things that don’t matter in your job search

Things that don’t matter and which you must stop spending even a second longer thinking about:

  • whether you put your cover letter in the body of the email or attach it (hiring managers have varying preferences, but no one is going to reject you over it, unless you ignore specific instructions)
  • whether you address your cover letter to “dear hiring manager” or a specific name (assuming no name is given — in other words, please don’t spend time tracking down the person’s name; we don’t care about this)
  • whether you send a post-interview thank-you by email or in the mail (although email is faster)
  • what you did in high school
  • whether your resume is one page or two (as long as you’re not right out of school)

No one cares. You’re hereby ordered to stop stressing over each of these things, and to put that part of your brain to use on something else, or even nothing at all.

{ 164 comments… read them below }

  1. My 2 Cents

    But please, DO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! I have two very specific directions in my job posts, one is to direct your cover letter to “Henry Smith” and NO PHONE CALLS. I received an application recently directed to “Harry Smithers” and then the person called to see if I received their application. This shows that you aren’t detail oriented and can’t follow directions.

    1. Sharon

      Agree with this.

      For a fun anecdote, when I was last job searching, there was a local staffing agency that frequently posted jobs on the internet job boards. I knew it was the same company because all of their postings contained this exact instruction: “DO NOT APPLY UNLESS YOUR QUALIFICATIONS ARE A 100% MATCH FOR THIS JOB DESCRIPTION”.

      There were a few of their postings that I was a very good match for, but I obeyed their instruction and never applied. Their loss, LOL! (I’m not mocking you, just sharing this because it’s such an extremely rigid attitude from this employer that I found it funny.)

      1. Jennifer

        Heh, fun anecdote? That’s totally applying at my workplace. I think I’m lucky I got in when I did because I could never get in here now (and indeed, can’t get any other jobs either).

        1. JM in England

          Perhaps they are still waiting for their purple unicorn that craps rainbows! :-)

    2. TK

      I’m amazed at how often people misspell the names of people with whom they’re communicating. Checking to make sure you got someone’s name right is the most basic level of common courtesy.

      I had a professor in college who told how he had a friend who used to work for Rudy Giuliani’s office between the time he left office as mayor and ran for president. Part of this person’s job was sorting through speaking/appearance/etc. requests and deciding what to forward on up as possibilities. Giuliani’s first instruction was to automatically toss out anyone who asked for something but didn’t spell his name correctly.

      1. My 2 Cents

        I would be forgiving if we required them to hunt around to find my name, but we say my name in the job posting, all they have to do is copy it down. If they can’t do such a simple task then it’s a good sign that they won’t work in our organization.

        1. TK

          Yeah, these days failure to spell names correctly = failure to take the time to copy & paste. That’s not a very desirable quality for an employee.

      2. Del

        Ugh, this drives me bananas. Multiple people in my department cannot get my name right, and don’t seem to really care that they’re constantly misspelling it. Conversely, when we hired someone whose name I had difficulty with, I never ever put her name somewhere anyone but me could see it before I checked to make sure I had it right.

        1. KerryOwl

          I have an unusual last name, and I feel that should make it MORE likely to be spelled correctly, because people should be checking and double-checking it! I think it’s terribly rude to misspell someone’s name when you’re copying it from somewhere.

      3. JenTheNiceHRGirl

        My name gets botched all of the time! I say, when in doubt, dear hiring manager or dear HR is the way to go. I have also been called a Mr. before. Nice.

        1. Midge

          Today our departmental email address got an email addressed “Dear Sirs”. Um, what?

        2. gingersnap

          This has happened to me also. I’ve actually responded with “For future reference, my preferred title is Ms.” The emails continued, with my first name instead and no acknowledgement of the correction….(this wasn’t in a hiring context, but it was in a professional context).

      4. cecilhungry

        I spelled a name wrong in a cover letter once. I have absolutely no excuse, other than that I spent a lot of time and effort worrying about the contents of the letter and put in the salutation at the last moment (the job posting listed who to send to/address). I realized it about a day later, when I was closing down the window and I knew then & there that I wouldn’t be getting a call :-/

    3. A Bug!

      That second one is especially terrible, because I think it takes much worse attention to detail to notice the instruction and get the name wrong than it would to miss the instruction entirely and address the application to Hiring Manager.

      I agree that getting names spelled right is pretty much the bare minimum of attention to detail.

    4. Riki

      Yes, please. Also, make sure the company name and/or job title are correct in your cover letter. I have read so many cover letters from applicants who discussed their love of Company Y and I just sat there thinking “yeah, but this is Company Z.” That’s not okay.

  2. MaggieMae

    I *just* got advised to create a one page resume from a hiring manager yesterday.

    I wish everyone would agree on this and shut up about it. (says the 2pager that CANNOT edit her resume to save her life)

    1. My 2 Cents

      Ignore the person who gave you this advice! I don’t want to hire anyone whose skills and experience can fit on one page.

      1. AnotherAlison

        From another wordy person, I actually have to disagree in some instances.

        In this case, she has had contact with the HM, so she presumably has a pretty good idea of what they job really is and why she’s qualified. You shouldn’t need more than a few key points to explain that. If that’s half a page and the titles and dates of your other less-relevant positions, education history, and skills list take up the other half, you’re good. I did a page and a half one earlier this week, with 15 yrs experience. I didn’t try for 1 page, but I think it could be done.

        People are rarely comfortable with making a decision on what’s actually important. They want to throw the whole kitchen sink at you and make you decide what’s important. I have a coworker who does that, and it’s irritating. (Here’s 5 pages of crap dancing around the question you asked me. I am not actually going to give you an answer, but if you read all this, maybe you can draw some conclusions on your own.)

        Not to pile on MaggieMae. . .I know it’s not easy!

        1. My 2 Cents

          It looks like she talked to A hiring manager, not THE hiring manager. That is, someone she knows who is a hiring manager gave her this advice, not the hiring manager for the position.

          1. AnotherAlison

            Ah yes, looks like I can’t read. Well, if she has a clear understanding of the job, then I stand by my statement. : )
            If not — and I’ve read some job descriptions where I was left scratching my head — yeah, include as much as you think might be relevant, but still avoid a resume that looks like you pasted in your last 3 job descriptions.

      2. Gloria

        Aaand I wouldn’t want to hire someone who can’t make decisions about what’s most relevant to the particular job posting and make a compelling case on one page. Diff’rent strokes.

