For first-time job hunters, the art of the resumé can be one of the most challenging to master — but it’s one of the most crucial.

And in a world where electronic communication reigns supreme, there is more to keep in mind when putting together your first contact with a prospective employer.
Long gone are the days of licking a stamp and crossing your fingers.

E-mailing is now, by far, the preferred method of sending in a resumé and cover letter, but there are some common mistakes people make.

Five or six resumés cross Sherry Johnson’s desk in a given day, and 99 per cent are on e-mail. Johnson is the owner of Strictly Staffing and has some tips for online job hunters.

“When that comes through us, that’s your first link with us and it has to be in business format,” she said.

Many job hunters send e-mails from their Blackberry and use shorthand — which isn’t professional, Johnson said.

And make sure your grammar and spelling are perfect, she added.

Besides having a clean resumé and cover letter, Johnson suggests keeping it simple and to the point. If there’s something specific the employer is looking for, make sure it’s at the top of the resumé, she said.

Employers like Johnson prefer e-mail so they can add incoming resumés into a database, plus it’s a test of applicants’ technical savvy.

And even when the posting suggests you can submit the application by fax, mail, or e-mail, Cathy Casey, manager of Job Junction, advises applicants to choose the e-mail option.

“I can tell you right off the bat without hesitation that fax will be at the very bottom of the list because as a job seeker you have no control over the end result.”
Faxes can smear and get mangled, while mail can take a while, and there’s the cost of postage.

But as anyone with a computer knows, e-mails can bounce, and sometimes without the sender even knowing it.

“There’s a couple of ways to be sure it got there: You can ask for a read receipt and you can blind carbon copy yourself so that you’ll get a response back. I often encourage people to do that to ensure it’s getting received on the other end,” Casey said.

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