages. I had always heard to keep it to one page. But I have found it is more important to have your resume in a well laid out, easy to read format, and it may not be possible to cover your experience, school, etc. in one page.

The higher up a position is, the more I would expect someone to have a longer resume. Also, if you have already been working in your field, I expect your work experience to be featured above your degree. If someone feels their degree is more important that the work they've been doing for the past 10 years, it makes me wonder what they've been doing the past 10 years. I'm not saying leave your education off, just don't feature it front and center the way someone just graduating might do.

Mission statements are so 1990. Today, I don't see why anybody would include a mission statement. Rather, a tailored resume that indicates how you will be a great fit in the job for which you are applying would be a better use of time.

One additional thing to remember is that a great resume alone will not get you a job, and might not get you an interview. Time must also be allocated to networking, in order to obtain interview opportunities, and interview preparation, in order to win a job offer.

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