        1. Gloria

          But, like AAM is saying, it’s not like 2 pages is a deal breaker. But if my interest isn’t piqued by the top half of the first page, I’m probably not going to bother to read the rest.

        2. Legal jobs

          I have over a decade of experience. Even with a well worded job description, which is rare, it can be difficult to guess what type of experience will be relevant. I wrote a résumé for a tech company . In the interest of space, I mentioned working with sales teams only once while listing detailed contracts negotiated for the sales team. The response? The hiring attorney said she didn’t see it. Turns out she wanted to see the phrase in different ways throughout the résumé to make it easy for her although I had stated it at the start followed by a colon to keep the description short. In short, Alison’s advice is sound. I can’t tailor a résumé perfectly to everyone’s personal opinions bc I would not know them from the ad. So job hunters have to rely on conventions rather than what you may like personally. It sounds like some managers have a hard time understanding that personal tastes are not the same as what is appropriate business communication. In other words, what can a job seeker objectively know about job seeking rather than what they can personally know about you.

      3. Stephanie

        Eh, depends. I think if you’re like me and relatively inexperienced, it would just seem like you don’t know how to write concisely and prioritize what’s important.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      To be clear, different people have different viewpoints on this. But no sane hiring manager is going to reject someone for using two pages rather than one (or vice versa). There’s a difference between preferences and “has any impact on the outcome.”

      1. AJ

        When we print resumes, sometimes they end up two pages. So it really doesn’t matter. Just make sure, if your resume is two pages, it’s two QUALITY pages. Don’t have a second page full of hobbies, irrelevant skills, and such.

      2. Camellia

        This may also differ based on the field. I work in IT and was at the same company for many years. When the company was bought out and I was notified of my upcoming layoff, I created a seven page outline of skills and achievements. Then, as a long-time reader of AAM, used that to create a two page resume and posted it on Dice.com.

        The very next day a hiring manager called me and said, “It’s a little thin.” I told him I had this seven page one and he said “Send it to me immediately!” I did, and one phone interview later I had a new job.

  3. louise

    May I please share with you the rest of the stressors in my life? I want to see if you can pare that list down, too. :)

      1. Kelly O

        You could probably keep your kitties in the good kibble with this service alone.

        If you’re willing to tell me what to do with my career next, I will even spring for the good catnip.

  4. Sunflower

    What would you classify as right out of school?

    I graduated 3 years ago and have had 2 professional jobs since(I have them plus 2 internships on my resume). My resume is one page with a couple lines on a second so I usually can squeeze it onto one. My biggest issue is in my current job, I started in one department and switched to another. I’m job searching for positions closer related to my previous department so I’m including a lot of that info which I think is why it’s not comfortably fitting onto one.

    1. KellyK

      I think 3 years and 2 professional jobs later, going over is fine. (You might really have had 3 jobs, depending on how similar your work in one department was to what you did in the other.) Going over if all you had was part-time college jobs and/or an internship might be a bit much.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think 3 years is borderline to go to 2 pages. I’m not going to reject you over it, but I’m skeptical that you really need all that space and would want to see what else you’ve got on there.

      1. Ali

        I’m six years out and have really only had one long-term job. I’m not proud of this, but the first two years out were filled with a couple layoffs and bad fits. I also had one survival-type job with no relevance to my field and a seasonal job at the holidays. I’ve also done some writing (albeit for free) and had a volunteer gig that might be relevant for some jobs.

        However, at current/long-term job, I started out as an intern, got a paying position after my internship and got a promotion last year. This all happened over the course of four years; my internship was three months so I’ve been a paid employee for a while now.

        In my case, is it OK to go two pages if that’s what happens? I am in the phase of trying not to, as I don’t want to look dumb and employers aren’t exactly banging down my door right now…

        1. Stephanie

          You sound similar to me (employment wise). I trimmed my resume down to one page just because it seemed like there was a lot of fluff when it was a page and a half.

      2. KayDay

        Personally, I had more trouble getting my resume to 1 page when I had only limited experience than I do now. Right now, I have worked for 2 companies for a decent amount of time, so I just had those companies with lots of bullet points. But right out of school, I had lots of short-term internships/volunteer work/part time jobs, so getting my 2-3 relevant accomplishments from each of those things was a formatting nightmare. The number of short-term gigs meant that a lot of space was taken up by providing just basic what, where, when info ( I was always told to put all the basic info–company, title, date, city–on one line. This is physically impossible to do with normal fonts/margins) and it took all these short-term gigs to adequately demonstrate my qualifications.

        That said, it was doable, and the resumes I sent in were only 1 page (with reasonable font/margins/whitespace), but almost each job required me to re-write my resume to include only the relevant points. But I am much more understanding when I get resumes over one page because of this experience.

        1. AAA

          Yes. This!
          Before you have much experience and have landed that first real professional job you have to contend with lots of relatively temporary work and volunteer positions that showcase very different accomplishments. Plus awkward arrangements like internships that turned into paid contract/consulting positions for 3-6 month stretches. It’s just a jumble.

        2. Midge

          I agree, too! I’m looking forward to being able to cut short-term internships and volunteer positions once I’ve had more time at my current company.

        3. Anx

          I absolutely agree! I think my resume would be much shorter if I had more long-term, full-time experience. Currently, I’m trying to break into a field with no full-time, paid experience and it’s taken me years. In the meantime, I have been volunteering with different organizations, which are relevant to the positions I am applying for for different reasons. Should I leave off the most relevant information of my resume to make it fit on one page? Should I leave off my accomplishments? Make the font and format more difficult to read? Drop the skills section completely?

          My two page resume is much more visually appealing than my one page resume, and is actually just as fast to read.

      3. stellanor

        I have a weird resume because I recently left grad school, and as a grad student I was working for my department in basically a different job every quarter. Sometimes I was working two jobs at once. I had like six jobs in two years.

        I tended to leave only the relevant positions on my resume and pull off the stuff that had nothing to do with what I’m applying for because that’s the only way to keep it a reasonable length.

        1. Rachel

          i’m a biologist who is 1 job out from grad school. what i ended up doing was creating a functional cv. i have 4 sections in my master cv: project manager, laboratory, field work and teaching. at the beginning of each section i list relevant skills and accomplishments as bullet points, then just list jobs by title, employer and date. it solves the problem of having “experimental design and data collection” repeated ad nauseam. then when i apply for jobs i use the project manager job (since the most prestigious) and whatever other sections are relevant to the posting.

