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Thread: To cover letter or not to cover letter

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    I found these pointers very useful when I was preparing my resume. Maybe you will, too.

    http://www.holytaco.com/8-common-res...-should-avoid/

    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  2. #27
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Like Imaplanner, I'm comfortable letting my resume speak for itself for most job applications. If I have to write a cover letter, so be it.

    My resume is currently 4 full pages, I think I will create a 3 page alternate version this week. If you are applying for an executive position, you need a finely-tailored cover letter and a fully descriptive resume.
    Hmm. I've always had it hammered into me that a resume of more than 1 page warrants an instant trip to the circular file as the applicant would be perceived to be unable to showcase their experience and strengths in a concise manner.

    At what threshold do you think a long-form resume is appropriate? Just executive, or for a senior planner-type position as well?

  3. #28
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Hmm. I've always had it hammered into me that a resume of more than 1 page warrants an instant trip to the circular file as the applicant would be perceived to be unable to showcase their experience and strengths in a concise manner.

    At what threshold do you think a long-form resume is appropriate? Just executive, or for a senior planner-type position as well?
    I guess it depends on what you are hiring for. I think for planning related positions, it would be difficult to keep it to one page because there are so many facets of this profession possible - a planner here doesn't necessarily do what the planner does in the community next door, and so on so forth. So, in my opinion, a one page resume would show that they don't have a wealth of experience in a wealth of areas, which may be ok.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Hmm. I've always had it hammered into me that a resume of more than 1 page warrants an instant trip to the circular file as the applicant would be perceived to be unable to showcase their experience and strengths in a concise manner.

    At what threshold do you think a long-form resume is appropriate? Just executive, or for a senior planner-type position as well?
    When i re-tailored my resume to have the one-page "summary" that was tailored to each job (at least the main points i felt each job description asked for). Then typically i included project examples and what i completed, or commonly refereed to as "cut-sheets" and additional "experience" sheets that really detailed my tasks and functions. Sometimes my "resume" would range 3 to 5 pages, but really you could sum me up pretty well on my 1st "summary" page if need be, and add on the gravy with the other pages.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Hmm. I've always had it hammered into me that a resume of more than 1 page warrants an instant trip to the circular file as the applicant would be perceived to be unable to showcase their experience and strengths in a concise manner.

    At what threshold do you think a long-form resume is appropriate? Just executive, or for a senior planner-type position as well?
    I think you can move onto 2 pages at about 3-5 years experience, then to a third page around 5-7 years. Fourth page is for executive-level jobs.

    I read a lot of applications, and those are the levels at which I think those lengths are appropriate, at least. But I don't think I rule out people for making their resumes too long, as long as they are interesting resumes.

    And ALWAYS write a cover letter. I think its very different from a resume. It explains why that exact position is one you want, and what you would add to our specific organization...

  6. #31
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I'm in the process of reviewing application submittals for my replacement, and I have to admit I am incredibly sad that so many good candidates based on qualifications and achievements either do not follow instructions or do not follow common business/professional etiquette/protocol. With 108 applicants, this is unfortunately (for these persons) a way to narrow the candidate field.

    I want to know who you are, and cover letters display this better than just about anything short of an interview. I also do not want to see your entire career explained in detail like (and sometimes included with) curriculum vitae. If this were an academic or think tank position, that would be appropriate.

    /rant

    ]
    Only 108 applications?!? You must not have advertised on APA. ;o)

    But I disagree with your assessment: it is an excellent way to weed out candidates.

    [/late to the party]

  7. #32
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Depends on years of experience and level of position.....

    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Hmm. I've always had it hammered into me that a resume of more than 1 page warrants an instant trip to the circular file as the applicant would be perceived to be unable to showcase their experience and strengths in a concise manner.

