IMAGE – PART I: RESUME and COVER LETTER

I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes and have interviewed close to 1,000 candidates during my career in real estate. A resume is an extension of your image. The purpose of a resume is to get you, at a minimum, a telephone interview, and the purpose of a phone interview is to get you a personal interview. The poor quality of resumes I have received boggles my mind. Many resumes can be sent electronically, but if you have to deliver a hard copy, stick to a neutral color such as white or off-white and good quality paper; forgo the colors of the rainbow. Also, forget having an “objective” header at the top of your resume—it doesn’t provide any detail as to your qualifications. It’s more important to have a header describing your overall qualifications. Your resume should be one page in length unless you have many years of experience; only then may you employ two pages. Use bullet points to describe your specific duties and responsibilities during your employment history, and use action words (developed, initiated, trained, etc.) where possible. You’d be surprised how many resumes suffer from misspelled words and poor grammar. With spell check on computers, there is no excuse for any misspelling. Poor grammar is another problem. If grammar is not your strong suit, have someone you trust review your resume or pay for a resume review service. The cover letter is where the biggest challenges are presented. Misspelled names, words and poor grammar are job killers. Describe how the qualifications listed in your resume specifically relate to the position for which you are applying. If you have gaps in your resume, they should be explained in your cover letter. I place poorly drafted resumes and cover letters in my circular filing bin (read: trash).

– Terry Schwartz

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