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Resume Tips and Tricks

Here is a collection of helpful tips for submitting your resume, especially via the Internet. Some are fairly obvious and just reminders, while others are not so obvious, but good to know.

Be meticulous
It’s not a good idea to submit your resume with typos and other mistakes. It implies that you don’t pay attention to details or have poor communication skills. Your resume is your calling card and your very first impression. It requires your utmost attention. You don’t get a second chance.

Use a spell checker or dictionary for all employment-related correspondence, even if you’re just zipping off a quickie email. Avoid cutesy Net stuff, like emoticons (e.g., happy faces), shorthand and acronyms (e.g., u for you and TIA for thanks in advance).

Never type your online resume (employment-related emails, forum posts, chat messages, etc.) in all UPPERCASE characters. The Net-savvy call it shouting and consider it rude. But it’s okay to type all uppercase characters in a limited and useful way, such as for resume headings.

If you have doubts about writing your own resume, hire a resume writing service. Fees range from just a few bucks to critique your resume, up to $200 or more for complete consulting and writing packages, including electronic (“online”) versions of your resume and cover letter. But it’s worth it, if you don’t want to risk trial and error at the expense of no interviews.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer or can’t afford to pay a writing service, consider purchasing relatively-inexpensive resume writing software to make it easier. Some are complete job-searching tools that also help you to

* Job search several job banks at once
* Distribute your resume electronically and track where you’ve sent it
* Write cover letters and other job-related correspondence
* Organize networking contacts and interview appointments
* And even practice interviewing in virtual reality

Keep track of where you submit your resume
This is a good idea, so you

* Don’t submit your resume more than once to the same employer too soon. It makes you look unorganized.
* Know where to go to withdraw or modify your online resume
* Can determine from which resources your best recruiting responses are originating

Besides the URLs, also record your user IDs and passwords for all the job banks and employers’ sites to which you’ve submitted your resume. Some assign them instead of letting you choose your own. This will help you remember which to use where.

Never attach your resume to an email unless specified
With the proliferation of online communications, unfortunately, computer viruses have also proliferated. Because of this major threat, most recipients prefer that you include your resume directly in the body of your email, and not in a file attachment where viruses can hide. If you send resume attachments without permission, recipients may delete your messages before reading them. Some don’t realize that only a few file types can harbor viruses, so they delete all messages that include attachments. Even if you send plain-text (.txt) attachments that can’t harbor viruses, recipients still might delete them without looking first. In other cases, receiving email severs automatically strip off attachments as a security measure. Bottom line is, if recipients don’t specifically request it, don’t do it. Ask first.

There’s no need to send a fancy email resume
It’s not a good idea to send “fancy” email resumes without permission either, such as those written in hypertext markup language (HTML) or with embedded images. Recipients often activate email filters to reject HTML and images, because spammers use them for advertising. Besides, plain ol’ text is the preferred format for email resumes, so there’s no need to get fancy.

Always include a cover letter where feasible
Your cover letter is a significant part of your resume. It’s standard practice to include one and it makes you look professional to do so. Most employers expect you to include cover letters with your resumes, and follow up after interviews with thank you letters.

Update your resume often
This one falls under tricks. Recruiters and employers typically jump on new resumes at job banks and overlook older ones. Online resumes age rapidly. Once responses taper off, perhaps it’s time to update your resume if you haven’t yet landed a job. Doing so at job banks that offer update (edit) options, usually makes it appear as though you’ve submitted a new resume or at least flags it as updated. If you don’t have significant updates, just add, delete or move a word or two.

If responses don’t improve and at job banks that don’t offer update options, withdraw your resume for a few days, then resubmit it.

Submit your resume confidentially if you’re employed
These days, most U.S. corporations recruit via the Internet. So, chances are good that your current employer will see your online resume. If a layoff occurs, guess who’s head might be first on the chopping block?  Many job banks offer privacy options to help you keep your online resume confidential. For example, they may display a code instead of your name, or allow you to deny access to specific companies and recruiters. Look for and use these options.

For job banks that don’t offer such options, it might be better if you don’t submit your resume, but rather just monitor their job opportunities. Then, send your resume straight to the advertising employers and recruiters. Job banks that offer job notification by email make monitoring easy, and lots of job banks offer it.

Protect your privacy
The Internet is wide open and mostly unregulated. Be wary of giving out too much personal information in your online resume or job-bank registration forms, such as your street address, and home and work phone numbers. Natch, job banks need at least your name and email address, so employers and recruiters may contact you. But that’s really all they need to start.

Granted, the more ways you give an interested employer to reach you, the better. But that’s up to you, not the job banks. Many insist on being too nosey, and won’t let you post your resume unless you comply. Forced compliance might mean that they have ulterior motives, such as telemarketing and junk mailings.

Job banks might also redistribute your online resume to job newsgroups, to give you maximum exposure. That’s nice, but it also gives the job banks maximum exposure. Some do so without regard for your privacy and worse, without your permission. While they are useful in your job search, newsgroups are particularly bad when it comes to privacy. Opportunists and con artists use them to capture your personal info, for whatever tricks they have up their sleeves.

There are plenty of job banks from which to choose, so you don’t need to settle for those that insist on too much personal information up front, and indiscriminately blast it all over the Net to boot. Look for job banks that have features to protect your privacy. Also look for links to their privacy policies. If there is no privacy policy or you don’t like it, skip that job bank. Even if they have favorable policies, still be wary of job banks that insist on too much personal info just to let you in the door. A few have been known to violate their own privacy policies, unintentionally or not. All of this goes for resume banks and “blasting” services, too. But if you send your resume directly to hiring employers, that’s a different matter. It’s a good idea to give them multiple ways to reach you.

In all cases, consider using a temporary, anonymous email address. In addition to further protecting your privacy, it has other benefits.

* It helps you organize your job search, by keeping all job-related email in one place. Check this account daily.
* It keeps persistent recruiters, opportunists and spammers from cluttering your main email account.
* Once you find a job, you can pull the plug on your temporary account, so you don’t keep receiving email you don’t want.

You might be able to get a second, free email account through your Internet provider. Sites such as HotMail offer free email accounts too. To find more, search the Web for the keywords free email account. But be aware that many of these give you a “free” email account, so they can spam you. (Nothing is truly free.) At least it’s only temporary. Still, be sure to read their privacy polices and skip them if they’re too nosey.