So I am ALSO at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash today talking about... among other things... BIRTHDAYS! (also the Summer Solstice and Harry Potter), but HERE, I wanted to share some of my observations from the last few weeks of hiring.
For the record, I think we've found our man... ironically, literally a man... (I say ironically, as men are pretty rare in the position which is functionally a secretary.)
But in screening letters and resumes I noticed a couple things that I thought fit the WRITING thing, too...
A cover letter and a resume... bio... anything that goes the first time you contact someone has to be ABSOLUTELY typo free. No misspellings, no formatting SNAFUs.... Heck, I rejected TWO different letters for misusing WHOM. I don't need to say it HERE, but there are definitely people who missed the WHO is a subject, WHOM is an object part of the lesson.
On that formatting thing, I had a letter that was single spaced for ONE paragraph and double for the rest... (for the record, business letters are single spaced within paragraph and double between)
Now in a resume this CAN be tricky because you aren't quite sure what they want and you definitely need to be inclusive, BUT there are a few tricks. And they apply to the writing contacts as well.
Read what they are LOOKING FOR! Reinforce these points, even if they are already there—especially if they are not absolutely clear. This is especially important if your credentials don't speak for themselves. Mention the keywords in their description. If they say they like edgy, reiterate what is edgy about your work. If they say they like character growth, doesn't hurt to point out the lessons your character learns as part of your hook.
Make it easy to LOOK at. Sounds simple enough, but paragraphs have sort of a sweet length... three to six lines, maybe... more than that and you might lose the point. Less than that, and they might think you are me (I am lousy for short paragraphs)
I had a letter from someone wanting to work for my FIRM. Hello, large academic department of a university. I do NOT represent a firm. It's disrespectful to not edit your standard letter with the tiny details for each and EVERY specific case. This isn't as bad as 'dear agent' but SHEESH... if you are bothering to apply... take the extra time to not get shoved to the 'yeahno' pile right off.
I mean in MY case, I GET 'dear hiring manager' or some such thing, because the specific contact is not available, but for pete's sake, you can mention the DEPARTMENT.
So there you have it... Advice a la Tart.
Keep in mind the lighter hearted blog IS linked above
And just because it was sorta serious, it does NOT mean it is not ALL NAKED, ALL the TIME this week. It's BIRTHDAY WEEK!