I had to go through quite a significant number of resumes the other day, and here are some tips for fresh graduates out there.
- Try to make your resume short. 2-3 pages is just nice, 4 is too many. Skip that section listing your primary school results and hobbies. What good does it make if your hobby is “playing video games”? Unless of course, you’re applying for a Game Developer position.
- Employers take an average of 30 seconds to scan through your resume, make sure yours stands out. Put in more bulleted sections and use bold words wisely.
- Use professional looking email addresses. Consider something using your own name. Something like [email protected] is nice. Also, it’s understandable that popular names are hard to get so you can try putting numbers in the end. It can be your birth year, current year, or just some random number you like for example [email protected]
Avoid these examples:
- [email protected]: too long and hard to read
- [email protected]: employers are still unsure you can do a good job even if you’re cool. Unless of course you’re applying for a showbiz position
- email@example.com: an actual domain offered by a popular mail forwarding service. A big no-no. You get the idea.
- [email protected]: is a freakishly long email address, even if it’s your full name
- The BEST thing to do is create an email address specific for job hunting. Emails are searchable, and employers might find some activity they don’t like from forums or other public sites
- Protect your Facebook page and any other social tools you own. Employers do scour these you know. If you’re sure you have not done anything naughty, it’s fine.
- In your cover letter, do not demand for an answer. Instead of “I hope to be called for an interview as soon as possible” try “I hope to be called for an interview to explain my credentials further“
- When someone has already emailed you to ask for your complete resume, do not use “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN” in your reply email. It’s rude. Use the person’s name be it an HR person or a Technical Manager. Also, do not send an email with empty body and only attach a resume in it.
- Be firm with your answers. Do not use “maybe”, “I think so”, “Errr…”, or “Can you call back later? I am busy with something”. However if you’re driving you should tell the person calling you and ask for a callback. You are no use to any employer if you’re dead.
- If you have bad hand writing just like mine, try your best to write each letter at a time. It’s super easy to confuse an “i” with an “l” or and “l” with a “1” or an “S” with a “5”. When emails get bounced, do you think the employer will try again? Maybe yes, maybe not. Why take chances?
- Talk clearly. Even if you were sleeping, once you realize that you are receiving a call from an employer you should wake up and clear your throat. If you’re in somewhere noisy, consider getting away from the noise source if possible.
- If you really have to include a salary expectation (not recommended for fresh grads), do not put in a range. Put a maximum expectation and discuss with the employer once a real offer is on the table. 2500-5000 does not make any sense as the range is too wide.
- Last but not least, research the company and the position you’re applying for. Get as much information as humanly possible. If you ask “What position am I applying for?” it shows that you’re desperate for a job and are not applying based on your interest in the position. It is okay however, to ask more information about the company.
In summary, when contacted take it as a big opportunity even if you are not a fresh graduate. These days one job opening may have hundreds of applicants, so a simple mistake that annoys employer can mean that your resume and cover letter end up in the shredder. It’s that easy to be disqualified, really.
Always remember that the employer representative communicating with you is a human. That’s the most important thing of all.
Good luck. I hope this helps.