Recruiter Pet Peeves
- Avoid abbreviations that are YOUR common lingo. Make sure everyone can understand what you are talking about, especially when the abbreviations are specific to your campus. National organizations are fine with abbreviations, but make sure to include the entire name of the association the first time you mention it (Example: National Orientation Directors Association (NODA)).
- Avoid typos. This says a lot about how much time you put into your resume and could perhaps indicate how you might be as an employee.
- Explain employment gaps in your resume. Do not make the employer do all the work. If you have a gap in employment, explain it in your cover letter. Own it and let people know.
- Submit resume and cover letter in PDF format. You will have more control over how your resume and cover letter looks using this method. It helps to avoid formatting errors and breaks in pages.
- No graphics. Leave the clip art, pictures, and quotes for different documents. In your resume and cover letter is not the place.
- Overlooking overall appearance. Show that you took time to create this document.
Make the Cut
- Describe your institution. Give your potential employer the details about the institutions you have worked for. It will give them an idea of the scope of your experience. (Example: UA is a Pac- 10, public, research intensive institution of 40,000 students with 7,200 students on campus in 22 residence halls).
- Quantify. Quantify. Quantify. Describe how many people you supervised, who you collaborated with, and how large your budget was. It’s important to give specifics.
- No need for an objective statement. If needed, add a section for functional areas where you list any experience working with Fraternity Sorority Life, Orientation, Diversity, etc. This should be brief.
- Call the institution. Sometimes calling ahead to find out information that is not necessarily on the website will help you to understand the organization a little more and will show you did your homework.
- Ask for help. Use your supervisors and mentors to get feedback on your resume. They are excellent resources. However, be happy with your resume and what it looks like. Ultimately, it is yours and it has to represent you. In the end, you are the expert on you.
Cover Letter Advice
- Make it clean. Use the same headers you would for your resume so that each document contains identical contact information.
- Be authentic. Be authentic and energetic in your writing. Let your personality shine through. Have fun with it and be proud of what you have written. Reel employers in by letting your words jump off the page and giving great examples.
- Give examples. Give specific examples of how you have helped a department save money, how you made a process more efficient, or ideas you have made a reality within an organization. Use the cover letter to tell the story your resume cannot.
Tips provided by TPE Virtual Round Table Panelists: Linda Kasper (firstname.lastname@example.org), Keith O’neill (koniell@@harpercollege.edu), Janett Ramos (email@example.com)