Once in a while somebody sends us a resume and cover letter with the opening “Dear Sir or Madam…”
Right away when I see that opening, I think about dear Heidi Fleiss and wonder how Heidi is getting on. “Madam” is a word that hasn’t been used in a context other than the one that brings Heidi to mind in a very long time. “Dear Sir or Madam” is an archaic turn of phrase that marks a job-seeker as hopelessly behind the times.
Don’t ever start a cover letter that way!
You can find your exact hiring manager and write to him or her directly nearly all the time. Wonderful tools like LinkedIn LNKD +0.44% and Google GOOGL -0.39% make it easy to do that.
Years ago regular people stopped using accents on the word “resume” (although many publications still use the accents). If you use the word “resume” in your correspondence with recruiters and hiring managers, leave the accents out.
At one time in history, people spelled words that start with the pre-fix “co” (like cooperation and coordination) with a hyphen between the “co” and the rest of the word.
Sometimes in old books and magazine articles, you see the words c0-operation and co-ordination. The hyphen fell out in popular usage a long time ago, and the accents dropped off the word “resume” too. Don’t put them back in!
Age discrimination is real, and there are employers who unethically and unlawfully discriminate against older job-seekers. Still, you don’t have to over a certain age to brand yourself behind the times.
If you don’t include the url to your LinkedIn profile in your resume, you suggest to the hiring manager who’s reading your resume that you don’t know about LinkedIn or don’t use it. Include your LinkedIn profile url right under your name, email address and telephone number. Your profile is a huge part of your brand!
Before you post your LinkedIn profile url on your resume, use the Edit Profile function to create a nice, neat custom url for your profile page. Your profile url will look like this:
You don’t need to include your street address on your resume (only your city and state or province) but you do need a job-search-ready email address. “Emmyandjoshsmom@gmail.com” is not a good choice.
Your best job-search email address is your first name dot last name at gmail if you can get it, or your first name dot middle initial dot last name. Years ago we used to get creative with email addresses, but now we want to make it as easy as possible for a recruiter or hiring manager to start composing an email message to you. Use your own name in your email address!
The most glaring way to brand yourself an out-of-touch job seeker is to use special ‘resume paper’ for your cover letter and resume. If I owned the office-supply superstores that sell that nubbly beige, pink and blue paper to job-seekers, I’d donate all the dedicated ‘resume paper’ to preschools and let the little pumpkins draw pictures on it.
We don’t use special paper for a resume anymore. I want you to print and send out resumes the old-fashioned way, through the mail. I want you to do that because hiring managers get almost no snail mail anymore, and certainly very little from individuals like you. You will get your manager’s attention that way.
Use plain white bond paper when you print your Pain Letter and Human-Voiced Resume. You don’t need special paper — you’re not planning to be job-hunting for long!
When you create your resume or have someone do it for you, let the words in your resume speak for themselves. Stick to one typeface and leave out the horizontal lines, curlicues and other embellishments we used to see on resumes in the eighties and nineties. Content is king, as they say! You are a modern-day job-seeker. Make sure your next manager encounters you at your up-to-the-minute best!