By Audrey Prenzel, CARW, CEIC, B.A., B.Ed
Once your résumé is good to go, you’ll be eager to hit the job market! Take a moment to review these tips to make it successful as you apply online or via email.
- Label your file in a professional manner. For example don’t use something like “Audrey’s updated res winter 2010”. Put something more like: “Résumé – Audrey Prenzel”.
- Make sure you prepare your documents in MS Word. Know the difference between Word and Word Perfect. They are not the same program and they are not interchangeable. Many HR pros and recruiters do not like to receive .docx yet. They are not yet mainstream and there continues to be glitches in the integrity of the formatting from one version of Word to another. This writer and many others are still using MS Word 2003. 2007 is also okay to use if you save files as .doc.
- Save your résumé and cover letter as PDF and plain text files. Have one version ready for simply copying and pasting into online “sections” or “fields”. All text boxes, cells, tabs, underlining, and fancy symbols and bullets must be deleted. It is simply plain text, usually Times New Roman. Yes these are ugly but they are designed to be read by scanning software and not humans. You can have your perfectly formatted hard copy version ready to hand in during the interview.
- Don’t leave the email message subject line blank. Put in the job ad title with a qualifying phrasing such as Avionics Technician with 20+ years of experience is applying for position #1234.
- Don’t get lazy in the message and use lower case and poor grammar. The entire message (subject line, message body, and all attached documents) reflect your professionalism, or lack thereof.
- Remember to adjust the paper size if you are applying to a position overseas. In Europe, UK and Australia for example, they use “A4”. Here in Canada and the US, “Letter” size is used. To adjust your paper, to go “File” then “Page Setup” in MS Word. Click on the “Paper” tab.
- I’d suggest in your MS Word copy of your documents do not use the accents in the word “résumé”. Use “résumé” as the accents sometimes default to indecipherable symbols. Revert to using the accents in the hard copies. PDF files will keep the accent just fine.
- Clean up your file’s “Properties” section. Click on “File” then go to “Properties”. Select the “Summary” tab and make sure the information you want is in there. If you have “borrowed” a résumé from your friend or colleague, you don’t want their contact data showing up in your document. I personally know recruiters who always check this part of every résumé they receive.
- Follow the directions of the job ad. If it says attach a document, then attach it instead of copying and pasting it into the body of the email message. HR gurus see it as a negative if you can’t follow instructions.
- Don’t panic if you see green wiggly lines when you open your file. The “grammar check” thinks your document has a grammatical error. Many typical grammar rules do not apply to résumé writing.
Wishing you success!
Audrey Prenzel, CARW, CEIC, B.A., B.Ed., is the founder of Résumé Resources. Audrey is proud to be hirecanadianmilitary.com’s career expert. She has numerous accountabilities with Career Directors International as their Military Transition Expert Program Leader, Aerospace/Defence Program Leader, Canadian Advisor, and Director of International Relations. You can order the book, “Military to Civvie Street” or contact Audrey directly at [email protected]