Here it is — the highly anticipated second round of our résumé and cover letter tips for those of you interested in grabbing yourself a job in publishing. If you missed the first 12 tips, never fear! They can be found in the post below, or by searching through our archives. These “tips from the trenches,” are based on a combined 30+ years of experience in reading cover letters and résumés for (mostly entry-level) publishing jobs, so take notes!
13. If we want references, we will ask for them. Don’t waste space on your résumé telling us that they are available on request — we know that.
14. Read the job posting carefully, and use your cover letter and résumé to emphasize the skills we’re looking for. Don’t make us hunt for the information.
15. Unless you’re trying to hide something, include the year your education was completed and the dates when you worked in your various positions. If you are trying to hide something … don’t. (Your mileage may vary depending on where you’re applying.)
16. Narrative is not helpful on a résumé. Point form is shorter, clearer, and easier to read at speed.
17. Be very careful with the Profile/Objectives section of a résumé; done badly, it can make a pretty negative impression.
18. If you have a master’s degree, we don’t need to know what your high school average was.
19. Unless you actually know enough about a computer program like Adobe InDesign to produce work at a high level, don’t tell us you’re “proficient.” Proficiency implies the ability to do more than the basics. (For MS Word, for example, that would mean using all aspects of the Review tab, basic understanding and use of Styles, creation and editing of tables, and use of headers and footers.)
20. When applying for a job at Company X, always make sure to proofread your cover letter for sentences like “I feel confident that I can make a significant contribution to Company Y.”
21. Think long and hard before including your personal interests on your résumé. The odds that knowing you occupy your free time with competitive basset-hound racing, cryptography, or the early films of Akira Kurosawa will make us more eager to interview you are very small — and there are also some things that we just don’t want to know.
22. Unless it’s in some way relevant, don’t tell us where you were born or what citizenships and passports you hold. Unless the job posting states that you must have a driving licence or a car, we don’t need to know about those things either. And there is no circumstance in which we need you to tell us your birthday, your marital status, your spouse’s name, or how many children you have, nor do we need to see your high school graduation photo.
23. Unless your skill set extends to the back end, we don’t need to know that you’re an experienced user of Facebook, Blogger, MySpace, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
24. Consider your audience! If you’re applying for a job in marketing, don’t focus your whole cover letter on your editorial skills (or vice versa).
25. Cover letters are not optional. If you’re applying for a job in publishing, we need to know how you communicate in writing — especially if that job involves persuading people to do things (which almost all publishing jobs do). This is your chance to show us you can do that, so polish your cover letter until it shines!
There they are, folks. You're fool-proof tips to getting your résumé to the top of a publishing job pile.