Originally created 12/24/01

Don't ask potential boss to circulate resume for you

"Please feel free to make copies and distribute this resume to your branch offices, subsidiaries and other potentially interested parties. Your cooperation in this matter is sincerely appreciated."

Don't mention it.

The job market is the most competitive it's been in years, which means job seekers must work harder than ever to make their resumes stand out. Asking a potential employer to circulate materials on your behalf is an almost certain way to take yourself out of the running.

Hiring managers today are looking for what you can do for them, not the other way around. Therefore, your goal should always be to demonstrate how you will add value to the company.

This next applicant made no demands, but he did wax on about personal interests - a red flag for hiring managers.

"I am a man of many hobbies and interests, including electronic circuit design, film-going, learning new languages and restoring antique automobiles. I am also very fond of ballet."

Where does your work experience fit in?

Here's the first line from a cover letter:

"If I don't find a job soon, things could get ugly."

And from another letter, this one following an interview:

"I really enjoyed meeting you, but I can't understand why you haven't called since the interview. If you don't hire me, you'll have to live with the fact that you let me get away."

We'll take our chances.

These next job seekers are nothing if not confident. The trick is to balance that confidence with a bit of humility:

"I'm a generalist and performer without peer. There's no challenge I can't handle because I'm an 'ideas' man whose work is the only reason I get out of bed in the morning."

You have to value his initiative.

"I live a healthy life and have a lovely family. We live in a large, comfortable home that has been professionally decorated. My happiest moments are coming home from work and playing with my dog."

What about the rest of the family?

And, finally:

"Graduated from elementary school, first in line."

Should we tell her the lines are alphabetical?

(Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc., a specialized staffing firm, is author of Managing Your Career For Dummies and Job Hunting For Dummies. For more Resumania, please visit www.resumania.com.)


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