Jun 15 2009

It’s the little things that get you noticed

Published by at 8:46 pm under General

Over at the Information Security Leaders they posted about resumes and how the little things may not seem important to you but may be the thing that looses you the next job opportunity you’re looking for.  You know, the little things, like running a spell checker on your resume before you send it out or making sure your your verbiage is correct and the spacing between paragraphs is right.  It’s amazing how many people forget to do these simple things that are so glaringly obvious to the people who are reviewing the resumes.  The thing to remember is that the people who review resumes are looking for reasons to throw out as many resumes as possible before they really get down to the nuts and bolts of seeing who’s left in the stack and if they actually qualify for the position.  I remember when most resumes were still sent on paper and people sent resumes on odd color or outsized paper in order to get noticed.  Those resumes got noticed for certain, but it was because it was another one of those things HR departments use to filter out the resumes they won’t bother reading.

One of the things that many people fail to remember is that critical review doesn’t stop once your resume has been handed off to the hiring manager or even once you have the job.  The small things we do on a daily basis accumulate to become our reputation, often even more than the big events in our life do.  Being on time, being clean cut and neat, being the guy how always has something nice to say in the morning are all positive factors; being the guy who never does anything outside his job description, never stays late or just has a bad attitude whether it’s Monday before the first cup of coffee or Friday before the first beer all reflect negatively on you.  I’ve been every one of those people at one time in my career, and you probably will be too.  Even if you think people don’t notice, there’s always someone who’s watching and tabulating your ‘reputation score’.  They may not even be aware of it themselves, but that day you sneak out early is the day your co-worker thinks “There’s Martin leaving early.  Again.”  He may not have consciously realized he’d seen you leave early before, but it registered where it’s important.

Most of us aren’t thinking about our reputation when we’re writing our resumes, but it’s vital that we realize that the resume is the first step in building what could be the next step in our professional reputation.  A sloppy, poorly formatted, misspelled resume may get you a job eventually, but it’s a negative momentum that has to be overcome in the hiring process rather than a tool to showcase your talents and strengths.  And when you’re at the level of  ‘just let me get the interview’ even a little bit of negative momentum is often too much to overcome to get your next job.

I hate writing resumes.  I’m good at it, but I absolutely hate categorizing and listing my strengths and talents.  I’ve had basically the same resume for five years because of it.  But I have made absolutely certain that there are no typo’s, that the formatting is correct and the important facts are clearly laid out and easy to see.  I have a spare page in my ‘draft’ resume that’s nothing but bullet points I can use to replace the ones on my resume to craft the resume for the next job I submit the resume for.  It’s not sexy, it’s not fun and writing a resume will never be something I enjoy.  But as much as I hate resume writing, it’s all to often the only way I’ve been able to go from being a faceless name on a page to having the coveted title of ’employee’.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “It’s the little things that get you noticed”

  1. Anon O Misson 19 Jun 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Interesting article to mix in with your others. One key thing you forgot to mention (if you agree), resumes should be one page and in a standard font like ‘Times New Roman’. Period. No pictures, no funny formatting, etc. My standing resume is always one page and as time goes on its gets a little more difficult to update, but I still manage to keep it at one page. Granted you’ll have to be creative on how to get the point you really want to make across, but it is possible. Another thing I do (at the top) is list my name, address, etc. and a web link. That way if they really want more info (and they actually noticed the URL), it links to an on-line interactive resume that is a lot longer than one page (of course that web page also includes a link to download the original – in multiple formats). As always, take caution in what you put on-line and who you allow to see it. One thing that I see frequently and is quite bothersome are resumes that are 2+ pages. Save the extra writing for the interview…

  2. Martinon 19 Jun 2009 at 3:11 pm

    No, actually, I don’t agree that resumes should be kept to one page. Mines been two pages for forever and I don’t even want to think about what I’d have to do to get it down to one page. I do agree that contact information needs to be at the top, though. One of my pet peeves has always been people who don’t put anyway to contact them on their resume (round file it). Another peeve is “References upon request”; of course you’ll give an employer a reference if asked, that’s a given if you want the job.

    By the way, I’ve never had to actually write during an interview, other than filling out paperwork.

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