We are entering the season for new recruits as thousands of young people shed their graduation gowns and forge ahead in a career in public relations. With that exodus from academia comes a deluge of unsolicited resumes from eager candidates looking to find their first position. Our company is fortunate to be on the list of many graduates who want to enter our profession.
Two resumes that passed my desk last week warrant discussion. The first, was from a young man with solid internships and a master’s degree. What set his application apart was an amazing poem he wrote in his cover letter. Through rhyme, he explained why he would be ideal to work for us. It was one of the most clever cover letters I have ever seen. We called him the next day and saw him two days later. His resume was solid, but his cover letter showed an interest and creativity that was refreshing.
The second resume was from a young lady. She too had solid internships, but her resume had a huge photo of her on it, as did her cover letter. Her documents also had a few typos in it. Why did she feel the need to present herself with a photo? This was not an on-camera position, nor are we a modeling agency. Moreover, had she paid more attention to the typos in her document, I might have overlooked the photos. She did not get an interview.
A candidates resume is the most important document that will determine whether they get an interview or not. Obviously, there qualifications are of utmost importance. Yet, as with most firms, we receive a ton of resumes and at times must look at how we triage the candidates we will grant interviews to. We rule out people first, then look at the folks who pass muster.
As the tale of two resumes suggest, the first candidate –solid skills and education, was enhanced by a creative cover letter. The second –also with good skills, was ruled out for typos and vanity. While we wish them both well, it is a good reminder to those of us in the business already how to best present ourselves everyday –show solid skills that deliver results, be creative, drop the vanity!