    3. Tomato Frog

      I had a friend who’d been working professionally for a couple of years, and also had some relevant volunteer experience. Her resume was spilling onto three pages and she said to me: “It looks silly having a few lines on the third page.” I agreed. She said, “I need to add something to it.”

      o_O

      But she’s gotten interviews with it. She’s in a field that dovetails with academia, so maybe they expect exhaustive CV-like resumes.

      1. TK

        Yeah, academics and academic-like people love length. I’m 2 years out of school also in a field that dovetails with academia, and I recently got an interview using a 4-page resume.

        In my field, it’s also viewed highly favorably if you have a strong record of multiple part-time jobs/internships that are basically equivalent to entry-level work completed while you’re in school. (As in, you probably won’t find an entry-level job without having this.) So that adds length.

        1. Joey

          Can anyone from academia explain the rationale? Is long winded writing really a valued skill?

          1. TL

            I can’t speak for all academia (fposte maybe can) but I know in the sciences, your publications really matter – especially where they were published, but also when and how relevant they are. So that adds length. Also, conference presentations, your thesis, ect… all these really long-titled things that have to be on there anyway. Plus, whose lab you were in can be really important.
            Anyway, once you’ve got all that on there – what’s another page or 7?

          2. Beebs

            Academics usually have CVs, not resumes–it’s a different animal. CVs typically contain your work history, your entire publication record, significant conference presentations, awards, honors . . . they can go on for pages. That said, even in academia one needs to prioritize. I work at a community college and our emphasis is on teaching, not publications. If you send me a CV with 10 pages of publications, I will be impressed with your prolificness but not with your understanding of our mission.

            1. fposte

              What Beebs said. CVs can go on into a dozen pages, easily. (I’m still not speaking for all of academia, because maybe there’s a really terse branch somewhere.) It’s really hard for somebody in that mindset to switch brains to the resume mindset. I’ve mentioned before that one of our funding sources requires 2-page CVs, and they mean it–longer will get you disqualified. I don’t even ask people to trim their own–I tell them they probably don’t want to see what happens to it and just to send me the existing one.

        2. Tomato Frog

          I thought you must be an archivist based on this, so I creepily searched your handle on AAM and lo and behold I was right. Me, too, actually. My friend works in an academic library.

          Personally, I got my current job with a nice one-page resume. It’s a research institution, but not a university. I never got an interview at a university and I do think maybe the brevity of my resume held me back in that regard.

          1. Duck Rover

            I work in Student Affairs where many people use a resume that pulls in aspects of the academic CV. (Academic CVs can be 6+ pages for senior academics who have oodles of publications/advisees/presentations/committee work, etc.) In Student Affairs, you’d basically have your standard resume entries but you might include any publications that are relevant to your work (for example, a journal article that described a successful retention program you developed for commuter students or whatever), awards and honors (because we LOVE awards in higher ed), and any committee work you’ve done that shows your range of interest and expertise in related matters. For example, I served on a strategic planning committee for one department, an awards committee for a student leadership program, and a recruitment committee for a multicultural mentoring program. So there are some fields where a resume longer than 2 pages is acceptable but the length should still reflect where you are in your career. Someone straight out of their MA should probably have 2 pages. Someone who is 15 years into their career will have more.

          2. TK

            Hi, fellow archivist! It amuses me greatly that you could identify another of our kind based on the description I gave. (Also, I didn’t realize I had ever actually disclosed what I do in a post on here, but apparently I have!)

            I know I’ve read on librarian hiring sites that academic librarians don’t care how long your resume is when they’re hiring, and obviously academic librarians and academic archivists work by pretty much the same rules hiring-wise. I do think it’s something you have to sort of tailor, though– some institutions classify librarians/archivists as faculty and some as professional staff (or some positions as one and some the other). For positions that are the former, length is probably more an advantage than for the latter.

    4. A Reader

      I have to disagree with AAM here. I’d outright reject anybody with less than 5 years (and really probably more like 7-10 in most cases) who can’t edit down to a 1 page resume. It comes off as arrogant and ignorant to me. Especially a 2 pager for a 1, 2, 3, or 4 year grad. My absolute pet peeve. I have to imagine I’m not alone in this either….

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Do you really though, in practice? Do you hire people, and really reject anyone with a 2-page resume at that experience level? Automatically, without considering it as one data point of many that you have about them? Because you’re going to be rejecting some perfectly strong candidates if you do that, and I’ve rarely seen anyone really do that.

        1. Joey

          Well you did say it doesn’t matter and I’m with A Reader that it does. If your résumé is beyond a page and you only have a few years of experience that tells me something pretty important- that you might not be able to be short and sweet. I won’t outright reject you, but you probably won’t be my ideal candidate either.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            No! When I said it doesn’t matter (in the original post), I said “as long as you’re not right out of school.” It matters. But I think it’s one data point of several, and I’d consider the whole package (but agree that it’s not a point in their favor).

        2. A Reader

          Yes, in practice I do follow that rule of thumb/pet peeve. It may have to do with my field in particular, too, but I really haven’t seen a recent grad resume over 2 pages that needed to be over 2 pages. And I really do find that those who exceed the length tend to be arrogant/ignorant in a way I don’t want to deal with.

          1. Joey

            That’s a pretty sweeping statement. Could that be confirmation bias? I just don’t see how you can link the two.

          2. annie

            Wait, but you just said someone with 5 years (and probably more like 7-10) years. That’s a BIG range between 10 years experience, and a recent grad.

            I’m pretty surprised at the high end of this pet peeve. I’d expect someone with 7 and certainly someone with 10 years experience to have held several jobs with significant accomplishments, as well as some volunteer / side work to put on a resume – definitely enough for two pages.

          3. Sunflower

            As a reader of this site, I would think you’d be more understanding that recent grads are more so clueless about how to write a resume and are basing most of their guidance off professors who are in an ‘include everything’ mindset. I find it a little hard to believe the majority of them are saying ‘I’m so great I’ll use all these pages to tell you all about it’ when they have over 2 pages. I’m sure some are but that’s a big assumption to base an entire hiring system off of

      2. Hiring Mgr

        Personally, I’ve really never given any thought to whether a candidate has a one, two, three or more page resume. I just want a quick glance at what the person has done recently

        Everyone has their own preferences of course, but I don’t see how it would be arrogant or ignorant..

