I have come to the conclusion that some job hunters need a little reminder from an employer about how to make yourself look like a good candidate. One would think these things are just common sense, but judging by the number of resumes I get that don’t follow these simple rules, it’s not so common anymore! Forgive my rant. And there will be more to come. Here are some of the very basics:

  • When applying for a specific position, gear your resume to that position if you can. If you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, don’t list your acting credits in your resume. If you are applying for a job as an editor, don’t mention your stand-up comedy career.  It’s a fine thing if you do stand-up … but if it has nothing to do with the job for which you are applying, the employer will wonder why you chose to mention it. Is it your primary focus? If so, you don’t need to be my editor.
  • Change your objective to something specifically about the job for which you are applying. Objectives that read something like, “To obtain employment with a company that will utilize my skill set” is simply too vague and because it says absolutely nothing … why even use an objective? I once got a response to an ad for a salesperson of a resume which listed as the objective, “to find work as an airplane mechanic.”  I wonder if he questioned why nobody ever called him back for sales positions. A good objective actually states something about the specific position for which you are applying. It’s ok to change it for each job application.

Look, I know – and other employers know – that times are tough right now. I know that you are looking for jobs all over the place and perhaps you are even looking outside of your originally chosen field. But, I have to weed through a TON of resumes. Please make yours stand out by appearing to have read my ad. And pay attention to the details. 

  • Use a phrase from the ad in your cover letter – it shows that you actually read the ad.
  • If there are special instructions in the ad, follow them. For instance, in my recent ad for a graphic designer, I stated that only resumes accompanied by a specific cover letter and salary history would be considered. And still I received over 50 resumes with no subject line, no cover letter and no salary history at all. Do you think I’m going to consider someone who doesn’t follow the first direction I even give them?

Someone told me that they felt uneasy giving a salary history or requirement in this economy, because they didn’t want to scare off potential employers by asking for too much. Well, here’s the thing: You are looking for a job you will be happy to keep for awhile. I am looking for an employee who will be happy to stay for awhile. If you KNOW from the outset that you will not be able to live on the amount we pay as stated in the ad, please don’t apply. If you think you can live on it, although you are used to making more money, state that although your salary history is higher, you are willing to work for less because of the other perks … nice people, small, friendly office, challenging career move … or whatever.

Recently, I got a cover letter … oh this was priceless … I will paste it here:

“This letter is to express my interest in the {Position Listed in Posting} position listed on CareerBuilder.com. Based on my skill set, I am confident that I would be a great addition to your team. My resume that highlights my ability/knowledge/expertise read in your outline, tells me this could be a perfect fit … and yes, I say that somewhat egotistically, I know … but I believe it to be true. I’ve had one job for 20 years that allowed me to get to this point. Sadly, things change. The opportunity to pursue something like this is exciting … and I would NOT waste your time if I didn’t think I was a perfect fit.”


First – {Position Listed in Posting}????? Hello?

Second – I didn’t advertise on CareerBuilder.com.

Third – There is absolutely NOTHING specific in this whole letter. Even if he got the other stuff right. This letter is too generic.

Fourth – Need I say more?


I got another resume via email that had “exploit me” in the subject line. (hint) If this job or the wage we offer is beneath you, please do not apply. You have just wasted your time in sending the resume and my time as I read it, and you have burnt a possible bridge. I will remember the name of the person who sends that kind of email. And I will not hire them. Ever.


  • Ok … one more thing when answering an ad that states the rate of pay: Don’t ask for twice as much. I am a proponent of asking for more than the stated rate of pay, if you feel that your skills and experience warrant it, but you are never likely to get twice as much as they originally posted. Hit something within the same ballpark if you want to push your luck. Or – if you want the job and don’t want to take any chances, ask for the amount they actually offer.


Times are tough for everyone – including employers. So, if they are offering a lower wage, it’s probably because they can afford to pay that wage and not more.


Ohhhhhhhhhh, I could go on … and I will. But that is my rant of the day, folks. Have a great weekend. And best of luck in your job hunt! 

Leslie Belfor



Check the classifieds section of this week’s Cuvler City News to see what local jobs are available. Also, if you are an employer, think about running your ads in the newspaper. You will know that your employees live nearby, so they are not likely to be late due to traffic. And who wants a long commute to work in the LA traffic, anyway?



10 comments until now

  1. Leslie, Thanks for taking a productive road in your rant. My rants are pointless and simply offensive and name calling. Your above rant is both educational and informative, while you get it off your chest. There’s something for everyone. But sadly the “masses” looking for work won’t get to this item. You are still going to trash nine resumes for each one that makes it into the “Read and consider” stack.

    I will remember your “viewpoint” as an employer the next time I’m in the job market, let’s hope it’s not anytime soon.

  2. Thank you for your comment. You’re right … I am probably just bashing my head against a wall with my rant here, and very little – if anything – will come from it. It does feel good to put it out into cyberspace. It has the effect of playing the song that has been stuck in my head for a week … gives me a little relief.

    Going through all of these resumes will help me to be a better job seeker in the future. However, I must also add a big AMEN! to not being in the job market anytime soon.

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