The Richmond Register

August 31, 2013

Effective tips for submitting a resume, cover letter

By Jennifer Napier
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — You have spent a lot of time creating what you thought was a really great resume. It provides the employer with everything YOU think they should know about you.

You listed all of your employers with a description of what you did for each employer. You also listed all of the certifications or licenses you hold, as well as a list of all of the volunteer commitments you’ve participated in. You’ve even assembled a nice list of references.

You found that although you spent a great deal of time crafting what you thought was the perfect resume and cover letter, you still can’t get a job because no one is calling and asking you to schedule an interview. Why?

We live in a world of ever changing technology, and whether you like it or not, even resumes and cover letters can get outdated. What was effective a few years ago may not be as effective now.

The recent recession resulted in a large number of applicants applying for a limited number of jobs. Employers can be extremely selective in screening and hiring because they have a huge number of candidates to pick from.

So, what are some tips and techniques used by successful job search candidates?

The candidates made sure the employer knew exactly which job title they were applying for. They created a functional and categorized resume and used bullet points. They kept their resume to one page.

They tailored their resume and cover letter to meet the employer’s specific needs. They integrated the skills and experiences they possessed and kept them relevant to the available job. They didn’t provide references until asked to do so.

They got their resume into the inbox, or hands, of both the human resources manager and another decision maker for the job, like a hiring manager or direct supervisor. They took the initiative to network and connect with individuals who either worked for the employer or could recommend to the employer to interview them.

They followed-up after they applied to ensure that their resume was received and that the employer knew how interested they were to work there. They did their research on the employer and spent time preparing for an interview BEFORE they ever received the first phone call from the employer.

Why are these techniques so effective?

Employers don’t have the time to read a biography about you, so keep your documents to one page and easy to read. Focus on which relevant skills you have to offer that other candidates may not have.

Also, employers know everyone has access to a computer, whether at home or at a public library, so there is no excuse for submitting generic resumes or not knowing anything about the company.

By taking the initiative to network and follow-up, you'll stand out as dependable and hard working, leaving a good impression on the employer. The better the impression you leave, the more likely you'll get to an interview.