Use these hints to avoid common resume mistakes and learn how to stand out to veterinary employers with an introduction that spells, "Hire me."
With unemployment rates still hovering around 7 percent, many people are job hunting. So if the search for a new position is leaving you puzzled, here's help. Your resumé is the first and only chance you get to show the employer who you are, your skill set and why they can't live another day without you.
Recently, we've been trying to hire, but we're getting resumés that scream, "Don't hire me!" Let's use some of the recent applicant errors I've seen—and the sample cover letter on page 11—to help you avoid 10 common mistakes.
Solutions to cover letter mistakes: Consider this sample cover letter-and the edits-to learn to write a better one.
I know you think you were creative when you chose your email address, but it sends the entirely wrong message when your resumé comes from sexymama@XXX.com. Email addresses are free, so make an appropriate one to send your resumé.
I'm not a fan of photos in a resumé. And now you should also consider your Google+ account. If you're on Google+, your profile photo comes to me when I receive your resumé. Last week, one of my managers received a resumé, and the photo in the corner of the email was an attractive young lady flipping the bird! Yes, our first impression was her middle finger in our face.
Spell check is a life saver for those who struggle with spelling, but keep in mind that spell check will correctly spell the wrong word. I was hiring for a dog day care some time back and the resumé came over the fax with the words (bold type of course) that said, "Seeking position in dog day care prostitution." Yes, I swear this is true. On the bright side, prostitution was spelled correctly.
Ask someone to read your resumé. Remember to check words with multiple spellings and meanings, like "two," "too" and "to." Tune into lengthy or run-on sentences. Remember that there needs to be a period somewhere, and a comma doesn't take the place of a period.
You read that right. We've actually had applicants take pictures of their resumés and send them as photo attachments in emails. This does not scream, "Hire me!"
There are many programs and templates you can use to write a resumé, and I suggest you use one. Most word-processing programs offer sample templates. We received a resumé recently that was double spaced all the way through. It ended up being six pages long for what should have been a one- or two page document.
Loving animals is not a prerequisite for working at a veterinary practice, but loving people is. About 80 percent of the resumés I receive say, "I love animals!" We are passionate about animals in this industry, but the fact that you've bred hamsters is not a qualification—and probably not your best objective statement.
We get many resumés, and we sort through them trying to find the applicant best suited for the position based on skill set and experience. If you just send an email with a short note, we can't read your mind to determine what your skills are. Write a resumé.
If the employer lists a website, take a look to learn background information on the business. Read the ad and give the employers what they ask for. I usually put, "No phone calls, please" in my ads because I don't want to bother my client service team with a myriad of calls. Yet every time, without fail, at least one applicant will call. Guess what this shows me? You can't follow directions.
Honestly and accurately representing your skills is critical to develop a solid foundation for your work relationship. Consider these tips:
> Don't lie. Don't list skills you don't have, because we will find out.
> Edit yourself. Only list jobs that relate to the position you're applying for and that have a significant employment term.
> List professional references and verify your references' contact information. Remember, hiring, training and turnover are expensive, and most practices try to avoid it.
Also make sure you choose references who can give information that supports what your resumé says about you as an employee. A recent applicant listed her dad as her reference. Good references are people who don't have to love you but who can attest to your admirable qualities.
> Google yourself. What you put on Facebook, Twitter and other social media may appear when people search for you. Employers will look.
> Retype your resumé if your personal information changed. Whiting out, crossing out or writing over is unprofessional and tell me that you take no pride in the quality of your work.
Remember, a resumé is your first contact with your employer. Don't stand out for the wrong reasons. Put your best foot forward.
Donna Recupido, CVPM, is hospital administrator at Veterinary Specialty Care in the Charleston, S.C., area. She blogs as donnaraeb on the dvm360 Community.