In these challenging economic times, it is tempting to use all means available to differentiate yourself.
But not everything goes over so well. As a recruiter with 15 years' experience, I want to share examples of candidate submissions that are deadly to achieving your goal of a great new job!
TMI: If you are tempted to tell a recruiter or future employer why you are seeking a new job in your résumé, don't. Examples that have crossed my desk include, in the resume Objective: "My boss and I have been dating for the past few months. It started out great but now he wants to fire me even though I perform all my duties" or "When your supervisor does too much coke at night, he does not have his eye on the ball during the day." Including too much information won't get you sympathy or an interview.
Words count: A resume is a marketing tool, and should be professionally and neutrally presented. Use the pronoun "I" sparingly, if at all. Resumes written in the third person seem very outdated and, yes, a little crazy: "He has worked for the former Chase Manhattan for 28 years and now needs a new position." Use keywords and formatting to organize your resume for visual appeal. The recruiter or employer may give your resume less than two minutes, so make them count.
Picture-perfect: You aren't required to submit a photo of yourself with a resume, though a business-appropriate image may be attached at the top of the resume or to an email. A highly recommended engineer sent me a near-naked photo of himself while on location in snowy Canada. Perhaps he was trying to dispel the idea that engineers are dull? I deleted the photo and his documents, and he was not invited to interview. Another candidate sent a picture taken at a funeral. He was standing in front of a casket, dressed in a dark suit. Don't send a photo with a sad association.
Document drama: It is also a bad idea to send confidential documents as examples of your work or latest deal. I recently received a privileged legal communication sent from a candidate's employer to him. Please feel free to offer examples but do not send legal documents, diploma copies or certificates from middle school.
Send it in style: Submitting your resume electronically is the preferred method for most recruiters and employers, although some may still offer a fax number. If you choose to fax your resume, do not fax an image of your smiling face over the fax machine. This is just creepy. If you decide to mail a resume (if you are replying to a newspaper ad), using a colorful envelope can actually help get your resume opened. Using stickers on the envelope may be a bad idea.
The name game: When you submit your resume, consider the email address you are sending from. When an otherwise good resume was sent to me from "nofatchicksformike" I requested that he resend the resume from a different email account. Another highly qualified candidate sent her resume from "babyboylicks" -- and I did not ask for a resend.