CHICAGO— Summer is almost over and recent college graduates have likely filled out many job applications in hopes of getting their first job.
WGN Morning News Anchor Larry Potash said he has received some pretty bad resumes and cover letters in the past week. He talks about the mistakes that he has seen and how to fix them so grads can score their dream job:
- Address the person you are sending the job application to directly in your email/cover letter— Larry said he has seen too many students send things like "To whom it may concern," "Hi Larry," and "Dear Human Resources". These are all impersonal or unprofessional. By looking up the name of the person or calling the business to find out, it shows you have initiative and care about the job.
- Your cover letter is not a note, but also not an essay— Larry said he has gotten cover letters that are three sentences, which is too short, and two pages, which is too long. Typically, one full page is the way to go.
- Think not about what the job will do for you, but what you can do for your employer— Larry said he has seen something like this phrase in cover letters, "I am excited about this opportunity to help advance my career". Larry said saying something like this in a cover letter is a big "no no". You should be telling the employer what you can do for them, not what you want the job to be for you.
- Social media reveals a lot about you— Social media can reveal you in an unprofessional manner, depending on what you have posted. Larry said employers get that you were students, but having inappropriate spring break photos isn't professional. Clean it up, or as Pat Tomasulo would say, "Put it on private."
- Your resume is not a documentary— Not every experience you have ever done needs to be listed on your resume. Anchor Robin Baumgarten said students feel like they have to put their most recent job experience at the top, like a Hooters or Pizza Hut employee,. Robin and Larry said not to do this, but to put the most relevant experience to your profession at the top. This way, your employer can see how much experience you have in the field they are hiring you in.