Toni Thompson is the head of HR at the Muse. She’s read hundreds of resumes and cover letters. Here she talks about common mistakes she keeps seeing. The following is a transcript of the video.
This sounds so obvious and small, but typos.
Recruiters will look at your resume for about 30 seconds tops, so it has to be really well organised and all the things that you want to pop to the top should be designed in a way where they do resonate. When a recruiter spots your resume and they are targeting in they are going to look at those typos and a lot of jobs require detail and they will instantly just toss your resume aside if there are major typos.
Cover letters are controversial. Some recruiters say they really love them, and some say they’re not necessary. I would say they’re definitely necessary if you’re thinking about making a career transition. And if that’s the case, make sure it’s a compelling story. So, for example, we at the Muse just considered someone who was moving from a legal profession to a sales profession and she actually didn’t have any sales experience. But she wrote this amazing story about how all of the things she’s been challenged within the legal profession will make her a great seller.
We interviewed her just because her cover letter was so compelling. If you’re gonna write one make sure it’s good.
I would always err on the side of doing more. A cover letter is never going to hurt you. If anything, the recruiter, if they’re not interested in it, they just won’t look at it. But if you’re going to write one also make sure that you’ve maybe had someone else look at it and maybe ask them, “Do you want to keep reading this? Is it compelling enough or is it just a few sentences on a piece of paper?”
Because if it is a few sentences on a piece of paper and you really could just get those, that same information looking at the resume, probably worth not including the cover letter.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.