    At what threshold do you think a long-form resume is appropriate? Just executive, or for a senior planner-type position as well?
    Entry level positions, 1 page
    Mid level positions 1-2 pages max
    Senior level positions with more than 4 previous and relevant employers 2-3 pages
    Executive level positions 3-4 pages with cover letter

    But I could be wrong.....I burned through a LOT of jobs last time I was looking and it could be due to some people thinking there is some artificial rule in place to keep resumes to 1 or 2 pages. I think that's sad. If you can't take the time to figure out if an applicant has the right experience and background, I don't want to work for you.

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  8. #33
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Correct Font Size could assist you, TO.
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  9. #34
    One of my professional goals is to never apply to a job where the joker at the other end is collecting through hundreds of applications like a huge fishing net and applying various bureaucratic mechanisms to sift through them, simply to make his job easier. Every job I've had was through word of mouth, and I see no evidence to believe that trend will change for me.

    FWIW: If you get more than 20 applications for a job, your search isn't focused enough on finding real candidates. Just because you are getting hundreds of applications doesn't mean you have a higher chance of finding that diamond, it just means you have a higher chance of missing the real ones, because the arbitrary, left-brained mechanisms you are using to sort them confound more important traits in character. And on the flip side, if a job-seeker is applying for a job where you expect to be one of one hundred applicants, you're not focusing your search for real employment.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    And on the flip side, if a job-seeker is applying for a job where you expect to be one of one hundred applicants, you're not focusing your search for real employment.

    While I do think that you are giving sound advice, this wasn't an option since none of my professional colleagues were aware of any positions I could apply to, and believe me they were looking. For someone new to the field, there are only so many resources and contacts you can use to try and get the edge on finding a job.

    The job I have now? It has been working out really well so far *fingers crossed* and I found it through the APA National site. I didn't know a soul out here at the time, and there had to have been well over 200 applicants.


    ...I guess I wrote a really good cover letter!
    Last edited by HomerJ; 09 Jun 2011 at 9:45 AM.
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  11. #36
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    One of my professional goals is to never apply to a job where the joker at the other end is collecting through hundreds of applications like a huge fishing net and applying various bureaucratic mechanisms to sift through them, simply to make his job easier. Every job I've had was through word of mouth, and I see no evidence to believe that trend will change for me.

    FWIW: If you get more than 20 applications for a job, your search isn't focused enough on finding real candidates. Just because you are getting hundreds of applications doesn't mean you have a higher chance of finding that diamond, it just means you have a higher chance of missing the real ones, because the arbitrary, left-brained mechanisms you are using to sort them confound more important traits in character. And on the flip side, if a job-seeker is applying for a job where you expect to be one of one hundred applicants, you're not focusing your search for real employment.
    Every job I've had has also come through word-of-mouth and networking. That being said:

    You can't control how many applications you as a manager receive, no matter how you target announcements. I can tell you that what I've been seeing is people applying for jobs even when they don't meet the minimum qualifications. For example, I had an open position for an experienced code enforcement officer that required intermediate certification and 5+ years of experience. I got 200+ applications, of which about 15 actually met those qualifications. You still have to sift through those--and its not like we want to get that many. People are desperate.

    Entry-level planning jobs get smothered with applicants, especially when you're within 100 miles of three university planning programs and in a very popular region of the country for relocations. TexanOkie is in this situation, as am I.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  12. #37
    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Every job I've had has also come through word-of-mouth and networking. That being said:

    You can't control how many applications you as a manager receive, no matter how you target announcements. I can tell you that what I've been seeing is people applying for jobs even when they don't meet the minimum qualifications. For example, I had an open position for an experienced code enforcement officer that required intermediate certification and 5+ years of experience. I got 200+ applications, of which about 15 actually met those qualifications. You still have to sift through those--and its not like we want to get that many. People are desperate.

    Entry-level planning jobs get smothered with applicants, especially when you're within 100 miles of three university planning programs and in a very popular region of the country for relocations. TexanOkie is in this situation, as am I.
    You can control how many you recieve by posting the announcement only locally, or in a place where you are unlikely to get hundreds of applicants, and/or pulling the announcement when you've recieved a given number of applications. Of course, this wouldn't work with certain public agencies where there are unalterable rules for advertising positions, but most other organizations have the freedom to do this.

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