      3. anon o

        I once got a four page resume from someone who was still in school! She included pull quotes from professors with comments on papers she’d written. It was a work of crazy art. My boss (who falls for stuff like this) loved it and made me bring her in for an interview. She showed up in jeans and sneakers and was basically all, “When can I start?” One of the most entitled people I’ve ever interviewed.

      4. Elysian

        My just-out-of-law-school resume is really, really hard to keep on 1 page. I do it, because I know there are people out there who don’t like the 2-pager, but honestly I’m leaving out stuff I would rather put on.

        It has undergrad and grad school info, plus my “what I did between undergrad and law school” job (cause I didn’t fall off the earth for those years, I taught kindergarten). Then my 1L summer job, my 2L summer job, and a few internships that were during the school year and are relevant. Plus bar admissions. And where I am presently employed. Plus some unrelated volunteer work that I only keep on because interviewers love talking about it (I could take it off if needed but its only 1 line).

        Honestly, with all of that, my position description stuff is really short and I use 10.5 font … it could easily be a page and a half and I think it would all still be important and useful.

        And you’d ding me :'(

      5. Rayner

        I feel that although it’s not a point in their favour, to disregard someone solely on the basis of “can they make something that potentially covers their WHOLE work experience onto one page” is extremely narrow minded.

        What happens if they’ve had several diverse internships, and volunteer experiences? Do they edit out on of them just because you don’t like two pages? Do they decide to go for broke and pick a tiny font and NARROW margins to make it all fit on there?

        I mean, it’s unlikely. But many graduates (and even many long term careerists) have never heard of the one page/two page rule, and they can’t be blamed for not knowing when schools and job centers give them such terrible advice.

        Also, with ten years experience, I’d be concerned if they fit it all on one page with room to spare.

        It isn’t a point in their favour as AAM said, but I wouldn’t discard them out of hand based on a small technical issue that has nothing to do with their experience or education.

        I definitely don’t think I’d apply for a job with a manager who was so fickle and had to have things just so that they’d potentially risk the best candidate just because they didn’t like how their resume went.

      6. Legal jobs

        I’m a job seeker, and I can tell you that if you were to say
        Something like that to me, I would see it as a red flag about you as a manager.

        I just recently got an opportunity, and one thing I liked about the manager was she reminded me the process is a two way street. She works at a large company over two dozen lawyers so it is not like she works without rules.

        The kind of rigidity that you are describing would suggest to me in an interview that you would be adding rules like this to my work load.

        I’m sure with the bad economy this has not hurt your hiring and retention. In a good one, I wonder if it will.

  5. Adam

    Now I have a mental image of Alison in military fatigues standing before I line of new recruits…

  6. Lucy

    Love this. Unless instructed otherwise, I usually write the cover letter in the body of an email and attach my resume- it seems more efficient that way!

    1. IronMaiden

      I recently included the cover letter in the body of the email and they rang me up to ask for a cover letter. :S Then again it was a fairly old fashoined organisation so they might not be fully up on modern communication.

  7. JAX

    After the discussion about online applications and Alison’s HR department readers saying that they prefer to use the company’s application rather than a resume, I’m discouraged by the whole hiring process.

    If my resume is just “fluff” to be cut and pasted into computer boxes, and there isn’t even a space to upload a cover letter, I’m left to assume that the hiring manager is only interesting in pulling a certain skill or past job title from the application boxes. There isn’t anything I can do to influence HR. I either have the skill or I don’t.

    Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but I’m discouraged. The whole process feels like a crap shoot.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      And you saw the hiring managers on that post saying they barely look at the application system and focus on the resume, right?

      Your resume isn’t fluff. An application system puts it in a more standard format for that company, but it’s hardly disregarding the content. The content is just going into their system.

      1. LAI

        Yes, I was one of those people saying that we do read the resumes. And we want the cover letters. I hate my organization’s system because it only allows you to upload one document and many people thinks this means that they can’t/shouldn’t submit a cover letter, but they should! We specifically state in our job postings that candidates should submit a single document containing a cover letter and resume.

        1. JAX

          But unless someone knows how to merge documents (and thinks to “trick” the system) they aren’t going to be able to pull that off.

          Perfect example: My husband. As a 42 year old licensed professional counselor, he wasn’t computer savy enough to do a PDF merge when applying for a supervisor position at the hospital. And, since he spends most of his day providing therapy and not sitting at a computer, that’s understandable. He called me after hitting submit, upset because there was no place to attach his cover letter. When I told him he could have merged them into one PDF, he was really upset and kicking himself for blowing his chance. The rules are “DON’T CONTACT” and once it’s submitted, there are no revisions.

          Asking applicants to submit documents but not providing a clear path to do that means that lots of qualified candidates (probably the older ones) won’t know the trick to get it all in.

          1. Joey

            Merge? Is it that hard to include a cover letter and résumé in one document file?

            1. A Bug!

              It’s not that tricky, really. Which is why I’m kicking myself because I failed to do so on a recent application I submitted. I think my brain was tricking me because it didn’t want to write one.

              Independent of all other factors, I would love to go back to a time where a person could just show up to an employer and say “Hey, I rule, take a chance on me” and they’d say “You’ve got gumption, kid, we’ll give you a shot.” I know I’m rad, but I couldn’t tell you why to save my life.

          2. LAI

            I agree that expecting candidates to figure out to merge the documents is tricky – which is why I said that I hate our system, and why we include the specific instruction to submit both as one document. Once we’ve explicitly stated that, I don’t think it’s too much to expect someone to figure out how to merge the two documents together. You can copy and paste in Word and then create the PDF.

            1. voluptuousfire

              To be frank, it’s really nothing a quick Googling wouldn’t be able to solve. One can also insert a new page into their resume document and just copy and paste their cover letter into there and save it as a PDF. I’ve done that before. But again, not everyone knows how to do that either.

        2. Anx

          I’ve applied to one company several times (with people there encouraging me) and there is some secret backdoor way to add a cover letter I discovered accidentally once and have never found since. Online application systems are an absolute nightmare.

    2. Joey

      Skills, years of experience, education, titles are only the first things I look at. If those are good I look at what you’ve accomplished in the relevant jobs. You can definitely influence me with your accomplishments whether they’re in the résumé or on the app. If you don’t include a résumé that’s a ding on most professional jobs. If you don’t include a good cover letter you’ve missed out on an opportunity to wow me.

