Updated: Oct 8
Many applicants approach me with various questions on how to get their resumes/CV applications right and if it’s really necessary to send a cover letter. The second most frequent question I have to answer is “which is the best website to look at for free resume templates”?
To most of these applicants, I simply answer “there is no perfect way to do this” or “nothing for free will give you real value”.
Although we do live in an utterly populated cyber world where the web is overflowing with zillions of CV templates, free cover letter examples and tips of getting a job, how many of you have really imagined the following scenario? And this is a real example of the day of an HR professional!
After three days of working on your resume/CV, browsing hundreds of websites, entering key words in Google search to retrieve the perfect example of a template for a sales job and finally comparing various templates you really feel you got it right this time and your CV is a killer! Gosh, it feels great to cross compare and insert essential information and even use such strong wording that you never thought you would be able to describe!
You then write a short cover letter summarizing all you have done in the past, attach your CV file and push the send button. Two weeks pass, three weeks pass, you send a couple of emails enquiring the status of your application but you never hear back from the recruitment office. What did you do wrong? Why wouldn’t I get a call? Google can’t be wrong, this is the way everyone does it and gets hired. These people really don't deserve me!
Now, let’s flip the coin and look at this same scenario from the recruitment office perspective and what happens when similar applications arrive. Again these are all very real daily situations.
Let’s talk about a terrible first impression. You send us a cover letter which leaves much (or everything) to be desired, I don’t care if your resume is dozens pages of awards and sheer greatness. Your resume is a combination between a high-school first job experience and a John Smith free template I saw the guy before you sent, too. The pompousness of your wording is nothing but vanity covering for skills which you don’t really have. Ah, and yes, you’ve lost me right there. Why?
· If your cover letter is nonexistent or a hot mess, I’m not sure I believe a word of your resume.
· If your resume could be used to apply to anything, anywhere, it tells me that you didn’t care enough about the opportunity to convince me you’re the person for the job.
· If you can’t follow simple instructions in the application process, I have little to no faith in your ability to take direction on the job.
· If you cannot communicate why your experience and skills are relevant to the job, I’m not sure you understand what the position entails, or that your background brings all that much value to the table.
· If your communication skills are poor in general, you’re not going to do well anywhere, but particularly not with me.
A solid cover letter, on the other hand, makes me want to schedule an interview immediately. In most cases, it can even help you overcome deficiencies in your resume or a lack of experience. I would rather have a determined, passionate individual with a strong work ethic on my team than someone without the tenacity to re-write his/her résumé every single time. Your background is worthless to me if you can’t get my eye on your application within 30 seconds. So the next time you apply for a job, think about whether it’s one you really want. If you do, take the time to write a custom cover letter and résumé that will grab attention and clearly articulate why you’re the candidate we are looking for all along.
If you can’t get your papers right, do hire a professional resume writer who knows the real way to do this and how to help you stand out from the crowd. Just because you get everything for free off the net doesn’t mean you will get paid for this job! And do bear in mind HR offices use a wonderful tracking system to spot right away from which web source your résumé is generated.
Are you still having second thoughts on the real value of a professional service?
For any questions, comments and queries you can contact SoftHRskills at firstname.lastname@example.org