Vital Tips for Submitting your Resume the Professional Way
During your academic career, you probably never took a class on how to secure your ideal job. Yet, chances are you've devoted a great deal of your professional life to attempting to move up the career ladder in an effort to reach the highest rung. As a result, you've spent much time tinkering with your resume, trying to find the formula that will guarantee your success in the job market.
However, there is one critical factor that you may have overlooked, much to your own detriment: the manner in which your resume is submitted. It's simply not enough to produce a stellar resume—you must also present that resume to a potential employer in an appropriate manner. If you fail to do so, not only will you lose points with a hiring manager—you might also lose out on the position of your dreams.
What Does “Professional” Really Mean?
When you launch a job search, the word “professional” comes up again and again. Your cover letter must be professional; your attitude must be professional; your interview attire must be professional. Still, you might be wondering what it really means to submit a resume in a professional manner.
To be professional is to be business-oriented—to complete a task in an efficient, timely manner. A professional finds out what is required in a given assignment and carries out that assignment with grace and seeming ease. A professional does not complain about the task he or she has been given; rather, the professional welcomes the opportunity to use talents, skills, and expertise to make a meaningful contribution.
When applied to the science of resume submission, professionalism means turning in a resume in the proper format, in the appropriate manner, in a timely fashion. It means that an employer will not have to track you down in order to ask you to re-submit your resume using preferred guidelines. In short, being a professional means getting it right the first time.
Pay Close Attention to the Job Posting
In order to submit your resume professionally, it is highly important that you pay close attention to the original job posting or want ad. Far too many of us skim job listings, not bothering to focus on what the listing is really asking of a job applicant. You simply cannot assume that, just because your last employer preferred that a resume be e-mailed, that your future employer will have the same requirement.
Read the text of the job posting carefully to determine if the employer would prefer that the resume be e-mailed, snail-mailed, or faxed. If the employer offers two options, select the one that is more immediate. In other words, if your choice is between e-mailing and mailing, by all means mail; if it's between faxing and mailing, choose the fax option. The reason for this is quite simple: You want your resume in the hands of a would-be employer as quickly as possible. You don't want your resume to disappear in a pile of resumes that arrive in the mailbag three days after the initial newspaper ad appeared. Sometimes, the key to standing out from the competition is by being the first to arrive on the scene, and you can accomplish that feat by getting your resume in early.
Be Careful to Include All Information Requested
If you are short on time, you may think that you don't have to bother with tailoring your resume for a specific job. After all, if it's a well-written resume, shouldn't it be embraced by virtually any employer? While it is certainly true that an expertly-crafted resume will serve you well, a one-size-fits-all approach does not necessarily work. If you are determined to submit your resume in a professional manner, you need to make sure that your document includes all the information requested by the prospective employer. For instance, if the employer requests salary history and you provide none, you could find yourself quickly eliminated from the applicant pool.
Make Electronic Submissions as Smooth as Possible
If an employer prefers that you submit a resume electronically, you'll want to carry out that task seamlessly so that you make the best possible first impression. Loading your resume with keywords is definitely a smart idea, but it will be meaningless if the resume you've turned in cannot be read by an electronic scanner.When e-mailing your resume, you may be tempted to submit it as an HTML file. After all, most of us are accustomed to reading HTML formats all day long as we gaze at our computer screens. An HTML document is definitely more pleasing to the eye; therefore, it may seem like the most appropriate choice, aesthetically-speaking.
And yet, there are problems with submitting a resume in HTML code. While HTML is, in fact, easier for human beings to read, it is not necessarily easier for database software to read. Since you want to ensure that your resume scans well, it's best to stick with a plain-Jane text file. It may not be a pleasure to behold, but it is highly functional. And it could also be the key to helping you to secure a job interview.
Use Appropriate Formatting for Online Submissions
If you frequently visit job search websites such as Monster, HotJobs, and FlipDog, you've probably noticed that employers often allow you to apply for jobs online through an electronic job posting. This can be incredibly convenient and a real time-saver.
However, you need to make sure that your resume is copied onto the form in such a way that it is highly readable. If you copy and paste from a Microsoft Word document, you might find that the result is a disjointed-looking document that is terribly difficult to decipher. Given this fact of electronic life, it's important that you copy and paste from a text file rather than from an MS file. You're far less likely to run into formatting problems that way.
If in Doubt, Ask
If you've pored over a job posting and you're still unclear about how to submit your resume in a professional manner, try e-mailing or phoning the company to find out what the hiring executive is looking for in resume submissions. If you know exactly what the employer is looking for, you'll be in a much better position during the job application process.
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