    3. JenTheNiceHRGirl

      Every company is different, but our application system is really easy to use, you just upload your resume and your info gets populated, you enter some additional info like references, and then you are done. It makes it easy for me because I can log in and see all of the new candidates and start reviewed resumes. if they all came into my e-mail it would be pretty easy for me to miss something, accidentally delete something, have something go to my SPAM and not realize it… I understand where you are coming from though. I often hear complaints from other people in my profession who say that their systems are just really difficult to navigate.

      1. Gilby

        I have used ones like that. One worked great and populated it perfectly. One… not so much.

        Either way I like that fact the company is trying to make the application part easy.

  8. Addiez

    I work at a non-profit that is currently doing a lot of hiring. Our big complaint with long resumes is when we see one from someone who graduated in 2009 or 2010 that’s two pages long but includes high school merits and college internships. Honestly, we don’t care about the three months you spent in a banking internship in college. I think the important thing to remember is that everything should be current and relevant. If you’ve done relevant work and it doesn’t fit in one page, fine. If you’re including stuff that we don’t care about and we still have to turn the page, we start to wonder about your decisionmaking and ability to be concise.

    1. nep

      This makes sense. Seems to me a resume shows not only background and experience but also one’s ability to discern and be concise.

  9. College Student

    If you ARE just out of school.. Which should it be? One or two pages? I went to career services on my campus and at least half the stuff they told me about resumes has been debunked on AAM.

    1. Michelle

      One page! The majority of college students/recent grads won’t have enough worthwhile experience to fill more than one page — and worthwhile is they key word here. You might have had a ton of retail jobs, volunteer positions, clubs, and internships that you can fill multiple pages with, but it’s unlikely that 100% of them are relevant to the jobs you’ll be applying for.

      1. gingersnap

        Is there a difference between college and grad school? I finished undergrad in 2007 and my masters in 2010- do I count as a recent grad?

      2. Anx

        What I don’t understand to the one page rule is that that leaves no room to talk about your accomplishments or even your work duties. Should graduates abandon the chronological format, then, and switch to a functional resume format?

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          The point is that there really should be, given your lower amount of work experience. If at 40 I can do my resume in two pages, at 25 you should certainly be able to do it in one, no?

  10. Daisy

    UK question, if anyone knows- what’s the current state of thinking on GCSEs/ A Levels on a CV? Some people say list them all, some summarize, some that you don’t need it all if you’ve got a degree. I’m redoing mine and I’ve got ‘X School, 20xx-xx, 4 A Levels A-C, 12 GCSEs A*-C.’ Is that about right? Too much/ not enough?

    1. anonintheUK

      I would have thought that would do, and if they want more, they’ll ask.

      1. SaraD, in Scotland

        I wouldn’t include GCSEs at all, to be honest – the A levels are the important thing, especially if you have a degree. Its kind of understood tbat if you have A levels you must have got GCSEs on the way.

        But if its just a few words then probably not worth losing any sleep over! I dont include my standard grades unless specifically asked (but then I’m older and so they are even less important).

    2. BritCred

      Once you have A levels or higher: use “12 GCSE’s at A-C grades including Maths, English and Science”

      A Levels I do leave in the subject names personally as it does help show your thinking to date and where your thoughts lie. I do this as “A Levels – Subject (Grade), Subject (Grade) and Subject (Grade).

      Once you are in your 30’s or older? Show the degree and miss the rest out. They can ask if they want to know…

    3. Kera

      My rule of thumb is to include the two highest levels of qualification – so when I was applying for jobs during uni, it was GCSEs and A-levels. Once I’d got my degree, A-levels and degree. Now, degree and masters. I’d also recommend dropping all school info off your CV once you’re past 30-ish, with a decent amount of career history, if you’ve a degree. Some employers may ask – probably a feature of application systems than anything else, though I did have an interviewer who was very interest in my GCSEs, for a position which required a MSc at minimum. They were a bit odd.

    4. Coach Cupcake

      Skip the GSCEs entirely, no one will care once you are past A Level. And personally, once you have a degree I’d skip the A Levels too, unless you are applying for something that has A Level requirements listed.

      If you had truly outstanding A Level results it might make a bit more sense to me to keep them on there until you have a little more experience, but I really don’t think anyone is going to care once you are out of uni (frankly, once I got into uni, no one cared about my school results ever again).

      1. Daisy

        Thanks everyone! Seems like the answer is “it doesn’t matter”, I might start to leave it off entirely- jobs that care come with application forms that ask for it anyway.

        1. Rayner

          It generally doesn’t matter, and the most I’ve ever seen has been to request if you have A*-C in Maths and English. Make sure you have the paperwork to prove it, in case someone asks, but generally, don’t bother.

  11. LuvsALaff

    What do you guys think about cover letters? Do I really need one? I have never sent one and have gotten interviews. Just wondering if i would get more interviews with one.

    1. Diet Coke Addict

      I must strongly encourage you to check out the “cover letters” section of archives here. Alison recommends it extremely strongly.

      1. Tina

        The way I look at a cover letter is that it’s a chance to promote myself in a way that the resume doesn’t always do. So I’d rather maximize the opportunity to present myself. At worst, it takes a bit of time, and at best, it can help differentiate you from the crowd.

        And working in higher education, cover letters are required for most professional positions, so I don’t have much of a choice anyway :)

    2. Ash (the other one!)

      Yes. You need a cover letter. After I revamped based on AAM’s advice I got so many more interviews.

    3. Addiez

      DEFINITE YES! You may get some interviews, but we wouldn’t consider interviewing someone who didn’t send a cover letter. To be fair, we do ask for it in our posted job description, so it would show that the person doesn’t follow directions and also doesn’t care enough to write a letter.

    4. AnotherAlison

      My $.02 is that the need for a cover letter increases as your background and fit with the job decreases. I have a weird background, so I always feel like I need to make a clear, written statement to tie everything together for the HM. If you’re a spot-on match for a job that is fairly straightforward, I think it’s less critical, but still doesn’t hurt.

      1. Stephanie

        I need to get better about sending them with every application. I don’t always do that, especially if it’s a really clear fit from the posting.

        I also have a kind of odd background, so I’ll send them if it’s not an obvious fit or there’s some issue that needs to be addressed further (such as relocation).

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Stephanie! Given what a regular reader you are here and what you’ve shared about your frustrating job search, I am horrified and aghast at this information. Seriously, you’ve made it clear that you’re dying for a great job — so given what a help an awesome cover letter can be, this is crazy. You have to vow to change this right away or we’re going to send you to some kind of awful AAM purgatory.

