HR Folks Speak Out on Resumes


This month’s Reader’s Digest includes the article What HR Won’t Tell You About Your Résumé. Some of the 10 points on the list will provoke discouragement — and even anger — like this one from former human-resources executive Cynthia Shapiro:
Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don’t want anything to do with you.
Others, like Shapiro’s, have little to do with resumes, like this one from a HR director at a health-care facility:
When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your résumé is or how great your experience may be, it’s all about connections.
And this one from Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator in Alabama:
If you’re trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager.
The rest are good resume tips — including keywords, using a professional-looking e-mail address, and avoiding gimmicks, such as use of color. And here’s one we hear a lot — about cover letters:
People assume someone’s reading their cover letter. I haven’t read one in 11 years.
We’ve noted in this blog many times that somewhere between half and two-thirds of hiring decision-makers don’t read cover letters. But many in the hiring sector do read and value them. The job-seeker doesn’t know who does and who doesn’t. Do some research on the careers portion of the employers Web site to see if you see any instructions about cover letters; if you don’t see any, it’s best to err on the side of sending one.