Writerly Suggestions for Job Seekers

Recently someone I don’t know emailed me to ask for feedback on her resumé. This person, let’s call her Charlie, had been applying for lots of jobs and wasn’t getting called back. Although Charlie and I don’t work in the same industry, I had some feedback for her about how to write and structure her job application.

I’m by no means an expert on HR, but I have applied (successfully and unsuccessfully) for a lot of jobs during my career. When I worked at Facebook, I helped with hiring for the content strategy team and reviewed hundreds of applications. Here’s my best advice based on some common mistakes I’ve seen over and over again:

Include a thoughtful, relevant cover letter

Respond to what’s asked

Be specific

Avoid generalities and clichés

For example, instead of saying “I’m responsible and organized”, say “I managed a cat hotel where I was responsible for keeping up to 25 cats fed, watered, clean and entertained 24 hours a day.”

Image source: https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/7692423680/h0A03E729/

Be concise

Ideally, your resumé should be under two pages long. You don’t have to list everything you’ve ever done. Just focus on the roles you’ve had that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a content strategy role, it probably doesn’t matter that you worked a babysitter when you were 16 years old.

Be confident and direct

Structure content for scanning

Pay attention to details

Hemingway app is a great free tool to help you identify sentences you should simplify and places where you might reframe your use of passive voice to active.

Apply for jobs you want

If you’re looking for a new job this year, good luck!

Image source: http://gph.is/1MQrHQB

Writer and reader. Director of UX for Store Management at Shopify. Formerly designed with words at Facebook. Based in Toronto. http://amythibodeau.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store