          1. Stephanie

            I vow to do better.

            Not much of an excuse aside from burnout, really. Plus, it didn’t help matters when I would get an interview without including one, so that just sent mixed signals about their efficacy.

            But you are right. And I do find it’s a lot easier to interview when I have a cover letter for reference.

            1. Joey

              A really good résumé will get you interviews. A really good resumes with a good cover letter will get a hiring manager excited to interview you. You choose.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                I’d go further than that: A really good resume will get you some interviews, but there will be plenty of times when the hiring manager has more really good resumes than interview slots. And a great cover letter can put you at the top of that pile, whereas otherwise you might not even be interviewed, because there are so many other people who are similarly qualified.

                1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

                  Is it just me? I haven’t been hiring for a few years, but back when I was I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even have looked at a resume without a cover letter.

                2. Ask a Manager Post author

                  It’s not just you.

                  I think there are a few industries where they’re not as much of a thing, but generally, yeah, they matter quite a bit.

              2. Gilby

                I just spent 1/2 hr or more crafting a cover. I got the job off a state job employment site that lists job per county.

                I went to send the cover/resume to the link provided ( the company link) only to find the job wasn’t there. Come to find out the job was in an entirely different county to far for me to drive.

                Well… I have decided my cover was awesome and I would have gotten an interview if I had sent it in.

                How’s that for positive thinking after wasting a little of my time !!

                ( Hey its my fantasty I can see it anyway I want! )

                1. Stephanie

                  I’ve had to tell myself that I am writing The Most Fascinating Thing Ever. It’s cheesy, but it makes it seem less like drudgery.

                  I learned this trick while I was studying reading comprehension for a standardized test and found the passages really dull. Even if it was an outright lie, I’d tell myself “This is going to be so interesting and I’m going to learn something about dinosaurs/Native Americans/evolution/art history.*”

                  *Seriously, though, ETS loves passages about these topics.

              3. Stephanie

                Good point. Thinking back, interviews I did land sans cover letter were because there was a pretty clear link between my resume and the posting (and then I didn’t get those jobs, so…)

                To be clear, I do write them most of the time*. When I would skip, it’d be some posting at Giant MegaCorp that already had an hour-long ATS application. After that, I’d just be discouraged and think “Meh, HR will probably just screen me out anyway after they see I don’t have the exact experience. Why bother with the cover letter?” But those applications rarely led anywhere and were really only good for making me feel like I was accomplishing things in my job search (i.e., “Look at all these application confirmation emails! I have things to report to the UI office!”)

                The vast majority of interviews I did land (and interview processes where I advanced past the initial round), I did include a cover letter where I could speak to why I was interested and what I could do for the organization.

                This was a very roundabout way of saying I agree with both of you and I just need to stick with it all the time. Mea culpa.

                *Yes, I will switch this to all the time.

          2. Stephanie

            Given what a regular reader you are here and what you’ve shared about your frustrating job search, I am horrified and aghast at this information. Seriously, you’ve made it clear that you’re dying for a great job

            Also…apologies. I realize I’ve been complaining and despairing about that frequently. So I also vow to change that and have more constructive comments.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              No, I didn’t mean it that way at all! (Reading that back over, I see how it sounded like that. It’s not what I meant!) I just know you’re searching, and I don’t want to see you pass up such an effective way of getting interviews. You are obviously smart and thoughtful and driven — I want you to do yourself the service of letting it show with a cover letter!

            2. businesslady

              hey! I actually love editing (& do it for the living) & have helped a bunch of people with their cover letters. if you’d like to have a second set of eyes on your applications, shoot me an email–I’d be happy to see if I can help make things more effective.

              1. Stephanie

                Hi! Sure, thanks for the offer. You can email me at stephanie dot m dot jennings at gmail dot com and we can talk further.

          3. Vicki

            I’m imagining “some kind of awful AAM purgatory.” It would have no cat pictures and no laughter and very bad advice (e.g. be sure to write your resume in icing on a large sheet cake to deliver to the hiring manager).

    5. LAI

      I think this may depend on your field. I work in college administration and it’s basically a necessity – I can’t remember if I’ve ever even interviewed someone who didn’t submit a cover letter. If so, they were definitely in the minority and must have been an otherwise perfect candidate. I know that some other fields view it as something nice to add but not essential. But I think the main point is that it may *sometimes* hurt to not have a cover letter, whereas I’m pretty sure that having one is never a bad thing (assuming it is well written, specific to the job and otherwise follows all of Alison’s advice).

    6. Joey

      You want the truth? Lots of hiring managers look at the résumé first and won’t bother with a cover letter if the résumé doesn’t have the right experience. But a good cover letter can make a good candidate stand out in a sea of good resumes. And considering so few people actually write good cover letters I think its worth it. Just know quite a few managers won’t make it past your résumé unless your résumé gives them reason to. Which also means that a poorly written one can harm you too.

      1. KayDay

        When I screen candidates, I definitely look at the resume first (actually, one of my better career advisors told me to assume this would happen when writing my cover letters–the cover letter should add depth to the resume, not the other way around). If you get rejected at this point, no awesome cover letter could have saved you because you flat out weren’t qualified. Then I look at the cover letters of those people who are at least minimally qualified.

        However, that in no way negates that a cover letter is absolutely necessary. You won’t get the job without it, because (a) you will look like a fool if you don’t send one (in the jobs in my field, a cover letter is mandatory or your application would be considered incomplete; and it’s need it usually mentioned in job ads and online app systems) and (b) the extra information from the cover letter becomes necessary once you make it pas the initial do-you-stand-a-chance screen.

        1. Persephone Mulberry

          And this, to me, is a plug for putting your cover letter in the body of the email – it makes it just a smidgen more likely that the letter will at least be skimmed before the hiring manager clicks open the resume attachment. ;)

          1. KayDay

            It really doesn’t matter, though. A good cover letter won’t save you if you aren’t qualified, so it doesn’t matter if it gets skimmed or not. (at least for me, in my field).

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              It’s not that it will save you if you’re not qualified; it’s that if you’re one of dozens/hundreds who are qualified, it can be the thing that gets you an interview.

            2. class factotum

              I have gotten interviews for jobs that don’t exist specifically because of my cover letter. In one case, I wrote to say that I wasn’t qualified for the position that was posted but I wanted to work for that person. The hiring manager called for an interview and told me he loved my cover letter.

              I get great feedback on my cover letters.

