by R.C. Miessler, Head Editor, INALJ Indiana
previously published 3/5/13
Applying for jobs isn’t fun
Applying for jobs isn’t fun. Everyone has advice to give that supersedes what everyone else has to say about finding a job. And there’s the stress of filling out applications and waiting. And then, even worse than the “We’re Sorry” form email, there ‘s the silent abyss that job applications seem to go into and never return, with no updates or rejection to provide some closure on the hours you spent crafting that cover letter and resume for that position.
That being said, hiring kind of sucks too. Sure, you get to meet new people, hopefully finding that one diamond in the rough who’s going to bring a ton of energy and new ideas. But a lot of it is slogging through a pile of resumes and cover letters (that is, if you even get one), and wondering if anyone bothered to read the job description. Interviews take a lot of time, and then you find out the one perfect person for the job was just using this as leverage for more money elsewhere.
I’ve been on both sides of the desk when it comes to hiring and applying for jobs, and it’s not any easier when sending out applications this go around. However, one thing I’ve learned throughout both my hiring and applying experiences is that there is no “right” way to do a resume or CV, although there are plenty of ways to do it very poorly. Every hiring manager has a preference, and there are some good practices to follow, but in the end, your resume/CV is a reflection of who YOU are professionally. I’ve asked many people to review my resumes, and there’s usually something that one person loves and another person hates. I’ve taken some of the advice and ignored some of it. In the end, I created a document that represents me, my experience and my qualifications. If someone refuses to read my resume because it is two pages or because I put my education before my work experience, then I probably didn’t want to work for them anyway. I never refused to consider someone for a position because of a spelling or grammar error, or because they were probably a bit too “creative” with their resume design (although using Comic Sans as your font might change my mind). Perhaps that put me in the minority of hiring managers, but I always felt that if someone took the time and interest in the job, then I at least owed them a read through of what they submitted to me.
On a final note regarding resumes, there needs to be a special circle of Hell (or pick your own favorite place of eternal punishment) for the developers of job application sites. There are a few good ones, I’ll admit, but the ones that require you to paste a plain text resume in addition to uploading a PDF or Word document drive me nuts. It’s always a good idea to maintain a plain text resume in .txt format that can be easily pasted into a 1 inch by 1 inch square just to satisfy the whims of some sadistic programmer.