It is critical that you pay attention to not only what is contained within your resume and cover letter, but how these documents are presented to the recruiter. Some things to keep in mind when preparing your documentation include:

  • Never include a writing sample from your Facebook or LinkedIn page, or any other social networking platform. These are not professional platforms, even when being used for professional purposes, and will appear amateurish.
  • If you want to make an impression with a particular statement or piece of information in your cover letter, make sure that it is at the beginning of the letter. Particularly if your cover letter is long, many clients will end up scanning through and may miss something that you find important.
  • Create an email address to use for your business communications that sounds professional. Avoid cutesy or “clever” addresses. A good bet is to use some variation of your name.
  • If a job posting asks for samples of your work and you are not comfortable providing these samples, do not apply for the job. Never state that you do not feel comfortable sending samples, or sound negative about the company’s request.
  • Do not request more information on a posting unless there is a specific offer within the post. If you are confused about something that is within the post, research it or contact the company through another means to ask your questions.
  • Never address a recruiter or hiring manager in a way that implies you already have the position (“Let me know when I can start!” or “I’m ready to start when you are!”). You may think that it sounds confident and will impress the manager, but it will only make you look unprofessional.
  • If you are directing the hiring manager to your website to see samples or gain more information, make sure that there aren’t automatic features such as music, videos, or surveys. The recruiter does not want to feel as though you are trying to push him/her around or be controlling. Let the recruiter opt-in to any features on your site.
  • Never indicate that you are unsure of the type of person or skills that the company needs. This will seem as though you did not read the posting in its totality or are unprepared for the hiring process.
  • Be careful with the name that you give documents. The hiring manager that reads your resume will see the title that you give it, and something like “mom’s resume” is going to give the impression that you are not on top of computer skills.
  • Make sure that you put something in the body of the email. Don’t just add attachments and send it along. Many recruiters prefer that your cover letter is in the email itself.