      2. LMW

        That really depends on the field though — I hire writers, editors, graphic designers, etc. I look at the cover letter first, the samples second, and then, if I think they are promising, I might look at the resume. But I also tend to hire more freelancers than employees, so their less weight on job history than there is on work samples (and the cover letter is kind of a work sample).

      1. Hiring Mgr

        Wonder if it’s different in the software sales world…As a hiring manager in that industry I have never looked at a candidate’s cover letter…I really just get their resumes forwarded from HR if they meet certain criteria and take it from there..

        For me personally, I can’t imagine what a cover letter would add to the process.

    7. hayling

      It depends a lot on the hiring manager, and also the position. For example, I’m in marketing. I appreciate good writing and am turned off by bad writing. I also hire for positions that require good writing skills. So your cover letter will be important when I’m hiring.

      However other coworkers who are hiring for less writing-intensive jobs (sales, support, etc.) and who are less into reading/writing than I am don’t really care about writing. In fact my CEO said he hardly reads cover letters.

      TLDR: It may not matter but a good cover letter can only help you so why not do it.

    8. Sunflower

      I was shocked when my friend told me she never sent cover letters or modified her resume at all to jobs she was applying to. We’re in the same field so I was even more shocked to find out she was getting interviews and I wasn’t. She did have more experience than me and at the end of the day, having the experience is going to get you an interview. However, it took her almost a year to find a new job and I wonder if she had taken the time to work on her resume, if it could have happened sooner. Or how many jobs she was passed over on because someone with similar credentials did take the time to write the letter.

      I dream of a world where I would never have to write cover letters or revise resumes. I could sent out probably over 40 applications a day.

    9. SLD

      Since so many managers are reading this and I’m writing cover letters, tailored to the job and still not having luck, I read back through the AAM archives. My cover letters are formal, comparing my skills to the job description and elaborating in a way that isn’t shown on my resume. Do slightly less formal ones work better, that show more personality? I’ve been freelancing for the past 2 years and I really want a full time job. I’m in same boat as this person: http://www.askamanager.org/2011/09/great-cover-letter.html I could write a letter like that, but I’d be afraid because that’s “not how I was raised”.

  12. Gene

    Now coming up on 40 years out of school and my resume, should I have a need for it, could easily be one page.

    Of course, I’ve been in the same job since 1991 and the same type of job since 1982. :-)

    1. Joey

      Although I’m sure you could easily have listed enough promotions /moves/accomplishments to push it past one page, no? Just wanted to point out that tenure doesn’t necessarily make it easy to keep it short and sweet.

      1. Gene

        Nope, same job classification, only promotion point (my boss) has been here 35 years, even same desk (been through a few chairs though…). There are lots of accomplishments, but no way I could pad this thing into two pages and look at myself in the mirror.

        Something like this:

        Job 1, Employer 1, 1991 to present
        – Wrote New Ordinance – 3 times
        – Wrote Policies and Procedures for X – 2 times
        – Wrote Policies and Procedures for Y – 2 times
        – Wrote Policies and Procedures for Z – 3 times
        – Day to day thing 1
        – Day to day thing 2
        – Day to day thing 3
        – Day to day thing 4
        – Day to day thing 5

        Job 2, Employer 2, 1987-1991
        – Deveoped New Program from Scratch
        – Wrote New Ordinance
        – Wrote Policies and Procedures for X
        – Wrote Policies and Procedures for Y
        – Wrote Policies and Procedures for Z
        – Day to day thing 1
        – Day to day thing 2
        – Day to day thing 3
        – Day to day thing 4

        Job 3, Employer 3, 1982-1987
        – Day to day thing 1
        – Day to day thing 2
        – Day to day thing 3
        – Day to day thing 4

        1. hayling

          Here’s the thing – your resume shouldn’t be your job description, it should show your accomplishments. Less “day to day” and more “improved x” or “increased y metric.”

          1. thingtwo

            :( I thought that was good. I unfortunately have a list of duties on my resume too. My thinking (which apparently doesn’t coincide with Hiring Managers) is that most of my jobs entailed day-to-day work. It’s hard to think up things to put for accomplishments and get-er-done work, when I was just doing my job. Especially, in jobs that were retail. Accomplishment #1 Didn’t give whiny customer a shiner. #2 Mopped up diarrhea that was all over bathroom floor, so no one slipped. That doesn’t sound good on a resume. It probably doesn’t sound good on Ask A Manager either. But, for Admin work I wrote two accomplishments and the rest was a list of duties. I really need to work on that. Resumes are just such a pain in the butt, and then there are cover letters, and thank you notes.

            1. LBK

              I think duties are only worth listing if they aren’t clear from the job description. If you’re listing a receptionist position, it’s pretty obvious this entails answering phones, greeting and directing people coming in, etc. Those don’t need to be listed. But if you also had an atypical responsibility like assisting with billing or skimming resumes for HR, those should be called out. They aren’t really accomplishments, but they show experience in areas that wouldn’t be immediately apparent from your job title.

              For example, in retail were you called to cover other departments frequently, showing you have the ability to easily switch hats as needed? Did you act as the de facto manager on duty sometimes, showing you have the ability to handle escalations and experience balancing customer/business needs? Were you involved in cash administration, showing you’re trustworthy with sensitive work and have strong attention to numerical detail? Those are all good transferrable skills that might not be obvious if you just list “Cashier at Target” on your resume.

              1. thingtwo

                Thanks for the help! My rule was unless guns were drawn and/or the cops were called, the owner was not getting called on this day off. With the Admin thing, I just worry, because those are the jobs that I am applying for. When I first got let go in 2010, the Admin jobs that got posted had nothing to do with the work I had experience for. It’s like people just throw Administrative Assistant on any support work, whether it’s accounting, front desk, HR, office manager, personal assistant, or office clerk, etc. So, I only apply for the jobs I have verbatim experience for and want them to know it. I am definately going to change it up though. It definately is not going to hurt, being that I am getting no results. I have since had two cashier jobs and am back looking for an admin job. Of course, 4 years seperated from that experience might be the issue too.

  13. Anonylicious

    Speaking of resume length, how many years back should it go? As far back as you have relevant experience, or is there a length of time beyond which your early career positions no longer belong on your resume?

    1. Joey

      There’s no clear line. It depends on the accommishments and their relevancy to the work you’re applying for. Although, Look for a clean break in your relevant work. I tend to consider about the most recent 5-7 years as the most relevent and trailing off from there.

