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Is it time to update your job-search tactics?

January 18, 2012

Image: Kate Kunz/Corbis
Image: Kate Kunz/Corbis

Using outdated job-search tactics marks you as out of touch, Liz Ryan writes for Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Tools that were once useful but are now dangerous include fancy résumé paper and envelopes, which she calls “a 1980s artifact.” Most résumés now reach employers electronically, but when you print one yourself, use plain white bond paper and keep the formatting simple. What matters is the content.

In the Internet age, it’s become a sign of laziness to use the antiquated “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” in a cover letter. If you can’t find the person’s name, then skip the cover letter altogether. Also remember that groveling doesn’t work, Ryan says, so retire those lists of “10 reasons you should hire me” — along with any gratuitous research on the company. You’re looking for a job, not a pat on the head. Act as a consultant and business adviser during your search. 

It’s also time to dump those long lists of bullet points describing the daily tasks of every job on your résumé, Ryan advises. With everyone’s time and attention now in short supply, limit each position to two or three bullets that tell the story of what you’ve accomplished in your career. After an interview, your thank-you note or e-mail should continue the substantive conversation you started during the interview, not beg for a job. — Greg Beaubien


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