Three Tips When Applying to a Job

Three Tips when Applying to a Job

As a fellow young professional, I recall reading many articles and blogs about how to make your resume and/or cover letter stand out among the masses. While it was great advice, I have some of my own advice to share after reviewing more than 175 resumes for a recent position that I hired for.

Engage! Cleveland is a small nonprofit organization. Thus, our staff wears many hats. As President, the human resources function falls under my responsibilities. I spent a large amount of time crafting the perfect description for our Marketing, Events & Development Manager position and was impressed by both the number of applications I was receiving and the quality. Until, I began to run into many of the same errors on the application materials.

During my review process, there were three issues that repeatedly stood out to me. Thus, while it is only my advice and I am no resume/cover letter guru, I wanted to share.

  1. Correct Position - Please make sure that if you are using the same cover letter for every job that you apply for that you take five seconds and update the position title and company name. I can’t tell you how many people had stellar resumes, but I couldn’t get past such a large mistake, which normally occurred in the first or second sentence. There is nothing that comes across as I’ll take this job or any other job as much as this common error.
  2. Typos – This is when you should be dotting every I and crossing every T. Typos in a resume or cover letter are a quick way to lose your potential employer’s interest and those resumes often end up in my no pile quickly. Proofreading often takes only a few minutes and it’s easy to run a spell check on these important documents. It shows you take time to present your best work and sets your best self forward. Having no mistakes on a resume often shows you’ll be as detail oriented in your position.
  3. Attachments – Please save attachments with your name in the title. For example, Ashley Oeken_Resume before attaching to an email. I had many resumes that were called resume, marketing resume, resume updated, among others. It made it nearly impossible to search in my save folder and find the ones I was looking for. As a small nonprofit, we don’t have an entire human resources team or function, therefore anything that helps to save me time is looked on favorably.

These might seem like obvious tips, but as someone who reviews a number of resumes, these easily avoidable mistakes happen quite often. Before you apply for your next job, I hope you take these quick and easy tips into consideration.


Ashley Basile Oeken is President of Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to attract, engage and retain young, diverse talent to the Greater Cleveland area