Jobhunters, here is a tip: It is not a good idea to use an e-mail address such as firstname.lastname@example.org in your resume.
Neither is it the smartest thing to submit a photograph of yourself posed in a cutesy manner, or grabbed off Facebook.
Such advice may sound obvious but human resource consultants say the prevalent use of social media and SMS has led to young people being too casual about their resumes, using inappropriate e-mail addresses, SMS abbreviations and photos better left for personal use.
HR consultants and companies who provide resume writing services here tell LifeStyle they have come across CVs (curriculum vitae) with such mistakes.
The culprits are often applicants in their late teens or early 20s, with little or no experience in job hunting, they say.
They are also likely to be applying for general-skills jobs such as retail or marketing assistants, or front-line jobs in the food and beverage industry.
With most recruiters and employers sizing up a job applicant within the first few minutes of reading their resumes, HR consultants say that being too casual or inappropriate encourages a negative assessment and spells unprofessionalism from the get-go.
'It shows the employer that a jobseeker is not serious about the job and alludes to the candidate's attitude, suggesting that this is how the candidate would approach his or her work as well,' says Mr Joshua Yim, chief executive of HR consultancy the Achieve Group.
Abbreviations such as 'U' instead of you, and 'tks' instead of thanks have sneaked into resumes and cover letters, although it is no wonder why, in a tech- savvy nation where many are glued to their smartphones, e-mailing, tweeting and texting on the go.
'The increasing prevalence of social media and use of informal language in text and instant messages, especially among the younger generation, has likely influenced the style of writing in the resumes of jobseekers today,' says Singapore-based Tim Hird, managing director for HR firm Robert Half International, Asia.
Mr Larry Lim, co-founder and consulting principal of Successful Resumes Singapore, which helps its clients craft professional resumes, says he has seen e-mail addresses such as email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Some, especially the younger ones, think such e-mail addresses are trendy and funny and will help people remember them. But a hiring company will think otherwise,' he says.
Ms Emily Tan, director of Kerry Consulting, an HR firm that specialises in jobs in the finance and banking sector, says about 10 to 15 per cent of job resumes her firm receives do not have an 'appropriate format and photos'. But this group also includes those who have applied for a job that does not suit their experience and skills set.
She says: 'If a candidate wants to include a photo, especially for a position such as a marketing client service role in private banking, it has to be prim and proper, rather than one that you posted on Facebook. We see a lot of that.'
Ms Tan, who notes that her firm has seen more such cases than in the past, says it could be due to the tougher job market, 'so you get a lot of people submitting resumes that are not suited for the role they are applying for', she says.
However, HR consultants add that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting a resume as the style and tone of resume writing also depends on the type of job one is applying for.
For example, employers in industries such as marketing and design may favour creative ways of self-expression in resumes, such as a job applicant who submits his resume in a video format, or chooses a bright coloured font and paper over traditional black text on white paper.
But that said, they say regardless of job or industry, professionalism and mutual respect are essential when candidates approach a potential employer.
Says Robert Half's Mr Hird: 'As much as it can be helpful to differentiate yourself, the key is to always project a polished image of professionalism, be it in your resume or during an actual interview.'
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