    2. KayDay

      I’ve heard 10 years or since you graduated as a rough-and-ready rule. But don’t take that too literally, just try to keep everything relevant.

  14. OhNo

    Here’s a question. I know it says “recent grads” should keep their resume short and sweet, but I’m still a grad student and I have a 1 and a 1/2 to 2 page resume full of internships. They are all relevant to my field and show a progression of getting more experience and having more responsibility (I think, anyway, assuming I’ve framed them right).

    Is featuring all the multiple internships worth having a long resume as a student/recent grad? Would it be better to reduce the number of bullet points for each and/or leave some of the internships off entirely to make the resume shorter?

    1. AAA

      I’ve had exactly this problem. I finished my Ph.D. in Dec 2012 and have varied internships/temporary/part time/contract positions that all show different things. Plus now I’m in a job outside my field (professional work, but taken out of financial necessity), so my year and a half of recent professional experience here isn’t really showcasing what I want to do with my career.
      My resume is 2 pages. I’ve gotten interviews, but no offers yet…

    2. Joey

      Why not just show the most recent one or two and talk about the progression in your cover letter. Because when I see Sr. Anything, I kind of assume that person has master Jr. Anything.

      1. OhNo

        It’s not a strict progression, from Junior Teapot Manufacturer to Senior Teapot Manufacturer. It’s more like… Teapot Handle-Making Intern to Teapot Body-Making Intern to Teapot Spout Design Intern. Especially with the bullet points, it’s clear that I’ve had more responsibility in each successive role.

        It might be possible to mention the progression of skills in the cover letter, though, if that would work instead of listing them all out on the resume.

        1. Joey

          You might list it this way

          Internships:
          -teapot handle maker
          -teapot design
          -teapot testing

    3. Elysian

      Yes! I just wrote something similar up above. My post-law-school resume is one page, but its a really unattractive one page. I’ve been seriously thinking about expanding to a page and a half or so so that I could… increase the font… and have margins again. It would be weird to leave off such recent and related stuff (“Why didn’t she have a job her 1L summer? Was she not hire-able?”) but its getting to the point where its way too dense as it is.

    4. Lizzy

      This is just my two cents based on personal experience: if it needs to be 2 pages, that is fine. I graduated with my MPA in 2011 — 3 years out from undergrad — and my resume ended up being 2 pages from that point on. Like you, I had tons of internships and even freelance work to my name. And for what is worth, my current resume gets a great response (it is the interview process I am trying to overcome, but that is another story). There are times I may only apply for 8-10 jobs a month, but I often get 2 or more callbacks from each cohort of resumes I sent out. No one has ever mentioned length, including staffing agencies who have provided other constructive criticisms.

      That being said, I have made sure to maintain my 2-pager and have had to cut out less relevant at information. I also maintain all my freelance work under one main section, versus listing all my freelance jobs.

      Depending on what types of position you are applying for, I would recommend tidying up as much as you can and making sure the most relevant information shows up. But anyone who has gone to grad school with multiple internships and work experiences will likely testify that it is hard to not have your resume leak onto a second page.

      1. Lizzy

        And boo at all my typos!

        TL;DR – tidy up your resume, but it isn’t terrible if it has to go to a second page, especially for grad students with lots of internship and freelance experience.

  15. hnl123

    I got a 6 page CV for an internship position from a student in college. 6 pages! I know people with decades of experience who can trim it down better than that! I laughed.

    1. Betsy

      I once was part of the interview team for someone with a 16-page resume. And six years of experience. I didn’t even bother reading it before talking with him, because it made my brain melt.

      1. hnl123

        dang, 16! That’s quite the accomplishment. I don’t know if I could write that many bullet points about my entire life! :)

        I actually would not have been so dismissive if the content in the six pages were substantial, but it was basically five pages of fluff, like every single club he/she’s ever been involved in complete with bullet points… you get the idea.

        1. Betsy

          No, it was a programming job. The first THREE PAGES were a “summary” and “skill list.” Then there was around half a page for each job, most of which were 3-6 month contract positions. Then there were certifications, education (including all his courses), and so on. There was a lot of white space in there, too.

          I skimmed the first page, flipped through to the beginning of the jobs, skimmed employers and dates, then gave up. I feel a little badly about it, but I had mentally dismissed the guy before walking in the door. It just really annoyed me that he expected us to have the time and interest to slog through this monster resume.

    2. Lizzy

      What could someone in college possibly even have to share that takes up 6 pages? Poetry samples? Glamour head shots? An excerpt from the screenplay they are working on?

      1. Chocolate Teapot

        I seem to remember that if applying for jobs in Germany, it’s normal to submit a CV which runs to umpteen pages. Mind you, it’s also normal to include a photograph and your qualifications (degree certificate, diploma etc) which are all returned to you afterwards.

  16. Call Girl

    I would be thrilled if I could get an actual human being to read my cover letter/resume. Not even getting to that step! Sadly it’s getting filtered by automated keyword scanning software.

    Anybody having problems with on line assessments/questionnaires? One place had the question “Do you like to take naps?” Well yes, but not at work so what do I answer, yes, no, N/A?

    1. Cat Geek

      Most of those questionaires want you to answer as if you’re a customer service robot. Outgoing, high energy, willing to take shit from anyone, never made a mistake, no life outside of work, etc.

      Despite what they may say, there are right and wrong answers. The answer to the naps question is probably no, the idea being that people who take naps are lazy. Would a customer service robot take naps?

      Those questionaires are generally pass/fail, and no one sees your answers. The hiring manager just gets a score for the people who passed.

  17. en pointe

    Not sure if I’m too late here, but should your resume have any mention of high school if you’re still in college (2nd year), and applying for internships, etc., or leave it off completely?

    1. KayDay

      Personally, I kept my high school highlights on until I had my first real-work-in-my-field-related internship (so through the summer after my second year).

  18. Brett

    I missed this post while away at a conference…
    What you did in high school may not matter, but sadly it still often matters where you went to high school.

    I find it almost disturbing how many offices I walk into around here and find out that every single employee in the office went to the same high school or the same high school and sister high school. (All private. Our metro has a very high private school attendance rate.)

  19. mess

    I’m a little late to the party, but for cover letters I usually put it in the body of the email and then say, “my resume, along with a copy of this letter, is attached” just in case they want to print it out/circulate it around or whatever. Not sure if that’s overkill or not but it seems to work okay.

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